*** Please note the following is the first in a series of weekend opinion pieces ***
After sitting on the couch for an hour two, browsing through the tweets, tech news, and other forms of online media, I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't have pursued another career path into the enticing world of technology. I envision going to work in a polo shirt and faded jeans, getting paid to research and write about the latest gadgets or online digital trends. As I get back to reality, I realize that I don't actually have to go to work for almost a week. And that's just because of scheduling luck.
Fortunately, during these social media adventures, I often come across the same number of nurses continually building their imprint into the "web 2.0 + nurses" universe. Some have mastered the art of Twitter bringing other twitterns (twitter + rns) together in weekly collaboration sessions. Others somehow find the time to make multiple blog posts each and every day. Yet, for an academic like myself, all of these efforts border on a large gray line that stands between academic vs. online opinion.
Academics rely on the "evidence" proving a series of summations by association. Necessity of proving an argument often buries the liberty to write with passion and enthusiasm. On the other hand, bloggers (such as myself) seek a public audience to convey thoughts and opinions on various topics. Seldom do they confine themselves to the rigorous formalities of APA or MLA. In the end, the reader is left to decipher the legality and usefulness of the content.
Social media today continually mends the very fabric of human interaction every day. The growing number of daily users on FaceBook and Twitter has reached pandemic proportions. Marketing departments cater to targeted audiences. Professionals embrace networking possibilities. Managers try to limit workplace infiltration. Psychologists condemn as an addiction. Meanwhile, educators and theorists try to define "it". What is "it" the demands our attention as we rise in the morning, stop at a traffic light, go to the restroom, at the dinner table, while we watch television, at church, in a movie, at work, on a treadmill ... ?
Already, reports indicate that FaceBook might face a similar destiny as MySpace. Twitter stands in line to be the next on top. In just over ten years, social media has built an unshakable foundation within the very core of how future mankind will communicate. The question you must ask yourself now... Are you a broadcaster or consumer?