Social media. It can be a blessing and a curse. What did we do before it appeared? We LIVED! Now, before I go any further I love seeing how my friends and family’s lives are doing. I find out about so many cool opportunities through media and have actually met some really cool friends through it as well. Please know as you read this post, I am focusing on my own behaviors and thoughts in regards to social media as I see it.
I did not have a cell phone until around my senior year of college in 2004. I had to remind myself to take it with me places in case of emergency. Now, if I forget my phone at home, it IS an emergency. Besides the obvious safety a phone nearby can bring, I wonder why I have to have such immediate access to all of these venues of communication at one time? Do I really have to be so available all of the time? Do you?
I recently met up with some old friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in around 12 years. We had a blast seeing each other and I was so excited to “catch up!” Well, after about 20 minutes, we were caught up. Why didn’t it take longer? Cause we both knew exactly what had been going on in each other’s lives from FB so, when we actually got together in person, we only had to add the details. We all had a good chuckle about it but deep down I felt somewhat sad and, quite frankly, a little bit like a stalker…haha.
I was mad once I figured out what was bothering me so much about all social media. It drew me in like a moth to a flame but once I got too close, I got burnt. Burnt by comparison, burnt by the vast amounts of wasted time, and burnt by this exhaustingly weird sensation that I must dictate my life. I started thinking about information sharing, from a single woman’s perspective. Am I sharing too much with the outside world? Am I tossing out the “mystery” information that many men learn about a woman while on a date for just anyone to read at any time? Maybe I am too accessible that someone doesn’t have to actually seek me out (ie: call or meet up in person) to know me? Can people just skim my wall and check-in on me anonymously? I know I’ve “checked-in” on people. Ut oh…
I admit that I love to share my life with others. I love writing (ie: this blog) and I feel like it is a gift that God wants me to keep pursuing. I know that is how God has wired me. When it gets down to it, I want to be validated too. I want to feel like someone hears me, even if it’s just through a “like.” That isn’t necessarily bad but am I forgetting that God validates me already? He hears me and knows my heart and loves me more than any person ever could. It’s also super important to keep up with loved ones and friends as much as you can intentionally. There is only so much you can glean from picture updates and 140 characters or less. You may not be a big “telephone -talking” person as I am not really either. I know it can be hard to find time but intentional communication with those we love is so important! Figuring out how to best communicate with someone on their level and being interested in their lives! Maybe it is an email in between your day’s activities or meeting with them in person as much as you can. I just have to remember not to let my fingers replace my mouth too much…and this is coming from a Speech Pathologist people.
I took a FB hiatus for 10 days (BIG WHOOP, right?). Eventually, I really liked having things happen and me not sharing it because I got to actually experience life without the extra job of giving a play-by-play! I was really convicted to check my motives too. Did I want to share something in order to appear ___? If I did something for someone and didn’t document it somewhere, did it still happen? The answer is YES! And it might even be the best way to go about it sometimes, lest I am tempted to boast (Matthew 6).
I am still on FB and Twitter and I love to see the updates of friends and family. I will still write posts, update pics of exciting things, and share my faith. Actually, sharing my faith might be the very best part of social media and a call to make even more sure that my life and actions parallel the words that I type on the screen. I have, however, become more cognizant of social media’s rightful place. I also noticed a new little feature I have begun to use. It’s called “logout” and it just might be the best way to let a new hobby, experience, or someone else… in.