Life,  Musings

Issues With Social Media

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dreamstimefree_206298So I’m not sure when exactly I started to have issues with social media.

I don’t mean I’m tired of Twitter, because right now I’m not. I’ve taken several long breaks from twitter in the last few years, one just trying to deal with things, and the others just because I get tired of all the work of having to filter for the few people who are actually interactive on the service. Social networking shouldn’t be work.

The problem with Twitter is not Twitter, but how I used to treat it, and how most people still do. It’s not a numbers game. Do I need tens of thousands of followers or people following me just so I follow them back to boost their numbers? The answer is no, by the way.

Back when I first started seriously considering the author route, I spent too much time with twitter, particularly focused on the number of followers I was building, because it was all about building the platform, right? If someone did a follow Friday while I was online, I did a quick investigation of every person in the list and if they appeared to be human being, instantly followed them. Most of them followed back. I still do that a little, but mostly only when someone includes me in that list, and I’m a little more judicious with my own “hey, follow these people” lists.

Prior to that. I’d been doing Twitter the personal way: following people I knew, following interesting chats and conversations (and following people involved in those), and following a small handful of celebrities and famous authors I thought might have something interesting to say. I went from well under 500 followers more than 1500 in a relatively short period of time, and which point I realized I was devoting way too much time to the process and not nearly enough to the conversation, please my time stream had turned into a series of links, quotes, and “look at me”.

Not what I wanted, and it still isn’t. I keep trying to get back to the Twitter I used to have, the interactive conversation/party I fell in love with in the early days. Some days, it’s there and some days it isn’t. But the important thing is that I still have friends there.

Facebook is a different matter.

Disregarding the couple of things that constantly irritate me about it (if I set my timeline to most recent, it really needs to stay there) Facebook has the potential to be more attractive to me, and on a deeper level, than Twitter. It has more ways to share and interact and a lot of potential to use those ways to have fun and meet/stay in touch with friends, or have an audience.

It’s also more narcissistic.

Paraphrasing Steven Furtick, never compare someone else’s highlight reel to your everyday life. This is especially good advice when you’re on Facebook. Most people are more likely to post only the good things about themselves, their lives, and the things they enjoy. Keeping things positive is good, and it’s nice to be able to keep up with the important events in your friends’ lives, and especially to have something to talk about when you see the ones who are part of your real world as well.

The problem I’m finding lately, and it may in part be due to circumstances in my own real world, but I don’t think so, is that the highlight reels a lot of people are presenting actually don’t compare to my everyday life.

To be clear, I am not saying that my life is particularly interesting or exciting. It is my life, though, and if I don’t like something about it, I should make an effort to change that thing. Aside from the changes that are always in progress because life isn’t static.

But for myself, I post major events. I don’t believe anyone particularly cares that for the 17,342nd morning in a row I had toast for breakfast. (Actually, whenever you read this, I probably did have toast for breakfast because that’s what I have those almost every morning. I love toast.) I also have my doubts that anyone cares what I’m wearing shoes to work (the black ones), or that I’m tired after a long day (isn’t everyone?), or that for my entire vacation to Las Vegas I spent 12 hours a day in front of the slot machines and here are the 400 pictures to prove it (never been to Vegas, but if I ever go, it won’t be to gamble).

I post fun things, exciting things, big things. Pictures from our trip to a major science fiction convention. Publication of a story. Major events in my children’s lives. The fact that all three of my kids are willing to sit at a table with their parents and learn how to play Dungeons & Dragons. Stuff like that.

And I try to interact with my friends as much as I kind. The “Like” button is addictive, but comments work better.

I get that I’m not alone. I also get that we’re not a majority.

But I also get that there’s more to social media. It teaches things, too, but I think that’s an issue for another post as this one is already going long.

Be well, everyone.

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