Monday, May 7, 2012

Blogs, Facebook Posts, Twitter

I've been thinking a lot lately about social media.  I'm (obviously) a huge fan of most parts of social media.  I started blogging back before blogging was the cool thing to do.  When I started, no one had sponsors or worried about how many views their pages got.  I started on the crazy XANGA and then when Jonah was born, I moved to Blogger.  I blogged because I wanted my family and friends to know my baby even thought they weren't around him often.

Then came Facebook.  I first remember hearing about Facebook when a church in our area had a problem with a youth pastor.  The guy was asked to resign (for very valid reasons that the church could not be told) and it did not go well.  The church took a hit.  I remember talking to one of the other pastors there and he told us that the church and name of Christ was being killed on Facebook.  He said people took their anger and frustrations there and it was heart wrenching to see.

Back then, you had to have an .edu address to even use Facebook.  (I think most students still wish it were that way!)  When FB finally opened itself up to everyone, I decided to get an account.  I was immediately sucked in.  I reconnected with college and high school friends I had not seen in 10+ years.  I began to keep up with family that I had only visited with a few times in my life.  It seemed the whole world opened up.

Then came Twitter.  I love Twitter.  Actually, I feel a bit like a stalker on Twitter. You get to see inside the lives of "famous" people.  And, by famous, I mean people that I have admired or are intrigued by.  For instance, I'm a big fan of Natalie Grant.  I have been since she was on the cruise we took in 2004.  By following her on Twitter, I see a lot of the background stuff of her life.  I see her talk about struggles with weight, raising children, traveling, marriage, eating healthy, etc.  But, I also see her talk about the joys of her life.  I guess it just puts everyone on the same playing know, NORMAL!!!

But, lately, I've just been questioning it all.  I often hear people say that it is all fake.  That social media doesn't show the real you.  Social Media is only what you want people to know about you.  It is the photo shopped version of your life.  I guess I can see that being true in some cases but I've really thought about that and where I fall in all of that.

I blog because I don't want to stop.  Weird statement, huh?  I started it.  I've documented so much of Jonah's life there.  I feel like Micah deserves the same.  I know the time will come that they will want their lives to be a little less documented and whenever that comes, I will honor that decision and stop blogging about them or stop blogging altogether.  But, for now, the memories that I have are priceless to me.  Sometimes, I go back and read the current day of all the years past and don't even remember those events.  I know they happened because they are my words and my pictures but I forgot them already.  So, I'm happy to have the blog for that reason.

Blogging hasn't been without issue, though.  I've been told that "no one wants to see that many pictures or hear that many stories about any one's kids" but my response to that is, then don't visit this site.  I've also seen that some people exchange relationship for what they see here.  Meaning, they think they know my kids because they can see the blog and know what is going on without having to be in relationship with us.  That hurts.  

I'm made some great friends through blogging.  And, I've been able to stay close to some of my friends from other places because they blog.  I feel like I'm still getting to do life with some of them even though we are 12 hours apart.  

Facebook, oh Facebook!  The word about Facebook these days is all about how fake it is.  How no one puts their reality on there.  They only put out there what they want others to know.  It is all about envy and pride.  There is no reality.  I least in my case.  Granted, I don't air our dirty laundry on Facebook and I don't share every detail of my life, but just because I put a picture of my kids eating on Popsicle on the beach doesn't mean my goal is jealousy for my friends.  I was actually told soon after moving here that I should stop posting about going to Disney because people would have a problem with me pretending life is great.  Ummm, what?  

I guess there is a fine line.  And, that is what I struggle with.  I want to be real about struggles without being considered whiny or wanting attention.  I want to express myself as a Christian without "preaching" to my friends on FB.  I want to show pictures of my family without bragging.  I want to delete people because they aren't people I would hang out with in real life.  I want to wish someone a Happy Birthday without someone else wondering why I didn't wish them a happy birthday.  I want to tell someone I enjoyed spending time with them without making someone else wonder why they weren't invited.  It's CRAZY, y'all!

But, I get the "Fakeness" aspect of Facebook.  When every picture you have is perfectly photoshopped and every status is self promoting and the words you use publicly are NOT the words you use behind the backs of those very people, that is the negative.  When more people are talking about what you put out publicly not matching who you are privately, that causes an issue.  But, it shouldn't effect every one.  It shouldn't make everyone seem fake or self promoting.  

I almost quit FB last year.  I felt that every time I logged on, people were filling up my news feed by begging me to like a page and vote for them, play some game, buy some special, view some contest.  It was overwhelming.  It seemed more like a marketplace than a place to catch up.  And, apparently I offended several people when I didn't like their page, vote for them or make my status what they wanted me to.  Then, when I discovered they were offended, it stressed me out.  I hate hurting feelings or upsetting people.  It's just a vicious cycle.

Honestly, the only reason I stay on Facebook now is because of church.  It is great outlet for getting information about church out.  It is good way to know church people when I might not be in the same circles as them.  Just yesterday, a lady came up to me who saw a post on Facebook last week and told me how much joy it brought her to see something I put out there last week.  She told me that my boys make some of her lonely, long days seem shorter and happier.  Yeah, that was through tears that she told me that.  So, for that reason, I don't want to end it.  It connects us with so many of our senior adults (the fastest growing FB population right now).

Last, but not least, Twitter.  If all of life could be reduced to 140 characters.  I'm daily encouraged/inspired/motivated/challenged by Twitterland.  So, I'm definitely sticking around there for a while.  When I can't attend a conference/simulcast/event that I hoped to attend, all I have to do is go to Twitter and the best of it gets broken down for me.  If an important game is on, I can read Twitter rather than watching it.  If I need a great restaurant in a new town, all I have to do is ask Twitter.  

What about you and social media?  Where do you fall?  What are your thoughts?  

1 comment:

Penny said...

I think some of facebook is fake. I try to put only things on there that will lift, inspire, or make someone laugh. Once in while I stumble~ I accidentally offended someone dear recently. I automatically deleted the post and apologized in a message and in person. ;( But some people put WAY too much out there that is NO one else's business. Some change their relationship status as often as I change my sheets. lol Some put horrible remarks, hateful/hurtful comments, and BRAG. I've "hidden" most of those people. I don't want to read that mess everyday.
I don't see posting a picture of your child as "bragging." Shouldn't we only put the positive on the internet? Why would anyone choose to put the worst parts of their life out there for anyone to see?! This is breaking down families. Spouses/parents are leaving their families~ teens are committing crimes~ suicide rates are high. Not all of these things are because of media, but it sure plays a part. It's easier to "connect" with old flames, hide messages from others, and bully people. :(
I'm with you on the people that post negative/hurtful comments on someone's blog~ read somewhere else! Enough said. Sorry that got really long. ;)


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