……and I’m BACK to the Blog Dare!!!!
After some site redesigns (I hope you love!), I’m getting ready for my Blog-Aversary next month and a weekend of craziness last weekend I’m hoping to get back on track with my blogging. As I posted a few weeks ago I’ve got a lot on my mind right now and unfortunately my blog is suffering. I’m sorry! 😦
It’s ironic, as everything in my life ALWAYS seems to be, that I come back to blogging and decide to go right back to the Blog Dare that I decided to follow for the year, and the topic for today is/was “Because of Social Media…….”, well, I’m not sure I could find a better, more appropriate topic for ME to write about. I’ve actually written about this A LOT on my own, but I’m excited to share some new perspectives and updated views.
For those of you that are newer to my blog and may not know me so well, I have to start off by reminding you, that while now I spend my days earning a living as a nanny to 3 beautiful children, prior to that, I spent 11 years in advertising, the last 6 in internet advertising. I’m what you would consider an early adopter. In 1999, I was already on the internet daily, I was selling advertising on websites, it was new territory and we were like the forefathers of the internet, making it up as we went along and learning as we went! Sometimes that can be VERY fun, and other times it has major challenges. I worked for MySpace long before ANY of you had ever heard who they were, owned by a company named Intermix Media, and we were sued one of the first Internet Law Suits, ironically by Elliot Spitzer for having spyware in our downloads. (Which is why I ultimately left, and then they were sold to FOX a while later, and well, it became the giant gorilla until Facebook came in and took over the world.)
A little piece of history for my friends and followers who may not know, Facebook has been around a lot longer than MySpace and all the other social networks, however, from its inception, Zuckerberg’s plan was to make it so college kids could connect, so if you didn’t have a .edu email address, which you can only obtain as a registered student at a university, it would not allow any one else to use it. But as MySpace grew, and Zuckerberg and his team saw how Social Media was growing faster and faster and faster, they decided to change their policies to invite everyone to use it, and well, MySpace who? Was what came of that. (I remember these things like it was yesterday, I ate, drank and slept Internet and this thing called Social Media for YEARS before it became a household name and the addiction of our generation.).
I personally was extremely reluctant to join Facebook. I was never on MySpace, I didn’t get it, nor did I want to. I had “retired” from the Internet industry where Facebook was my competition, and I couldn’t see why I would want to connect with people, I mean I live where I grew up, if I wanted to know you, I thought I knew you, and boy was I wrong!!
In November of 2007, just around the time I started working watching Calen, I found myself a tad lonely home all day alone like a SAHM with an infant, and my BFF at the time was going through a painful divorce and I, as her strength and backbone suggested that we both join Facebook, it’s free, and maybe she’d reconnect with some old friends and find other people besides me to hang out with and maybe it would help her move on in her life! What I didn’t expect to happen is what did. It literally changed my life.
Sidebar, she seems to hates Social Media and from what I can tell, she’s a lurker at best. She doesn’t post, she doesn’t interact and that’s her choice but I got sucked in!
I got sucked in BIG TIME for a few reasons.
- When I left college in 1996, we didn’t have internet nor did we have cell phones. So after leaving abruptly, and not returning after winter break that year I lost touch with some AMAZING people purely because technology wasn’t then what it is now. You weren’t required at Sonoma State at that point to own a computer, there were computer labs and well, phone calling was EXPENSIVE, landline to landline and my parents were not allowing that. So, my only option was pen and paper, and that didn’t happen or if it did, last long. I kept in touch with several important people who meant a lot to me and we found a way to continue to be in each others lives and did over the 11 years from when I left school until I joined Facebook and we found each other.
- When I joined Facebook I came to realize the hundreds of people who had touched my life in one way or another over the years, some I hadn’t thought about in YEARS and others I had missed and really wished that I had figured out a way to get back in touch years before.
- Social Media also gives me a window to the outside world. I live alone, I work alone most days with no one over the age of 5, and NOTHING has made me feel less lonely than having Social Media for my digital connection to people.
- Social Media has allowed people to connect with others in their same shoes and that to me is key. My friend with Bechet’s Disease (know what that is? Well she unfortunately does and has found a way to connect with MANY others in that same position!). A mother with a special needs child can connect with other parents in their same situation and obtain resources as well as support from someone who DOES actually know what they’re going through.
- Family, I come from a small immediate family but have a GINORMOUS extended family on BOTH SIDES! I have cousins coming out of my ears on my dad’s side (not that I’m complaining) some I knew beforehand, some I had never met and some I’ve connected with and gotten to know. It’s been wonderful. I could not love this aspect more.
- As a (formerly) single woman, it allowed me to reconnect with people who again, I’d lost touch with or they would never have known how to find me and was able to go out with them on a date. It’s not a dating site, and I’ve changed my account to only allow people I know and want as my friends (or followers, whatever you want to call it!), so it’s harmless, and I may have found everlasting love, just reconnecting with someone from my past on Facebook.
But…….with everything great comes the other side. When there’s good, there is always bad too. I have a love hate relationship with Social Media the more I’ve spent time on it.
I joined Twitter, because 2.5 years ago when I decided to “learn” Twitter, I realized that I wanted to know everything I could about it and that way if I ever decided to return to my previous career, I was up to date on social media and what the newest things were.
As I stated above I love Facebook. Love it. But, in the beginning, it seemed the “Thing to do” was to add as many people as you could and between my family, family friends, lifelong friends, preschool friends, K-9 friends as well as high school, camp, college and friends from every single Jewish organization I had been involved in, and there were A LOT! I only added people I knew, and my rule at the beginning was to make sure that as time went on, if I didn’t interact with this person, maybe it was okay to unfriend them. Then, I had a few awkward situations, and decided that I wanted to revamp how I organized and ran my social media online life just like I’ve done with my personal life. If you don’t communicate with me on FB, I deleted you. If I comment on your status and pictures and never get a response or a thank you, I deleted you. If you lived in So Cal or Los Angeles, and we hadn’t ever gotten together in the first 4-years that we were Facebook friends I decided to unfriend and get rid of them! It may sound harsh, but, I like the privacy that I have set up, I love being able to connect with whom I want to, and I’ve built some AMAZING relationships with people I “knew” but never REALLY knew nor did I ever spend time with and some of those people have become some of the closest people TO me. I’ve made a private circle of people who I WANT to know what’s going on in my life if they want to know. I want to be able to watch their children grow up and their lives progress just as they seem to feel about mine, and I love that. We don’t have to see each other in person for me to feel a connection. I’ve made new friends through other friends and bonded with some of these people who without Social Media I never would’ve been lucky enough to have in my life, much less be able to call them my friend. I’ve reconnected with old friends, I’ve connected with people I knew in the past but never knew real well, and ❤
And now for what I HATE about social media. Let me preface this by saying I am not deluded into thinking that before Social Media these things weren’t issue, it’s just give a public forum for people to get on their soap boxes, insult people, and say mean things that they never would have the guts to do in person. Some of that is good, anyway you can gain confidence, I applaud you, it wasn’t easy for me, I’m finally there. But, the arguments I see and hear about from Twitter and Facebook, make me want to stab someone, don’t worry I won’t, I’m just saying their frustrating and infuriating the scariest, saddest one being parenthood. I find that there’s way to much judgementalism (is that a word?) amongst people than is necessary. Birthing plans vs going with the flow, or heaven forbid a planned C-Section because for private reasons it’s mandatory. The SAHM/working mom argument, people, not everyone has a choice, and in these difficult times, some people are staying home because they realize they’d be working JUST to pay childcare!! Then there’s breastfed vs formula fed, co-sleeping vs crib and crying it out. NO ONE IS AN EXPERT AND EVERYONE HAS A RIGHT TO THEIR OWN OPINION. I think this is an area I have the most trouble with. The hate and anger spewed back and forth. I personally have removed that from my feed by unfollowing and blocking. I don’t want to hear your extreme opposite opinions, you have the right to have them, but we aren’t exactly going to be compatible friends if we are on opposite ends of the spectrum in our morals and values and homes.
But it’s hard. It hurts me deeply, weekends, holidays, it’s painful. I want to be a mommy more than anything in this world, and I don’t know If I will ever get the chance, but, the bad side to Facebook and Twitter is spending the weekends and holidays alone, and realizing how much fun these mommies and daddies are having decorating and shopping for their kids for Valentine’s Day, or Easter or Christmas. It stings. And it hurts my soul more than I could ever articulate. I’ve learned over the past few years that I try hard to stay offline those days. Seeing all the pictures of the precious children dong what I wish I was doing hurts and cuts like a knife every single time. I am very fortunate to have Calen, Leah & Brady to spoil and do my own version of these traditions with them, but, they’re not mine and whether it appears from my posts or not, I know they’re not my kids. I’m like an aunt. But I want my own. My own to spoil, my own to have these traditions with. My own to dress up in silly outfits and post pics of. For that alone, Social Media is bad. It hurts and the best thing I’ve learned, is just stay away. You have a choice to log on. You have a choice to read the feeds and I chose to ignore them. If I don’t see them, I can pretend that it didn’t really happen and it hurts me less. To reiterate, I DO NOT BEGRUDGE anyone for having those moments and being lucky enough to BE parents, but, the hurt comes from the reality of how alone you feel and watching that weekend after weekend or holiday after holidays is rough. But, you live and learn, like I said, this Internet thing is a “learn as you go”.
This blog post is longer than the Articles of Confederation! I’m sorry about that if you’re still reading this you’re a saint! 😉
So, I have a love hate relationship with Social Media. I love it some days and other days I think it is the worst invention ever made and I wish I wasn’t so addicted to it, and that’s the honest truth, I’m so addicted, I CANNOT STEP AWAY!!!!