I clearly remember when I first learned about Twitter in late 2006, it was twttr at the time. In it's early years, before apps, you could connect it to your cell phone's SMS text to "Tweet" on the go. At the time MySpace was the dominate social website. Facebook was still finding its way - But both of those were only accessible via computer.
At the time, the idea of Twitter fascinated me, but I didn't see exactly how it could be applied to my passion for wildlife. Maybe for networking with like minded animal nerds. But even then, would others use this new way of communicating?
Fast forward to 2009. By then Facebook had a dominate grip on being the number one social media platform. They were one of the first to make a dedicated mobile phone friendly website. This was quickly followed by a Facebook smartphone app, and Twitter was right there with them. By this time in my career I saw so much potential: Mobile education and networking tools all on your phone!
Now jump ahead to today...
I can't get enough of this stuff. Not only can we share information, but high quality photos and videos - Even go LIVE from anywhere you can get a signal! Networking. Education. And conversing with people from all over the world in real-time. Even having direct access to people that otherwise might not be reachable.
Now yes, I know. It also has its ugly side. Rudeness, bullies, fraud, and so on. But that's people being people. And just like social media accelerates our ability to do all the good stuff, it is the same for the not-so good stuff.
Yes, I consider the good and bad of it to be the extension of the human existence and experience. So with that, I feel it places even more need for us to use it for the good stuff.
We should use it for networking so that the next generation of animal care specialists, zoo keepers, animal trainers, conservation and wildlife educators can connect with mentors. So ideas can be built upon and best practices can be shared.
We should use it for educating and inspiring anyone and everyone about the wonders of the natural world. Only a very few get to be in such close proximity to wildlife. And only a very few get to explore the last slivers of this planet that are not fully influenced my humans. The rest of the world needs to see what is left. They need to fall in love with those animals and wild places. Otherwise, how will they know?
Large scale communications like television, radio & print were for the masses to consume, with only a select few deciding what content to broadcast. Now, anyone with a smartphone can create content and broadcast. It's a level of communication that we've never seen before and it is moving quickly.
There's a lot to do and a lot that can be done. And that's why I love social media.
You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn. And yes, I can even be found on Tumblr, too.