Good Monday all!
How many of you found yourselves passing time on Facebook or Twitter this week?
For those around my age group, I’m sure you expended uncountable hours on these social media sites. For those included in the generation before us, probably not quite as much but perhaps enough time in attempt to keep up with the younger generations.
Think about your time on these and other social media sites. How do you use them? And why? What do you share and why do you share it? Is it productive use or has it become just another way to waste idle time?
About a month ago, I stared at my Facebook page and asked myself these questions. In looking at my friends’ profiles as well as my own, I came to a conclusive question: What is the point in my use of Facebook?
Shall I throw out some realities of social media?
The younger generation seems to have turned sites like Facebook into a popularity contest. Instead of connecting with people, it becomes all about the numbers: How many friends do I have? How many likes did my last post get? How many pages do I like? How many pictures am I tagged in. Then, we stalk our friends to see what they are doing, who they are friends with, how many likes their posts get, which pages they like, and how many pictures they are tagged in.
We use it to share our triumphs, secretly hoping for a lot of “likes.” We use it to vent and complain when life doesn’t go our way, secretly crying for help for our friends to comment or message us. It’s become something of a diary but instead of keeping it under lock and key, we long for people to read it.
Of course not everyone uses social media this way. Rather, some use it quite sparingly if at all.
However, after scrolling through an endless news feed for ten or fifteen minutes, I went to my profile to analyze myself. Truth be told, I had fallen into this mundane use of Facebook and told myself, “This has got to stop.” So, I wrote a post signing off of Facebook for the time being and have vowed to not sign back on until I have a productive use for it.
The fact about social media, however, is it has become one of the top medias to which people look for news and information. Instead of subscribing to magazines, reading the daily paper, or watching the local news channel, people simply click “like” or “follow” in order to keep up with the most recent news. We are able to follow famous athletes and actors and musicians, politicians and authors and news anchors. It’s the first place we look for information and a good place to connect with others we wouldn’t otherwise be connected with.
Because of the friends and followers I have through Facebook and Twitter, I have WordPress post an update every Monday to both sites to get my word out.
In the last month, I have felt much better not spending countless hours scrolling through news feeds and reading about my “friends'” lives. I realized that my relationship with social media, for the moment, became dull, time-consuming, and disappointing. Rather than focusing on connecting, I was stuck comparing and analyzing my life with others. It became an unhealthy relationship.
Without feeling the need to check Facebook and Twitter lately, I have been able to clear my head of the nonsensical bells and whistles of the online social realm and really focus on what I want out of my life instead of focusing on what I should do to make my life look that much more impressive to my online connections.
Right now, I have been able to use social media sparingly yet productively through WordPress. Blogging is definitely a form of social media, but it is one I use only for me. It gives me great enjoyment to harness my thoughts about a subject every week and share them with you. It has proven healthier than wearing my emotions on my online sleeve.
Although I look forward to the day when my Facebook and I make amends, for now I’ve found it healthy admitting to myself I need to take a step back for the time being.
I hope your relationship with social media proves to be either better controlled or a more positive relationship than mine had become. If, when endlessly scrolling through your news feed reading posts from your friends and family you have occasionally felt unsure why you use these websites, I encourage you to take a step back for a bit.
I have found once I signed off was when the important, meaningful relationships surface and strengthen.
Until next Monday!
Keep Fighting, Keep Breathing, Live Today, Say Tomorrow