Friday, April 11

Journal Day #7 - On Social Media

Do you use social media in your daily life? Do you think it adds to your relationships with others, or takes away from them? And furthermore, do you think social media adds more positive or negative to your life? Write about your relationship with social media, and talk a bit about how you got started, and what role it plays in your world. From Sometimes Sweet


It all started in the days when MSN was "the" place to communicate with others. I was in Junior High when I was introduced to all the wonders of MSN Messenger, and soon it became the way to talk to my friends. I even had a few "pen pals" from my homeschooling program that I was able to keep in contact with way easier than actually writing a letter. At that age, it was the only source of social media that was known to me, but it was enough. I love communicating over the internet. So much better than using a telephone. It was easy. I could take the time to put down in words exactly what was on my mind instead of rambling in real life. I found that those who I chatted with became alive over instant messaging. I knew a couple of really shy, socially awkward (hey, I was one of them) people, and a soon as we had this computer to hide behind, but the opportunity to say something in a safe place, we became alive. Able to share our passions, thoughts & our hearts in words that we only dreamed to speak. I may sound silly, but as a major introvert, MSN was a blessing to me.

Fast forward a few years and MSN Messenger was the way that I kept in contact with my sweetheart, now husband. Sure, we did have a few phone dates, but at the time I did not have a cellphone, so other than MSN there was no instant way to communicate with me. There was a time in our relationship when I couldn't get a hold of him or see him whenever I wanted to, MSN was there ... even at one in the morning. (sorry mom, but its true, I was a sneaky kid.) I don't want to go all cheesy and say that it helped me to open up with my Husband and let him know the real me, and without it I wouldn't have been able to get out the real me, but ... its kind of true. My husband is a very social person and I know eventually he would have come to know the real me, but MSN helped me to let him know the crazy a lot faster. ;)

Then Facebook found its way into my world. I left the MSN world behind and became engulfed in this new social media form that allowed for so much more. I had over 300 friends and had instant access to all of their pictures, thoughts, likes etc. An Introvert Heaven. Blogging, Instagram and Twitter would all follow. Able to connect to anyone I wanted, even movie stars, just at my finger tips. Suddenly the world was not as large as I thought it was.

Of course, with all this instant access to EVERYBODY the thought of everybody having instant access to ME terrified me. It even creeped me out when a Facebook friend would talk to me in person about whatever it was that I had posted as a status update. I know I put it on there and obviously they would know that I did or where I went, but it still freaked me out. Blogs deleted. Facebook deleted. I vowed I would never become a part of something that makes it so easy to get to 'know' somebody. I heard way to many horror stories of how people used that kind of information to harm & I did not want to be the next victim. (ahem cough couch wild imagination) My panic attack would only last the day and by morning I would have a new blog, a new Facebook page, a new _____ (insert here) and I would rejoin the world of social media.

I fought with my feelings on social media until my husband and I sat down and actually talked about it. Realizing that I didn't have to put down my location, my every thought, my face on every single network (what?) was such a relief. I thought that was the point to it. Be specific, everybody wants to know everything about you. Suddenly social networking became a different story to me. No longer was I reporting that I had a hamburger for supper (yes, I was one of those) & putting a million photographs of me for the entire world to see. I cleaned up my pictures albums and I started to post, write & upload things that I actually cared to report about and that I would love others to see. My blog became more about my words and thoughts when I decided to not post pictures of my face. People may be irritated as to why I don't have pictures of my face up, but it was honestly the best step I ever took. I stopped doing what everybody wanted me to do and I changed the rules to fit my lifestyle. I was able to breathe and just be me. Use my words to relate what I thought, to capture my stories and my heart. To have some mystery and, well, privacy. Even now that my daughter is born, not having any pictures of her on any network has been hard, yet freeing. I still have people ask me why I don't just post her picture, and I will tell them the reasons why, I don't mind. It is kind of odd at this day and age to have a family who does not sort their kids photographs in albums of age. What can I say, we are old fashion. Meet us in person and I am sure we will show you the hundreds we have taken of her already.

Social media and technology are huge now in the world. It is impossible to have a day without some form of technology that continually keeps us connected with others. I love it for that. I love being able to send my mother a text or two a day, I love being able to meet new people over the internet, over blogs and I love being able to add little snippets of my every day life on Instagram. I love it. I also found a love for YouTube. I definitely cannot go a day without checking my phone for updates on Facebook, Instagram, and Bloglovin. However, since I know how hard it is to go a day without, its the reason why I don't love social media. I hate how we have all become so addicted to our computers and cellphones. We are teaching our society to become less social. Funny how something that started to help us connect with others is actually the downfall of our connection to others. I have definitely gotten lazy with communication.

Balance. I know its all about balance. I know that maybe supper should be had without everyone on their cellphones and I know that I will not die if I don't check my phone every ten minutes to see what has changed. I know that it takes a way from the present moment of life, especially when hanging out with my husband. So often we would be caught with both of our faces glued to the little screens of our phones. I know that its wonderful to get a hold of so & so and planning an event is so easy with a network like Facebook. That instant connection to everyone is wonderful. Where is the balancing line with technology? When is it okay to use it and when does it become such a problem? There are (I am sure) a thousand pros & cons on this topic and the point of this journal entry is not to convince or argue any of them. All I know is that when it comes to social media, I personally, am for and against, I love & hate, its helps me connect with everyone and lose in touch with everyone, I am addicted and yet I want to throw away every piece of technology I own. I know its about balance and every day I am learning more about what balance means, especially know that I am a new mother.

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