Renewed Appreciation for Social Media

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Last Friday night, after wrapping up the day and making sure my newsletter hit your inboxes, I decided to take a bit of my own advice and initiated a 24 hour digital detox. In fact, I had just posted last week about feeling social media burnout and overwhelm, so a digital detox was in order.

When I reconnected my digital devices Saturday evening, my text messages, news feeds and voicemails were full of comments like, “UCSB tragedy.” I am a proud UC Santa Barbara alumna, a very proud Gaucho. I was horrified by what happened on our campus and in the UCSB community. Isla Vista is as much a part of campus as the UCen (University Center).

Even after learning that something awful had happened in Isla Vista, I didn’t turn on the news, I went through Facebook, looking up the profiles of my friends who work on campus. I learned facts and details about what was happening from insiders, and made sure the people I cared about were OK. My feelings of panic were quickly calmed, as I could easily gather information from my friends on Facebook and Twitter. It reminded me so much of the 2011 Tsunami in Japan where my friends posting on Facebook provided much-needed information as to what was really happening on the ground and that my friends were all OK. (I lived in Japan 2002-2007.)

As my feelings of shock became deep, deep sorrow and sadness for the students who were killed and injured, and for the story of how the events unfolded, I became very grateful for our ability to connect and communicate via social media. In fact, the world responded with powerful messages because of what happened in Isla Vista.

This week’s video message expresses my gratitude for social media and digital communication tools, for the opportunity to connect with anyone in the world, and for having a means to know that the people I care about are going to be all right.

UCSB Gauchos are a strong breed of people. We are UCSB, we are #GauchoStrong. And partially because we have social channels to connect through, discuss, grieve, talk, support and love, we will get through this. Go Gauchos!