Social Media Chicken – That’s me!

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July 18, 2013 by updatedhomemaker

OK, I admit it.  I’m not a big fan of social media.  I didn’t grow up with it like today’s generation.  In all reality, I wonder who in the world is interested in what I’m doing all the time?  Do I really need to report to all my friends where I am and who I’m with?

I joined Facebook a year ago in order to get a Pinterest account.  I’m more in tune with getting online to trade ideas.  The minute I joined Facebook, I learned who I knew that was on there all the time.  Those people pounced on me to be friends.   I didn’t seek out too many friends except for old friends that were a long distance from me or I really did consider real lifelong friends.  I just thought neighborhood friends should actually talk to one another due to their proximity to each other.

Through the past year I discovered a few things.

First, I don’t have as many friends as I thought.  I found out about all the activities that my “friends” were taking part in although I didn’t receive an invitation.  Part of that may have been my willingness to overlook the powerful position that social media was playing in people’s lives.  I missed the window and when I was out of social media, I was out of convenience for contact, and I was out of mind.  I am currently trying to correct that by reaching out to others and being more active with social media.  My opportunity with some has likely passed as their cliques have been formed.  However, it can be an opportunity to forge new friendships too.

Second, people use Facebook to fulfill different priorities (deficiencies) in their lives.  There are all sorts of Facebook personalities.  There is the child brag book.  There is the look at where I am and/or who I am with.  There is the political inundater.  There is the foodie.  There is the observer. There are many more.

I’ve spent the past year playing the part of the observer.  With the beginning of my writing and blogging aspirations, I have found the need to try to build a platform.  To build a platform, social media can play a large part.  So I have ventured into social media – Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  I have reached out to many more people and invited them to be friends.  I am trying to take an active role and “like” more things.

I have learned that even though I have “friends”, that does NOT mean we have friendship.  Those that mistake social media “friends” for friendship are leading a lonely life.  Most people only put positive things out there on social media.  Real life happens through our challenges.  If we don’t share our challenges with others then we aren’t really living.  I’m not saying that we need to post our challenges out there.  I’m saying that having a private portion of our lives that we share with real in the flesh people is more important than our social media image.  If it is not, then it is time to reevaluate life.

As I give up the social media chicken squawking inside me, I am trying to find my personal posting strategy.  There are a few things I have found that I want to avoid.

I don’t feel that it is my right to post identifying pictures and personal information about my children.  We warn our children not to post too much personal information about themselves online, but parents are doing it all the time.  I just need to look up a parent account and I can know all about their child’s sports, activities and academics.  Even more scary is that I can learn their NAME, AGE, BIRTHDAY, SCHOOL, and APPEARANCE along with the names of their relatives.  Can’t parents take the time to explore more secure options to share precious information about their child? With Smartphones in so many hands, once the secure option is set up, it still can be convenient to share with the appropriate and narrow amount of people that should have access to your child.  I’ll take the security of my family over the need for someone to “like” my child.

I also find many people are posting WHILE they are on vacation.  I get to see many of these postings because one of my “friends” will “like” one of their friend’s vacation postings. This person is not my friend, but since it was my friend that “liked” it, I get to see it too.  The vacation post makes its rounds from there.  Wouldn’t this be useful information to someone who would like to get into your home?

Some people join Facebook and use it as a basis for their conversations.  This all but amounts to gossip.  Their sentences usually start with, “Did you see what (insert name here) posted on Facebook?”  I’ve never been one to enjoy taking part in gossip for gossip’s sake.  If there is something major going on in someone’s life where my knowing would be helpful to that person, then please let me know. Otherwise, I don’t need to talk about what someone was wearing, where they were on a specific date, or what their kid did.  I would already know if I were friends with them on Facebook.  If I’m not friends with them, then it is none of my business.

Finally, only once have I encountered this as most of my “friends” are adults, but I did get one “like” passed on to me that was cyberbulling.  When I read it and saw how many people were “liking” a picture of an older unstylish man at the gym working out, I was disgusted.  The picture was from a local gym that I myself (and most of the “liking” individuals) go to.  I knew the man.  He’s there trying to be healthy and some gym member thought it worth her time to snap a picture, and post it to make fun of him.  That is the thing though. She wasn’t just making fun of him, she was PUBLICLY making fun of him.  There is a big difference between mentioning to one person “oh, did you see so and so and what he was wearing today?” and publicly making fun of someone on social media.  As a former high school teacher, I can only imagine what teenagers are being put through.  It must be like high school on steroids.

So please, think before you post.

Coming up, tomorrow based upon these thoughts…

My Personal Social Media Manifesto.

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