I can remember sitting in my best friend’s room when I was 13 she had just made me a Facebook she had already had one for a year then. I remember picking at each photo I had of myself until we decided on the perfect one. For the next hour, we painted our nails as we would refresh the screen to see how many friends added me and how many of those friends liked my profile picture. It was thrilling and terrifying at the same time and that was how I was introduced to the world of social media. I was the last of my friends to get a smart phone I believe this strongly impacted my interaction with social media as well. While most of my peers had the internet at their finger tips by the age of 13 I had a beautiful “dumb” phone until I was 15.
Now as an advertising major I realize how crucial theses first interactions with social media where for me and for many in “generation like”. Getting a smart phone was the equivalent of getting a driver’s licensee in a sense. It is a way to escape your parents hold on your adolescent life. A way to be connected to peers and attain a level of independence. When I received my first smart phone I found that I identified myself heavily through my social media. Pinterest was my first love I created an image of who I thought I was through pieces of others lives displayed on the internet. Thousands of pins covering all of who I thought I was and who I wanted to be. Next came Instagram for weeks I was nervous to make my first post, Instagram was how I would break into my future I thought. I loved how easily a photo was staged and the positive comments and likes I received. In each photo I would display an item or object that represented me as who I wanted to be seen as. It was childish but painted beautifully, my favorite brands my favorite music my decorations in my room. I used the brands hashtags in hopes to gain followers that loved the same things I did. And it worked I caught the eye of Urban outfitters they reposted 3 of my photos over the next few months giving me photo credit and doubling my followers. It was amazing, while I only received thousands of likes my photos on their pages sored to the hundreds of thousands. I was on their website as you went to buy the same record player as I had my photo would be displayed below showing how I contributed to the Urban Outfitters community. I was able to replicate this with other brands such as boxed water and sun bum. I was in love with this momentary recognition. I had the power to identify and embody any brands identity. As my freshman year continued I participated in an advertising research class and discovered the power of an individual that displayed brand loyalty. I further understood that through my social media participation I was talented at recognizing the identity of the brands I loved but not my own identity without them. I believe this is one of the critical and terrifying facts of generation like.