Social media is a constantly changing thing, like most human endeavors (and the universe in general, actually). After being prompted by my online buddy, Lynn Serafinn’s latest post (find it here; good read), I thought again about how I use social media and whether and how it serves my interests, both personal and professional.
I figure it might help you all to take a look at how or whether this sort of community structure fits you, as well as giving you some encouragement to do what works for you, including getting off social media altogether, as my Tarot buddy, Beth Maiden has done (more on that here; also and always a good read is Beth).
I decided after reading Beth’s post that I wasn’t ready to ditch social media completely, although I definitely see her points; it’s very easy to get sucked into superficial scrolling through and liking things without really interacting; it becomes another version of passively watching TV.
Also, there are too many networks out there, and it likely pays to focus on just a handful or fewer that provide some real interaction with real humans (even possibilities for travel in the real world to visit people! What a concept!).
In response to Lynn’s post asking how we thought social media worked for us now, I wrote that I find it important to be selective about social networks because they work slightly differently and for different purposes. Here are the ones I currently use and why (your mileage may vary):
I do find FB useful for its groups in particular, and for staying in genuine connection with family in ways I never did without the ease of posting pics instantaneously. I’ve been amazed at how FB groups have grown from a confusing non-useful thing to the most interactive part of the network. I do use FB only for personal stuff (except for participation in Tarot groups), though. I have no use for Pages for my businesses, and I don’t believe in using their advertisement thing. I don’t like the way FB treats small businesses that don’t have a lot of followers. This is the one network I tend to want to check too many times in a day for some reason, maybe because there’s more interaction with the real folks behind the profiles.
I ignored this one at first, but after getting an iPad, I’ve found its structure very useful for posting photos (Tarot readings, cosmos pics, travel pics) once a day that might be of interest to friends and the public. The structure makes it easy to post and to share with FB and Twitter.
I have also developed some real friendships, deep ones, with a handful of folks on Twitter, although I use it mostly to share and consume info on subjects of interest (my editing business interests, Tarot, inspirational stuff). It’s a network that’s meant to be used multiple times a day; there’s a definite immediacy about it. I go in once a day and retweet stuff, as well as posting my morning pics from Instagram, then I might pop back in later if someone retweets something of mine. I don’t generally follow companies or celebrities, though. I do occasionally have interactions with others, but mostly it’s for business visibility and sharing content with others who are interested.
I use Google+ to follow my astronomy and science fiction fandoms. G+ has a higher geek population than most other main networks, so it fits me. It also does a great job of presenting photography in the way it’s laid out. I don’t know folks personally on G+ and there isn’t a lot of interaction, but I do get to collect some great content on subjects of interest and share some of the same.
I also check on Pinterest once a week, but have not really gotten into it, and I found Ello and other of the newer networks just not my style.
Looking at the big picture of social media, though, the downside to these technological relationships
seems to be the simple lack of face-to-face conversation (no, video is not enough) or hugs, etc. No technology can replace the energy of physical proximity and the full effect of nonverbal communication, including touch and the use of space between people. Besides, I definitely need hugs regularly. 🙂
In that spirit, then, I think it pays in emotional contentment to focus and regulate your online social networking, and find more opportunities to sit around a real fire or in a real coffee shop and have some full verbal and physical contact with people you truly know. There’s nothing like it. 🙂