I started American Shelf Life last summer in order to create a platform to discuss and digest a huge change I saw happening in my work and personal life. Suddenly, social networking became central to my studies and work in communications; my digital hangouts I enjoyed with friends became big business. I joined Facebook to stay connected with friends as we moved from dorm to dorm, home for winter break or prepared for older friends to graduate from school. Now, Facebook is fodder for boardroom strategy meetings. I was sitting in one of those meetings last week. Colleagues were very seriously discussing the ROI of a Facebook app.
I got back from my meeting and one of my fellow interns was joking about how in high school she once found out that her boyfriend had broken up with her because he changed his relationship status on Facebook. Not funny at the time, but it made me think about the original “ROI” of Facebook and other online hangouts.
We grew up on these sites, far before they became the trendy places to “reach your target consumer.” They were the settings of some of our most meaningful experiences. AIM gave us the courage to talk to our middle school crush, Ask Jeeves helped us with our homework (he did the best he could), Facebook helped break the ice at freshman orientation and Craigslist helped us find our first apartment (and its cockroaches). Now when we’re too busy to have an AIM chat and certainly too busy to email, Twitter keeps us connected in 140 characters or less.
In the process of writing this blog, I’ve been trying to figure out what voice and value I can offer. I’m not an industry veteran, I’m not a seasoned analyst and I’m not always the first to know when a new network launches. But I’ve realized, what I can offer are these little anecdotes and my simple point of view on new technology that keeps this whole “digital revolution” in perspective. I’ve invited a group of my friends to join me in sharing our stories and thoughts as “digital natives” suddenly growing up and being asked by our employers, colleagues and parents to help them “go Web 2.0.”
I, along with Amy Yen, Maria Garcia, Melissa Eddy, Will Wheeler, Sarah Hutton, Pamela Seiple and John, our group’s youngest contributor, will keep you posted on our thoughts, stories and digital lives (as time and homework allows).
Photo via here.