Monthly Archives: March 2012

Social Media or Social Addiction?

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Hello bloggies, writers, readers, friends, family, and innocent people that have found this blog.  Social media is a bunch of phooey!  It is akin to a highly addictive drug like caffeine and nicotine, and frankly, goes very well with both of those.  So for fear that you will get addicted, I challenge you to limit yourself to five minutes of Facebook, one game of Words with Friends, and 2 cups of decaf coffee a day.  If this is not enough for you, continue reading.
For those that need more information, like my curious and tech savvy readers, you already know social media is a term for Internet websites that allow for the exchange of information.  Each website can be used for the exchange of social communication, business networking, or sharing of general ideas depending on their design.  This is a jejune explanation because it really isn’t any more complicated than it sounds.  There is no more mystery to a social media website than your own online banking, and new social media websites seeking members pop up ever week!

Remember the first time you heard of MySpace?  I contemplated it for several years before I actually logged on and created my own account.  After the account was created, I freaked out and immediately closed my account.  Putting myself out there like that, even my name, was too much of an intrusion, even for this extrovert.  Then, came along Facebook.  Facebook seemed a little more mature and would limit some one’s ability to get too outlandish with the wallpaper, music, etc. I decided I could handle Facebook.  After creating my own account I received the requisite friend request from the creator of Facebook, long before I new he was going to be Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year.”  Again, that horrible feeling of being violated overwhelmed me.  Who was this guy, how did he know who I was, and why did he want to be my friend?  I freaked out just short of calling the FCC.  Fortunately, a kind friend advised me of who Tom was and not to worry, I was not being stalked by a stranger on the Internet, nor did I have to go on a date with him.

Looking back on my first experience with Facebook, I’m glad it was not around when I was a teenager.  There would be entirely too much information that I would have to remove before the new Timeline format set in. 

However, social media has changed many of us including many close-minded introverts.  As many of you know, I am connected with you and others through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Blogspot, WordPress, Pinterest, Instant Messenger (wow that’s old), FourSquare, Skype, listserves, etc.  It’s absolutely ridiculous and that is why I think it is phooey in my opinion.  Someone called me today to tell me she was in my neighborhood and would love to see me.  That is what I call a friend.  We are missing out on so many wonderful experiences people!  Now instead of being assaulted by a salesperson selling copiers at your office, you are pounded by their friend requests, invitations and emails.  That’s okay though because you can hide behind your computer screen with your delete button.  But for the “social” aspect of it, are we deleting our human side?  How about our ability to be personable and communicate with each other mano y mano?

Picture yourself as follows:  pajamas on, fake firelog ablaze, wireless modem buzzing, and laptop in your lap, duh.  You are on MySpace, SpaceJunkey, JunkeyMonkey, Facebook, FaceTime, MyFace, SpaceJunkie, PajamaTime, PinItToMe, and on and on.  But what do you really get out of all that?  I can tell you exactly what you receive in return for your diligence in keeping up with LinkedIn, LinkedSquare, ComputerSquared, Flicker, Finger, and Shuttered . . . . 15 unwanted pounds, overweight pets, numb fingertips, a stinky house, dirty laundry, and no dates.  You may start secretly wanting someone to stalk you on the Internet because that is all you have left. 

Do you want a bunch of phooey or do you want to have a life?  Do you really gain anything out of knowing that your Aunt Effie just got home from her colonoscopy and things are moving much better?  I will admit, some social media is fun.  But just as a parent limits the hours a child can watch television or what kind of programming, so should you limit yourself in your social media.  I’m pretty sure new diseases will develop and ultimately be identified from the abusive and over use of social media.  I can see it now:  Socialitis requiring a social mediaectomy.  This is the fear of backing away from your computer and turning off your smart phone and actually talking to a live human being.  I can’t imagine what the withdrawals will be like and if morphine will even work. 

Well, it is a free country and I will try to focus on the more positive aspects of social media.  Maybe it is so strong it can bring about less fighting, less car accidents, less crime.  People will be too lazy to do anything other than posting about their bunions. 

In reality, social media is incredibly simple but yet powerful.  Never underestimate the consequences of posting pictures from your Weird Science high school party 20 years ago.  If used in a positive manner, you can increase contacts, increase sales, find people, get help with something, and get motivated.  You have to weed through all the phooey to get to the meat and potatoes of what is good.  Don’t get distracted by Tom from Facebook, people tweeting, twitting and twatting.  Step away from the phooey and lay the cigarettes down.

Either way, I hope you continue to at least enjoy my blog, make comments, and stay connected.  Now go out and enjoy yourself.

carpe diem

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