Sunday, April 6, 2014

Journal day: social media

Edited to add: Visit the source for these prompts at Sometimes Sweet.

My relationship with social media is among my most unhealthy, second only to my relationship with caffeine. Facebook is by far the largest time sink in my life, at least since I went off World of Warcraft. Don't misunderstand me- I love the relationships that I am able to create and maintain via social media: I share my fitness successes with other work-out nerds on Daily Mile, I share an annoying number of animal pictures via Instagram, and I am forever nattering on about my latest cooking experiment, whatever thing my dog has recently destroyed, or how awesome my husband is on Facebook. I am able to keep in touch with friends and family who live elsewhere, and even make new acquaintances through friends-of-friends. We celebrate each others' joys and commiserate each others', woes; we support and uplift each other and we communicate important details in our smaller communities.

But there's this other ugly side of social media, the online disinhibition effect (or Internet D&@%Wad Theory, if you will) wherein people abandon their social graces because of the anonymity the internet provides. Nasty comments, "flame-wars", and general misbehaving that happen 'round the Internet.

I am also prone to over-using social media. I spend time there that would be better spent on other pursuits. Time that I could use being productive in any of the dozens of hobbies that I have. I often think I'll work on my growing list of writing projects, right after I pop in on Facebook... "just to catch up". Before I know it, hours have passed and now it's time for a meal or an errand, or something else that requires my attention - and I didn't write one word.

Not only did I not work on anything useful, I also pissed away hours reading stories and comments that did not uplift me, or encourage me – hours I cannot get back, that I cannot un-waste; instead of furthering my own goals I filled up on hate and partisan politics and fluffy nonsense (do I really care about what celebrities have clothes that look like mattresses? No, but I looked at every single picture).

The good side to social media is that I can use my influence, whatever it may be, to be a positive force there; to be kind and uplifting and to share friendly messages rather than negative ones.

As with many other things, I have a time management problem around how I spend my time online.

Today is General Conference; for LDS members, that means listening to televised broadcasts of the general authorities of our church as they share messages about the gospel and how we might apply it in our lives to become better people - more thoughtful, more loving, more hope-filled people. Today, my Facebook feed is filled with quotes from those leaders and their messages of love and hope.

I'm not giving up on social media of course, but I'm definitely changing my homepage.

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