For as long as I can remember the internet and social media have been a huge part of my life. I may not have always known that it was something I wanted to start a career in, but I slowly developed more and more of an interest in the influence it can have on people as I grew up. Social media and the world of content and SEO are now a passion of mine and I don’t think I go a single day without learning something knew.
From my Business studies classes in school to my organisational development lectures in University, the way I have learnt and picked up everything I know about social media has definitely changed, even today the way I learn is completely different to what I was doing in University only two years ago.
I thought as a way to show how the way I learn has changed dramatically over the last few (okay more than a few but I don’t want to feel old) years, I’d try and share my ‘social media and internet journey’ with you all. The parts I can remember, anyway.
Where it all began…
The first form of social media I ever signed up to was Bebo. Yep, the worst social platform of all time and I used to swear by it. I’d worry every single day if I was going to receive enough ‘luv’ and lived for Valentines Day when I’d be able to receive/give an unlimited amount. I must have got into countless arguments about who my ‘other half’ would be and if you majorly fell out with you bestie of bf you’d remove them just to show them who is boss.
I think around this time I was also making a new Piczo site every. single. day. I had one about my best friends (may or may not have been a list of my girl peeps and guy peeps at the time), one about how much I loved McFly, another about how much I love Green Day and about 1000 with useless facts about me. I actually have to thank Piczo for teaching me very basic HTML and making me want to learn more about websites, I think it’s honestly where it all began.
A lot of the time I had to try and figure out how to do things and teach myself when it came to HTML as I don’t think many of my friends knew what it was. It wasn’t widely taught in school, except maybe the odd lesson on Microsoft Dreamweaver, which I still don’t understand to this day.
The MySpace Era
When Bebo started to phase out everyone moved to MySpace, a place I am sure I have wasted HOURS of my life. It was all about having the best layout (cue more HTML practice) and who was first in your Top 8. I think I mastered the MySpace selfie pretty well – angled from above, full fringe, tonnes of eyeliner and so. much. exposure. I’d share some of the pictures but when I log into my account now THEY’RE ALL GONE.
Looking back at it posting ‘bulletins’ was pretty much a form of blogging, although all I used it for was to rant, hint at my crush that I liked them or to fill out stupid about me questionnaires. Not quite the same as my blog today..
I point blank refused to move to Facebook, but when everyone else did I followed.
I remember having Facebook when I was in my last year of school but judging from my Timehop I didn’t really use it properly – although back then there wasn’t really much to it in comparison to today.
Then, I started college. I was really interested in the world of print media and wanted to be a journalist or write for a magazine, so I took Photography, English Language, English Literature and Philosophy and Ethics for my A Levels.
It didn’t take me long to realise I was making a huge mistake as I missed the IT aspect of everything and I thought that print media was slowly going to die out with the rise of technology. So, a couple of months into my first year of college I swapped both of my English electives for ICT and Business Studies. Probably one of the best decisions ever.
It was here that I really started to realise what it was I did and didn’t like about business and technology. I found out I hated anything to do with finance and that I loved the marketing aspect of things, especially anything that involved being able to be creative. Most of my learning was done through taught classes and homework, but when I found something interesting I would make the effort to learn as much as I could.
During this time I used Facebook as a place to post my photography from college, somewhere to talk about what I’d learnt and often ask for help from others (mid panic the night before an essay was due, of course). I wasn’t huge on social media, but I was starting to develop a love for marketing, which helped me decide on the course I wanted to take at University: Business Management and Marketing.
Three Years of University
I’m going to have to keep this section short as my time at University is a whole other story…
My first year was more about finding my feet, so my modules were not really targeted towards anything specific and more about management and personal development as a whole. It was a chance for us to decide if we’d picked the right course, with a chance to pick one elective for our second semester. I picked Consumer Behavior which was really interesting. I loved learning through lectures and seminars and even took it upon myself to buy some of the extra recommended reading, such as Buyology (something I’d definitely recommend).
By the end of my second year of University I had started to get more of an idea of what I wanted to do, something in Social Media Marketing. I was fascinated in how fast social platforms were changing and how brands were using this to reach out to new people in fun and creative ways. It really interested me and I knew I wanted to learn more.
So, in my third year I decided I would get myself some first hand experience and I started my own blog: A Marketing Student. I wrote about social media campaigns I enjoyed, things I’d liked to see and pretty much shared my love for marketing with anyone who wanted to read. It was great, and I wish I had kept it going. I joined the marketing society and became their Social Media Specialist (of course I came up with that name ;)) and even started a blog for the society. I really wanted to get as much as I could out of my final year.
My dissertation was ‘The Effects of Social Media in Marketing’ and it was so much fun to write. I think I am one of the only people who still to this day can say I LOVED writing it and I’d do it all over again if I could. My opinions have actually changed since writing it, so I’d love to go back and rewrite it just for the hell of it. I think by the time my third year came around I was no longer learning through being taught, but instead through all of my own research and my enjoyment for the course.
Finally, when I finished University I started looking for a junior social media position in London. I had a couple of ‘work experience’ type positions that lasted a couple of months but in the end I ended up moving back to my home town as the competition was too fierce.
Starting my Second Blog
I’ve told the story of why I started my second blog before – I had just left a terrible job in a local restaurant and I was having trouble finding a marketing position that was entry level, so I decided to start a blog to help pass the time. I’d been a Twitter user before but it didn’t take me long to realise that tweeting was going to be one of the best ways to get my blog posts out there, so I started following every single blogger I could find and interacting with as much as I could.
I tried to put into practice what I had learnt at University and use it promote me and my blog, which I guess worked as I am still going! Through writing my blog I learnt so much more than I could have ever imagined, and over the next year or so I learnt more blogging than I did in my first marketing job.
My first Marketing Job
My first marketing position was as a Marketing Assistant for a supplier to the events industry. My main role was to update the company website, schedule social media and write content for case studies and blogs. It was pretty interesting, however I didn’t really get to experiment in anyway. Like I said before, I think I learnt more about social media and the online world from having my own blog.
Earlier this year I started my new role as Marketing Executive for a local manufacturer. Since starting this job I have learnt so much more about digital marketing and I love it, it makes me want to go home and read more, doing as much research as I can so that I know I am doing the best job that I can. I love how everything I do learn through self-teaching can also be applied to me and my blog, and I’ve already seen the benefits from it in that sense.
Looking back at the difference between the way I learn now and the way I used to learn it’s incredib? ly different with the growing use of technology. I mean, I doubt 15-year-old me would have thought to just Google how to do something, let alone know how to find YouTube tutorials online.
One major difference between now and being in school is that I pretty much self-teach myself everything, whether it’s through an e-course or by watching tutorials, I find it much easier to go at my own pace. Failing that, I can always ask Twitter or Facebook for help 😉
How do you think the way we have learnt has changed with technology?