My Social Media Experiment
I was a late bloomer.
In 2007, I said I’d “never” get on Facebook.
I’ve had the same email account since college.
And that was at the time people REALLY started using email.
MySpace was just fine, I liked to blog there.
But no… no… no… Facebook was not for me. Too much work. Not personal enough.
At one point I was anchoring a 5 p.m. newscast and living/working as a “house mom” at a sorority for a second job while Marcus and I were saving up for our wedding. I remember being clued into Facebook then, as college students were sharing information over the website. That’s how it started, as a tool for these students.
And then it went mainstream.
And somewhere along the line, I got sucked in. And in some way, didn’t most of us? Okay, I’m talking to those of us 28 years old and older.
You started out a little reluctantly, trying to figure out how to post a Status Update, where it went, and how your friends saw it. Then, a year or two passed, and you got Facebook on your newly upgraded smart phone.
After that, you figured out how to get alerts sent to your email and your phone when someone posted a comment to one of your Status Updates. And then if you’re like me—you turned those updates off because that was a lot to handle. My parents got on Facebook. I’m waiting for my 87 year old grandmother to get on Facebook.
Sucked in. It happens.
All of a sudden, we started relying on Facebook a little too much. You could also substitute other forms of social media in that sentence. Twitter, Foursquare, Google Plus. We’ve become a world that’s defined by our daily, sometimes hourly, updates.
Let me be clear. There is a definite purpose for social media. I live it every day through the work that I do. I feel it’s important for informing the public and sharing pertinent information. How would you quickly know if there was an earthquake in India? Or if Snookie really was pregnant? It’s your information; you decided what’s important to you.
It’s also fun to share those quirky moments we experience every day in our lives and laugh about it collectively, when sometimes we might just be laughing to ourselves. I am funnier on Facebook that I am in real life sometimes. It’s a reality.
And it feels good to connect on a regular basis with people from all avenues in your life. I just reconnected with a friend that I had in 3rd grade that’s moving to Columbus soon to work for a big corporation. Small, small world because of social media.
But at the same time, it should not be a replacement for personal relationships.
I’m Catholic and I was debating what to give up for Lent one morning here at NBC 4 during a commercial break. Monica suggested online shopping, I definitely thought about it—even though I wouldn’t say I’m overly obsessed with it. I decided not to give up the standards: fast food, cursing, etc. I don’t do any of that enough to make it a big Lenten commitment. I finally landed on not doing social media in my personal life for 40 days. And I learned a lot about myself and my relationships.
By participating in this 40 day “fast”, if you will, I learned that I have some good friends that have become so busy with life that all they can find time to do is post a Status Update. I also learned that if I don’t see that update, I will have NO CLUE what is happening in your life.
We’ve gotten to a point where we inform good friends about what’s going on in our lives with that Status Update. But what we forget is, we’re putting those “good friends” and family into the same category sometimes as our acquaintances and friends we don’t know very well.
We have got to take time to make a phone call when we can, or send a thoughtful text, to make sure that social media is not the only form of communication between ourselves and the ones we care about the most. We need to reach out for Girls’ Nights Out or take some brownies down the way when a neighbor is having a rough week. We need to offer to help change the tire at the house next door or have a quick conversation over the fence.
It’s my responsibility to reach out as much as it is yours. And now, I have that on my mind before I go to your Facebook page or look at my feed. I’m not saying I have it all figured out—but I’m starting to change my ways.
So next time, before you post an update, try thinking about something good you could do for a good friend today. There’s nothing like the personal touch, compared to what we share online.Posted by on 05/01 at 09:51 AM
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