This is an odd post for a home school blog but I think that we must better ourselves to be able to better our kids.
Ask someone about social media and answers about Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and My Space (remember that one) come tumbling forth (we must not forget Tumblr). Social media is one of those topics that can cause visceral debate on the worthiness of the sites. Being in the social media crowd is fun, it helps people to network, and it allows instant access to friends and family even when they are busy. Yet as I dive deeper into the social media scene I have come to realize a startling and what I believe to be a universal fact.
Social media brings out the narcissistic, selfish, and greedy side of us. Most of the time without checks and balances.
Now before you go all commando on me please check your social media ego at the door. Also, if you are anti-social media I would like for you to check your ego at the door too (however if you are anti-social media why are you reading blogs in the first place). If you do not check your ego you will just get mad and that isn’t good for your health, especially your blood pressure. Are you ok now? Make sure you take deep breaths while continuing to read. If you start to feel you blood boil just remember this is an opinion piece. I probably don’t know you and am not talking about you. Also I would like to say that I am a member of Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, and Goodreads. I have my own web of social media so my opinion applies to myself. Ok, let us commence.
Social media wants us to think that what they are providing is a place of conversation. That is true to an extent. For us average folks we get to share with 100s of our friends and family what we did today with just a few strokes of the keyboard. We can share bites of our lives and things that we would like to have in our lives such as that million dollar diamond ring. Social Media is the drive thru of “conversations”. All it does for us is give us fast fillers. Not to mention that it is all about us which is great! Who wouldn’t want to talk about themselves all the time? In the real world most of us don’t start out a face-to-face conversation talking about ourselves. Yes that is correct, starting a conversation talking about yourself is bad decorum. Yet what is the point of social media? It is to broadcast ourselves. It is to tell the world what we are doing, where we have gone, who we went with, how cute our kids are, and what a horrible day we are having. We make our opinion known, our voices “heard”, and we take comfort in that we know a lot about a lot of people. We “share” for the enlightenment of our friends. Sure we post comments on our friends walls and retweet their 40 character happenings but that is a sideline to our own pages. Yes it good to tell about monumental events such as a graduation, wedding, and new baby. However, that is not what we mainly use it for; it is for self promotion of the daily ebb and flow of our lives. In the real world when someone behaves exactly how we behave online we usually call the person narcissistic, a busy body, and a gossip. However, in the world of social media the norm is turned upside down and now we praise and reward this behavior with likes, comments, and retweets ect.
Social media can become an addiction of wants. We are a nation that thrives on consumerism. That is a good thing when we keep our own personal consumption within our means (another post). But when does being a consumer start to consume us even when we are not consuming all that we desire? As Americans we are not strangers to greed and now we can broadcast to all people our wants. We label our 500 pins using the words “want”, “must have”, and “need”? Is that really necessary? We pin clothes that we are never going to buy, jewelry that we can’t afford, bodies of other women which we will never have because those bodies have been through photoshop (that is another post), decorating ideas which we will never do, recipes we will not make (sometimes), and DIY projects that sound good in theory but won’t be completed. When we post “I have to do this”, “This is so cool. I can do this in my livingroom”, “I need to learn how to do this”, “I want this ring”, how many of those things do we actually get and get to do? I am guessing the percentage is low. To pin something is just to fuel the fire of consumption, which in turn subtly fuels the greed and discontent within. We don’t recognize the burning embers but they are present.
All right, I feel that we need to check our breathing. I can tell that blood pressures going a little too high. Let us relax, slow down our breathing, go get some chocolate, and then we can continue.
Now that I have brought you down low it is time get up off the floor and dust ourselves off. Social media has a place in society. I am not one to go commando and ban it all from my life and the life of my kids. I think that it is fun and a good tool for networking. However I do think that I need to check some things in my own web of wonder.
First I will only pin things if I am actually going to buy, make, or do them (including promoting friends’ talents). I am going to stop using the words “want” and “need” in my pins. For, as I am teaching my kids, there is very little I actually need and far less that I should want. I am at a more joyful place when I am content with the blessings I already have. I am not going to crowd all the other folders with stuff I am never going to buy, make, do, or have time for. Instead I am going to make a folder and label it Dreamer. This is where I will place all those photos of exotic places, beautiful dresses, fine jewelry, home-make-overs, and DIY projects that I will never be able to experience (this will take great honesty from myself). To dream is a great thing! To be able to still see things through a dreamers eyes is a marvelous existence. Dreaming is fun but to turn that dream into a desire, then a want, and then a need is to burn the fire of discontent. I have been warmed by that fire many times and I don’t need to be warmed by it any more.
Second, I will post encouragements on other people’s pages. I will help promote their talents and wonderful experiences more than I promote myself. I am trying to teach my kids to think of others first before they think of themselves. For me this includes my friend list and followers. It is time for me to act on the internet as if I were interacting face-to-face. Once my kids dive into this rabbit hole how am I to teach them how to navigate the Wonder Land of Social Media when I myself act on the code of narcissism instead of the code of love, respect, gratefulness, and contentment? The answer is I can’t. I must practice what I preach. So here I go on my great adventure with the right mind-set. Will you join me? I hear the weather in Wonder Land is beautiful this time of year.