A Paper Girl in a Digital World
As the youngest daughter in a family of Polish immigrants, I quickly became the most technologically literate person in my family. I was four years old when we immigrated to Winnipeg, but my first memory of an interaction with a technological device was in Poland. I remember watching Sesame Street in the mornings with my older sister.
My father had been living in Canada since 1988, and my mother, sister, and I finally joined him in 1991. When we first arrived, I remember seeing the tiny apartment that we would be living in, and thinking it was a mansion compared to our residence in Poland.
After moving to Winnipeg, I remember my parents struggling to learn English. One day my father brought home a Polish/English electronic translation device. It looked like a little computer that had a black and white keyboard and a screen. We still have this device and it reminds me of my childhood every time I see it. My family also used the television as a way to learn English. We would watch Wheel of Fortune, America’s Funniest Home Videos, and the news to pick up new words that we could type into our handy translating machine.
Right before I started high school, my family moved to a bigger and newer home. With this change, we also purchased a new computer and my sister and I received pagers from our parents. Pagers had just become popular and my sister and I were one of the only teenagers to have them. I recall the rush of excitement I felt when I received the pager back then, and imagine that this is how a child must feel now when they receive their very first smartphone. Eventually, our pagers were replaced with cellular flip phones.
When I was in university, my father bought me my first Mac laptop, and I immediately fell in love with all things Apple. I use Apple devices and computers at work and at home, and have a hard time using a Microsoft computer when I have to. Since I received my first Mac laptop, I became the Apple guru for most of my family and friends. My father especially relies on me to teach him everything about computers, Apps, smartphones, Netflix, YouTube, and his favourite, Facebook.
It was in university that I had my first interaction with social networking. I joined Facebook, Twitter, and started a Blog as a requirement for a communications course I was taking at Red River College. As part of the class, I had to post a set number of items on each site and this really forced me to start engaging in the world of social media. As a somewhat private person, I found this course to be quite intimidating and arduous.
As a public and media relations professional, I spend most of my day reading and writing online content on behalf of my company. I scroll hundreds of newsfeeds and social media sites a day to keep track of what is being said about the industry and the company. I text, post news, tweet, upload photos, and respond to inquiries on various social media sites and websites as part of my job. Therefore, my personal social networking typically takes a back seat to my work. By the time I get home, I long to put away the technology and engage in conversations with friends and family, or read an actual book with pages that I can feel, smell, and turn.
Throughout my life, technology has played an important role in how I define and express myself. As an early adopter of new technology, I enjoy purchasing the newest devices and learning how to use the plethora of emerging social media websites and apps. I see technology as a part of my life, as something that advances over time and in doing so, pushes me to learn and progress as a person. In the future, I aspire to continue to cultivate and shape my online voice and persona, representing who I am and who I strive to be.