It’s true, I’m from a different generation.
When I went to summer camp, I stayed in touch with my friends by exchanging written letters, which included placing a stamp on the envelope and walking it down to the mailbox for delivery, states away.
In high school, I used to hand-write notes to my friends or boyfriend and pass these intricately folded pieces of notebook paper to the recipient between classes.
After a vacation, I would drop my film off at the photo lab and anxiously wait for the pictures to be developed. That way, I could share visual parts of my trip (on glossy 4 x 6 prints) with friends and family the next time we got together.
I might have spent hours creating scrapbook layouts (crazy scissors, fun paper, stickers, and all) to complete fancy photo album masterpieces of 1990s and early 2000s highlights, eager to share with anyone who would sit still long enough to look through them.
It is safe to say, no matter the medium, I have always enjoyed expressing myself through written words, pictures and the like…and sharing parts of it with others.
Enter social media. For someone like me, who loves being and staying connected:
OMG: things just got real!
My best friend from high school lives in Florida. I live in Oklahoma. How amazing is it, that, within seconds, she can post a photo of her daughter and I can, almost in real time, see that photo of her daughter on the beach? Cray to the Z.
No printing photos, getting double prints, writing a letter, finding an envelope, buying a stamp, and sending through the U.S. Postal Service for that moment to be shared.
So yes, I love social media. I admit it.
I love sharing funny moments of my day, thoughts I have that I think are worth sharing, scriptures that have impacted me, my kids’ milestones, pictures of my family, my pretty coffee, my not-so-perfect moments, an interesting tree in our neighborhood, etc. Facebook, Instagram, or SnapChat can be my virtual scrapbook, journal, letter to friends—a way to stay in touch or support a cause.
Social media can get a bad rap. It can be distracting, addictive, lead to FOMO, inappropriate relationships, and the like. That is true.
But let’s not forget, there is a lot of positive power in social media, too. For example:
- It can raise awareness for a cause. (Just think for a minute of the magnitude of #metoo).
- Social media can raise money for a hurting family. Like, crazy fast.
- It can provide positive revenue for local businesses, just by a quick customer review, tag, or post.
- It keeps people connected regardless of their physical location.
I think the question we must ask ourselves, is: What do I want out of social media?
Because when you think about it, social media can be what you want it to be.
You, my friend, navigate it. You have the power to decide how, when, and why you will use it.
So, once you’ve realized what you want out of social media, you can figure out how to get it.
I encourage you to then set some goals, and maybe even some limits.
Have “electronic free” time with your friends and family, or implement appropriate age and time limits for your children. Set a positive example. Maybe decide not to bash your ex through your Facebook status. Set up an Instagram account for your business and make a point to post three times a week. Check your revenue after a quarter and see if sales went up.
And for goodness’ sake, laugh at a cat video every once in awhile and even share it if you feel like it.