Why I Have a Like/Dislike Relationship with Social Media
I have a like/dislike relationship with social media, it's true. I frequent a few different social media sites mainly Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I communicate frequently via email with friends, family, my children's teachers, and various other types of contacts. But like everything, it has its pros and cons, its good and bad points, its risks and benefits.
Facebook is great for what it was originally intended; to be a scrapbook of sorts. It's a way to display pictures and information, catch up with folks you might not see in "real life" any more. It's a virtual class reunion at times, enabling us to reconnect with friends past whom we might not have seen for years and may never see again in the flesh, but we are able to renew those friendships we thought were left behind. It's even become a way to connect with businesses or promote your own.
But sometimes it crosses the line from fun and light into dramatic and attention-seeking. I don't mind the occasional venting post. We all make them and when it's not done in excess, it's cool. Everybody needs a little place to vent about a pet peeve or a failed product, something that went wrong in their day. Heck, it's probably a quick, little form of therapy and allows us to let it out, get a little support, and leave it behind us. My pet peeve vent would be what I call the "passive-aggressive post" and the "mystery post". The passive-aggressive we've all seen, I'm fairly certain. Someone posts something a little ornery, refrains from specifically calling out by name the focus of their orneriness, yet hopes the person it's intended for reads it and knows it's meant for them. I find these pointless yawns. If you have something you want to say to someone, say it to that person. Do so kindly and let them know how you're feeling; deal with it and move on. My other non-favorite is the "mystery post" where the status reads something very succinct like "Biggest decision ever..." or "Bad day." And?? Care to elaborate? The poster usually does not, but instead it seems they hope people will express enough interest that they'll finally let the cat out of the bag after their friends have coaxed it out of them. Either way, again, please just say what you've got to say, man. Overall, I really do enjoy Facebook, some days a little too much. But I've reconnected with some friends from the past and made some great new connections. When used well (and safely), it's a great social media tool.
Twitter has become a new favorite of mine. It's just fun! Where else can you glimpse into some celebrity lives and actually communicate with them a little. Never before have they been this accessible and it's fun to hear their random thoughts at times. I've had interactions with Richard Marx, Marcus Lemonis, one of the RHONY, and even Todd Chrisley. Twitter is also a great way to promote yourself if you have a product or blog, a book or website, and a great way to connect with brands. Give it a try if you haven't.
Pinterest has been responsible for many meals served at our dinner table. It's great that I can find virtually any recipe I might seek with easy instructions and great pictures (I have to have pictures of the finished product when it comes to food!) If you're into fashion, and I am, you can find some great outfit ideas on Pinterest as well. Many a brides-to-be have planned their weddings around some fabulous Pinterest ideas. The DIY projects are endless and unique. It's a virtual treasure chest of ideas.
As always, when engaging on social media one needs to exercise healthy caution and good common sense. You don't always truly know who you're communicating with so be smart and sparingly with what you divulge especially when it comes to your children. And by all means, please, please monitor your children's social media behavior. The 'dislike' portion of this is that children of any age should not be allowed to run amok on social media. I've been pretty shocked (and concerned) about some things I've seen some tweens and teens post and I wonder if their parents can see what I see. I monitor all my children's online whereabouts and the hard and fast rule is I have the power of veto. I know all and see all and if they change their passwords so I can't, then their access is denied. Also, if I feel a post is inappropriate, that's where the veto power comes in where I can explain to them why I feel it wasn't probably the best or kindest thing to say and maybe it should be removed or at least reworded. This isn't censorship or an invasion of their privacy. I don't demand to monitor every keystroke, but I believe with the privilege of being able to be online comes my responsibility to guide them how to do so properly and safely. I've seen far too many people, young and adults, who have become afflicted with false media courage; meaning, they'll spew out something behind the mask of Facebook that they'd never have the (often rude) gall to say to someone's face in person. One of my general life rules is just "be kind." It's pretty simple, not always easy, but yields good results.
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