Saturday, December 17, 2011

Social Media Ponderings

I've been thinking a lot about social media lately.  I've been thinking about how it both adds to and detracts from my quality of life.  I'm writing this post, in short, to see what others think about these issues.

I am not a big social media user.  I have a twitter account which I mostly use to keep up with a few friends.  My few twitter broadcasts tend to be announcements of my postings of my three blogs.  I don't have web service on my phone, so Twitter is not really useful to me.  I originally subscribed to Facebook for work purposes;  I wanted to make it as easy as possible for WOW prospects and participants to get in touch with me.  When I stopped coordinating WOW, I did not take the time to reflect on whether or not to close the account; I just left it open by default.

On the plus side, I can say that Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with old school mates and even cousins I don't often see.  Likewise, it allows me a glimpse into the lives of many friends oversees and even in my hometown that I would otherwise have likely lost touch with.

The flipside is that I do need to pause and ask myself this, "How important are these relationships, really?  If they were truly important, mighten there be a better way to maintain them?" 

It's food for thought.  Is the time spent on social media truly improving my quality of life?  In some venues, I can say yes, definitely.  For example, many years ago I (somewhat stupidly) moved 2500 miles away from my family.  Facebook allows me to keep in touch particularly with my nieces and nephews -- and their kids -- and promotes a sense of closeness so that when we do meet, we're more familiar.  I love that.

On the downside, I think Facebook and Twitter promote a false -- and weird -- sort of grandiosity or fake fame.  Most people have that secret desire to be famous.  We all want to matter in some way, right?  And let's be honest, how many of us show our true selves on Facebook?  Don't we all show our best side?  How many people do you know in flesh and blood whose profile pic looks nothing like them?  I've noticed how often people compliment me on my parenting.  I'm no saint!  I just look like it on Facebook. I have a messy house, I yell way more than I "should' or really want to, I'm frequently frazzled and let's face it -- I'm a little lazy!  But that does not show up on Facebook because I'm so darn proud of my Fab Five, that tends to be what I talk about. 

Let's talk about blogs now.  My first blog was my weight loss blog.  I started it for a simple reason; I was going to keep a "word" journal of my weight loss learnings and then thought, "hey, I might as well do it as a blog."  It was that simple.  This blog was meant for my coaching clients -- a sort of gimme.  And my "Bright Love" blog was started because with 5 kids, keeping our large extended family abreast of the news was a logistical nightmare.  The blog simplified all that.

But then I started feeding the blogs to Facebook, mostly because someone couldn't figure out how to subscribe.  Then I started getting a lot of readers from Facebook.  Then my ego swelled and now here we are.  In November, Facebook threatened to stop all blog feeds, but didn't.  But the threat got my wheels turning.  Do I really "need" people to read my blogs.  No, of course not.  I'm writing them for me; I don't need people to read them.  So why am I still feeding them?

So I'm stopping the Bright Weight Loss and Bright Love feeds in January.  Not now because I'm too lazy to figure out how to stop the feeds when I'm so busy making a beautiful advent happen.  But if you are still reading at this point, and want to continue, you can "follow" or subscribe;  both links are at right on each blog.  Unless you can give me some good reason to continue, of course! 

I am going to spend more time next year taking real time for my most loved friends and family.  I will still keep my Facebook feed but I will use the tools  to "sift to the top" my nearest and dearest;  just seeking authenticity here.

What do you think about these ponderings?  Am I just taking myself to seriously?  Or do you see problems with yourself and this way of relating?  (We'll see if anyone actually reads this stuff!)

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