I remember the moment I first joined social media. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook back in 2004 to make new friends. It was limited to Harvard students only and you needed a school email to sign up. Then it expanded to other schools.
The University of Toronto, where I was enrolled at the time, was an early entrant. I was in a dorm room with a classmate of mine – a girl – and she showed me this Facebook thing I’d never heard of before. It looked kind of silly and she only had 10 friends. She told me to join right then and there and I didn’t really want to but when you’re in a dorm room alone with a girl and she tells you to do something you do it.
Fifteen years later, I’m still on the damn thing. I hardly check it and I don’t really understand how it works anymore. But I just can’t say goodbye.
For the first few months after enrolling, I didn’t use Facebook at all. Then more people joined and it soon became the place to receive invitations to house parties. That’s when the activity really increased. You could see who was invited to the party, who was going and who was a maybe.
Every guy around my age knows that magic moment when a girl you’d been talking to earlier in the night later says to you “Find me on Facebook” as she passes you on her way out the door. And the great part about it is you could and you did. No number exchange required.
Back then, social media was pure fun. It was social. It started to grow and so did our uses for it.
People in the arts scene promoted their plays and gigs and fundraisers. We all came out. It brought people together.
For a brief period of time I was a club night promoter – 80s music theme nights, of course – and we packed a few places in Kensington Market and the Annex. The best of times. It was all through Facebook and word of mouth.
Then Facebook changed in ways we weren’t all crazy about. The rules opened up and our parents’ generation joined and all of a sudden it was like someone had burst in on our party. We all thought they’d ruined it by doing non-ironic old people things like reconnecting with friends and posting pictures of their kids. The ironic part being that those are the things my age group uses it for now.
It also no longer felt like a cozy little corner. Facebook became global – a giant public space where there was no privacy. I was tagged in a couple of pictures that, to make a long story short, were not flattering. That was when I began to ghost away from it all and realized earlier than some others that social media could be a force for bad as much as for good.
Speaking of bad: Enter Twitter. My timeline tells me I joined in 2010. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade. Ten years of people hurling single-sentence mean-spirited abuse at each other. Why do we subject ourselves to it?
To be fair, there are those rare moments when we all pause to watch a cute animal video or a beautiful clip of a child with a disability triumphing against the odds. Those are the exceptions though, glimpses through frosted glass of the social media world humans could have had but apparently don’t deserve due to some flaw in our nature.
The 2000s were the decade we first experimented with social media. Looking back now, it all seems very quaint. A sort of “before the fall” era.
Then the 2010s came along and that was the decade that saw social media devolve into social mania. Online mobs gang up to get public figures and even regular people shamed and fired for their imperfect remarks. Terrorists and extremists easily connect with thousands of willing recruits.
That Zuckerberg guy who just wanted friends? He’s now a billionaire behind a big tech behemoth that governments try and fail to contain. That girl who signed me up? I couldn’t find her just now when I searched her out. Maybe she unfriended me. I hope she’s doing well.
Social media could get even crazier in the next decade. Or perhaps we’ll all give our heads a shake and rein it in.
The first column I wrote in 2019 was about putting down the devices and taking a break from the online world. I’d spent a couple of weeks in rural Ontario without high speed internet. It was days offline and I was happy and content.
I received the most earnest and heartfelt reader emails from that column that I’ve ever had in my career. Turns out I wasn’t the only one who felt something wasn’t quite right about the way we live now.
While writing this it dawned on me that I don’t think I went to a single 80s party night throughout all of the 2010s. Some cruel punishment. If you hear of one coming up, please flip me the link.
Social Media Buzz: Tributes for RBG; WeChat Users Plan Backups – BNN
(Bloomberg) — What’s buzzing on social media today:
Tributes flooded in on social media after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the 87-year-old Supreme Court justice and liberal icon, on Friday. President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday morning that Republicans must nominate new justice “without delay.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s name is also trending on Twitter, after he said he would schedule a vote to confirm Trump’s nominee to succeed Ginsburg.
On Chinese social media platform WeChat, users in the U.S. rushed to post alternative contact information to avoid losing touch with family members and friends. The U.S. is set to curb its services on Sunday. Popular backup apps include Telegram, Line, and QQ. WeChat parent Tencent’s office collaboration app, recently rebranded as WeCom and not expected to fall under the scope of a ban, also gained traction.
Southern California was struck by a magnitude 4.5 earthquake late Friday night. Officials warned residents to be prepared for possible aftershocks, AP reported. Tropical Storm Beta will drench Texas, Louisiana with heavy rains.
Former McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Easterbrook, ousted in November over a sexual relationship with an underling, said he shouldn’t have to return his severance.
iPhone users are showcasing their redesigned home screens on social media, under the recently released iOS 14 upgrade.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: CN Police officers available for media interviews during Rail Safety Week – GlobeNewswire
MONTREAL, Sept. 19, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CN (TSX: CNR) (NYSE: CNI) is offering members of the media the opportunity to talk with uniformed police officers during Rail Safety Week, from September 21-27, about the importance of rail safety at crossings and the dangers of trespassing.
Members of the CN Police Service will be available for media interviews throughout the week. Providing that social distancing be respected or in a virtual manner, we invite media outlets to contact CN to arrange onsite, in studio or on air interviews. The CN media relations team is also happy to offer visual elements for on camera interviews.
CN will mark Rail Safety Week with a public awareness campaign aimed at reducing the number of collisions and trespassing-related accidents. Throughout the week, CN Police will conduct safety initiatives at commuter stations and railway crossings reminding commuters and motorists about the importance of safety at crossings and the deadly risks of trespassing on railway tracks and property.
Public Affairs and Media Relations
Kelowna wood-burning artist utilizes social media during pandemic – iNFOnews
Using the power of social media, a Kelowna-based artist is keeping busy during the pandemic.
Samm Moore specializes in wood burning, using her toolkit to etch designs of B.C. wildlife and landscapes into the Douglas fir, pine and other varieties of wood. She even has her designs on skis and skateboard decks.
At first, Moore said COVID-19 threw her “for a loop,” as she planned on selling wares at spring markets which were cancelled. But with Etsy, an online seller platform, she’s able to ship her creations across the globe.
“It’s such a cool way to connect everyone. If I was selling wood burnings in the Kelowna area then I probably wouldn’t make enough money,” she said.
It’s a requirement nowadays for artists to use social media, she said, as galleries can be expensive for artists and challenging to get into. She’s reliant on online platforms for a majority of her orders, which have returned to normal, Moore said.
“Most of my orders come from social media, Facebook, Instagram and Etsy and from my website so I find the more active I am on social media, the more orders I get,” Moore said.
Over the years, she started with only one or two orders a month, but that’s snowballed and she’s been able to fulfil her dream working as a full-time artist, although balancing wood burning with social media and the business aspect of being her own boss is a lot of work, she said.
“On the days I’m not feeling too productive I could wood burn for hours. I think of it like a meditation, I zone out and it’s really calming,” Moore said.
She discovered wood burning while attending Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Moore borrowed a friend’s wood-burning tool for the project that was meant for artists to experiment with different formats they haven’t used before, and she fell in love with it.
“I remember instantly being like ‘This is awesome. This is so fun’ I loved working with the wood and the smell… I really enjoyed it,” she said.
As a child, growing up in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, she found her love of drawing by copying Calvin and Hobbes books. Prior to wood burning, she was accustomed to sketching.
Many of her drawings are inspired by living near the ocean and mountains of B.C. and she’s lived in various locations around the province. It reminds her of home, she said.
“I’d love to do a wood burning of (Okanagan Lake,)” she said.
Moore said her busiest time is Christmas, which she’s looking forward to and she’s preparing to have items for those last-minute buyers.
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