Friday, February 20, 2015

Observations from a Social Media Addict

"Hello, my name is David and I am a social media addict!" 

I have discovered this truth while in my recent Social Media Fast adventure.  Many times over the last few weeks, I have reached for and/or wanted to check my status, likes/dislikes, comments and messages.  Hopefully, as I have trickled back on the "social media juice," I have learned a few things. 

I have sorta ended my Social Media Fast.  I say sorta because I have established a few rules to better use the ol' social media in hopes that I do not let it consume too much of my time.  There is much I have observed and many lessons learned during my fast.  Here are a few that top my observations-lessons learned list:
  • We, not just teenagers, are way too involved with social media.  I really don't believe I have to unpack my observation.  Seriously, I can track several of my "friends" days from breakfast, lunch, supper,  date nights and love life (I know--ew) by reading their facebook and/or twitter updates.  My fast brought to light how many times I have often missed a present, never to be repeated moment because I had to tweet and post the event out to the world.  Or, I am missing a present, never to be repeated moment because I am responding to a tweet or post from someone else's life.
  • People really did not miss my presence on social media & I lost NO FRIENDS during my fast (Actually, I may have deepened a few of my friendships during this period of time because I had to old school text, talk on the phone and have face to face conversations). Hard truth, people are not waiting to hear and see what I have to post.  "What?"  "I love your posts Dave!"  "They inspire me!"  I am grateful that many of you like to read the material I post.  However, I am certain you found other inspiring material to read while I was away.  Point, we should not take our cyber presence so serious.  Hard fact, their will always be someone to take our place in the ocean of social media.
  • I am a much better husband, dad and friend without social media participation.  Why?  I was removed from the comparison, competition, consumerism and corresponding drama often created by social media participation.  It is amazing how much better I relate to others when I only have my present reality and context to draw from.
Here are some rules I am putting in place to better use and not abuse social media.
  • Turn off Social Media alerts.   This allows me to check social media information when I want to and not respond (like Pavlov's dog) when I hear a "ding" or other notification sound.  Test, if you have ever reached for your phone when you heard a familiar "ding" or notification sound only to realize it was the person's phone next to you, you may want to turn off those alerts.
  • Turn off your social media when in the presence of spouse, family and friends.  Sure, pictures and videos are fun-capture those memories; but, wait to post!  DON'T loose the moment! 
  • Stop rationalizing and accept accountability. Someone will or has let you know when you are way too into social media. Listen to them and accept their correction.  My wonderful and wise wife has spoken this truth into me countless times and let me know that my social media consumption was out of control!  We all need to listen and respond to those who are trying to tell us something.  Oh, I have seen where fellow social media "junkies" tell other "junkies" to ignore the accountability and rationalize the over usage of social media-That's called co-dependence folks!
  • I will control social media and not let social media control me.  To be clear, social media is important and real social contact takes place in this location. So, I will continue to take periodic fasts from and control my participation in this powerful, cultural medium.  
I hope these few observations, lessons and rules help your social media consumption.  Now, stop reading and tweet and post this blog to the world.  Oh wait...let the present reality of this blog hit home and post later (when you are not around your spouse, family and friends). 


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