using social media to bless my life

This morning I found myself annoyed with someone on Facebook. Again. And again I wondered why on earth I spend any time in that place. I have limited its negative effects as much as I can: I have only a handful of "friends", for example. I have unfollowed people whose opinions are too radically opposed to mine, and I have even unfollowed people whose friends tend to say things I find offensive.

I know most people think I'm harsh to do that, as if I have some kind of obligation to put up with yuckiness out of loyalty to "friendship" with a person I don't actually know and never speak to outside of Facebook. But increasingly over the years I have tried to use social media as a tool for my life, one which inspires, encourages, supports, and blesses me as I labour (long and hard!) towards becoming the best person I can be.


Weblog reading used to be my main source of internet connection. It is less so now, simply because there are fewer weblogs available of the kind I like to read. Also, I find that my reading list is increasingly separating into three categories: the weblogs which are so popular there's not much point me leaving a comment or wanting to connect with the author ... the weblogs where comments never get answered or reciprocated, so I don't really bother any more ... and the weblogs where I feel I have a connection with the author to some degree. I'm discovering that I still read the first category, because those weblogs are usually businesses, like Soule Mama, and so produce captivating material most of the time, and because I don't expect anything from them except that material. I'm reading fewer of the second category, because what's the point? And I remain devoted to those in the third category. Through web journalling I have met real friends, true kindred spirits whom I'd otherwise never have known because of our geographical distance. That is the greatest blessing of social media, and every day I am grateful for it. Interestingly, many of my dearest friends don't have weblogs at all, and yet our relationship is internet based.

Twitter is my link place. I rarely visit, except to leave a link for a blogpost (and Greenpeace tweets) or to scan a little while for random links which might interest me. I have been told to use it for marketing, but I've never found it to be worthwhile.

Pinterest is the social media site I spend most time at these days - although partly that's because it takes quite a while to source original links for all the pictures! I am a profoundly visual thinker and so pinterest is ideal as a source of inspiration and support. I have only been able to make it work for me by creating a personal rule that nothing gets onto my public pinboards without an original source link, and by ruthlessly culling any boards I follow which start to pin images I dislike. I don't automatically follow back, I don't pin for popularity. Pinterest is teaching me about the strength and discipline needed to maintain real personal integrity within the wider world.

Facebook is my bugbear. I need to be connected so I can get family news, but my own personality - not being able to swallow down my opinions - as well as the fact that I'm not just dealing with "friends" but with all their friends too, means that I really can't control the environment. And I honestly don't see why the internet should be like the real world. It's not the real world. It's a tool we can use as we choose for our lives. I choose to use it as a blessing. Facebook does not bless me.

Mainly these days I use the internet in the way I did at the beginning : for study. It's invaluable in homeschooling, and also in satisfying my own endless passion for history. Social media is no longer the heart of the web for me, as it was for many years. I will always be grateful for those beautiful years of comradeship and community. I will always be grateful for my friends, and for what social media continues to offer me. But I'm no longer seeing it as an integral part of my real life. It's a blessing, but one which I manage carefully for my own boon, rather than feeling I need to struggle with the negative aspects too. Now if only I could get certain distant family members to email more often, I could quit Facebook and be truly content!

How do you view social media in your life?

20 comments:

  1. I used to read a lot of weblogs when Google had their reader. For the past few years I didn't read any until I found an RSS reader for my iPad. I've started back again. I'm like you, I don't use Twitter except to leave a blog link. It's just not the same as it was a few years ago. FaceBook I keep because of the family connection. I'm still fairly active in Google Plus but it too has changed over the years. I can't say any of them have me spellbound.

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  2. I don't use Twitter. I don't like FB, but it is a good way to keep in touch. I may not like someone's opinion, but I don't feel the need to disagree most times. I figure what's the point. I'm not going to change anyone's mind. Most of the time these days, I heart photos on Pinterest, unless I pinned it from the source.

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  3. I cannot tell you, Sarah, how many times my mobile device has eaten my comments that I eventually gave up corresponding via your blog despite my firmly held belief that you must be a ghost of my imagination. Even now, this is my 4th attempt to comment now via my desktop.

    It's the plight of the digital age. There are infinite connections available at our fingertips that still, we slip through the cracks.

    You may not use Twitter much, but it's how I stumbled upon you originally and I am ever so thank ful.

    Keep writing, and I will keep reading. :)

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    1. You are the second person today who has told me their comment disappeared :-( I am so sorry! I wonder if it is a problem specific to Blogger, or to this particular comment form format, and if I can somehow change it.

      I'm glad to know twitter worked in your case :-) I also found you that way, and am so pleased I did.

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    2. I think it's a blogger thing, at least in my case. Blogger doesn't like me signing in to comment with anything other than my gmail account and does all kinds of funky things, especially on mobile.

      But as long as I'm at a desktop (not often anymore these days), it's fine.

      And thank you. :) I'm pleased too.

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  4. This is one topic I could write a whole novel on! In fact, I have thought about these same ideas a lot lately, especially since moving away from friends and family and their constant pleas for me to join facebook. There's so many things I don't like about facebook that I guarantee I'll never join it. I don't want to be in a never-ending circle of "friends" of "friends" of "friends" who I don't know. I don't want to hear or see some of the business that people post on their pages.

    and Twitter, honestly, I'm not quite sure what it really is, or what the purpose is.

    Blogs though....I do consider them to be an integral part of my life. Not an overly huge part, but the blogs I read satisfy different needs. Blogging certainly has changed over the years and I find myself constantly going through my list, deciding if I should let some go and hoping by luck, or fate, that I will find a new one to take it's place. I categorize my list almost exactly as you referenced above. My favorite, definitely, are the ones where I feel a connection with the author, whatever that connection may be. I follow cooking blogs because I love to read about farmer's markets in the French countryside and a knitting blog because I find it interesting how yarn is dyed....as examples. There's an infinite number of blogs out there, and I figure like with anything else in my life, I owe it to myself to be surrounded by things and people that inspire me, teach me, guide me....bless me. I have met some very wonderful and special people through blogging and value those friendships. Some of them know more about me than my own family.
    One thing, however, that I don't like about blogging is the "followers," just like the "friends" on facebook. I don't understand that feature or why it's even displayed. Why must we see who likes who and how many people are following you...

    So, long story short....I mainly use the internet to learn. I take the good and leave the bad and hopefully connect with a few special people in between.

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    1. Oh thank you for mentioning "Followers"! Why oh why oh why is the "Followers" thing, necessary????? Why oh why do some bloggers obsess over it????? Of what possible use is it???

      Does anyone really think, that since a person signed up to "Follow" your blog, that they are still around??? Because of this????

      Do the bloggers with 357 "Followers" get 300 Comments a day???

      -shaking head- I-do-not-understand-"Followers"!!!

      Thank you for saying this! :-)

      And of course, I am copying this, in your blog comments. I do not expect you to come back here, and find my comment here. :-)

      Tessa~
      "Here there be musing" blog

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    2. Typical high school popularity kind of stuff, I think. Everyone wants to be liked :-)

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  5. Social media is a way of connecting with family -- since I have none here in Sweden, where I live. And of course, I love connecting with so many people via my blog and theirs. My philosophy is that I control my social media and not the other way around. I enjoy Facebook and make conscious efforts to be a positive force out there. I'm quite good at weeding out negative forces so, for me, my news feeds are generally very positive and supportive.

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  6. I am way too sensitive for Facebook. I find it lacks any kind of honesty as well. I am old fashioned in my thinking that it is not polite to brag, or argue, and that friends cannot be made by hitting a button. I think that I am simplifying my internet experience more and more these days. I love pinterest, as it is like pouring over hundreds of magazines, and I love blogging and reading blogs,and I always have. These are the only social media sites that I find interesting. As for the comment disappearing problem, I noticed that even if you are signed into Google, you must also sign into your blog before you are able to comment. Unfortunately Blogger doesn't warn you of this and allows you to write a long comment and then, as soon as you hit "publish" it is deleted. Maybe this is what is happening?

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  7. I blog, but utilize no other platform. I love being able to share and communicate via my blog. I love being able to comment on the blogs I read .... I appreciate the conversation :-) I would miss the internet quite badly, given that I am primarily homebound. That would be a hardship for sure. But I don't feel drawn to the plethora of social media .... Nt to join it myself I mean.

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  8. PS writing comments on blogger on the 'same page' format is very difficult, via the iPad (which is the only device I can use). I have to try a few times to get it to work. So it's hard to comment here, is all. I'm saying :-) Would love to comment more often, but you would have to alter the commenting page to blogger's separate page option. Don't know if you want to do that and it's your choice of course! Only wanted to mention :-)

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    1. I wondered about that. I love the same page format so much, it's clean and minimalist ... but I do suspect it involves more problems than the old separate page option.

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  9. I prefer the longer form of blogging. And although I've been (shamefacedly) tardy in responding to comments on my own blog lately, I share your sentiments about this.

    I left FB - don't really miss it, it just means I have one less easy procrastinator at hand because I never wrote anything. One person has noticed and contacted me!! Just shows the true value. I don't Tweet either, I can't say things in 140 characters and it's not a format for dialogue at all. I might like Instagram being such a picture nerd, but I'm too cheap to get a fancy phone and pay for internet on it. I'd never use it on the go and I have a computer, so... Heck, I don't even text if I can help it!

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  10. I tried other things, like Twitter, etc. But they didn't last long. Don't do Facebook. Just blogging, actually.

    Posting my blog... Reading/commenting in blogs I enjoy... Reading blogs of interest, which do not require a comment...

    Guess I'm very specific. Basically blogging.

    Happily, I am older and can treat this computer-life, as I choose. Not really needing much from it. Other than a bit of contact... An outlet for my own need to write. And to share beauty, by posting fine Art... And as a place to show my own photos, which I love to take.

    Hope that answers your question.

    Gentle hugs,
    Tessa~
    "Here there be musing" blog

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  11. Thank you everyone for your comments! I wish I had time today to go through and separately reply to each of them! If you could see the speed with which I'm typing now ... or trying to type, lol. I'm making more mistakes than I would have if I went at a calmer pace! I really appreciate you joining me in this conversation. It always interests me how, whenever I blog about blogging, alot of people are drawn in. Fascinating subject, really it is.

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  12. so many interesting thoughts about our internet community. thoughts and experience that each of us can relate to in one way or another, or all. I also am saddened that emails don't happen more often or phone calls. FB for me is not a place i will share my personal life on. Though i do share my arts and they are very intimate.

    i feel thankful to have met you here and to get to know you through what you share with us. You have added to my life.

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  13. I appreciate all of these thoughts...they help my own musings on this subject. I am wrangling in my heart and mind with the whole subject, especially when it gets woven in with our online creative businesses.

    Blogs are still and always my favorite places to be online...but I must say that Instagram is a rather lovely place. I don't have a smartphone, but do have an ipod touch and so can post when our wifi is working. It's so small and simple and contained.

    I am longing for the next installment of your book, Sarah. xo

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    1. Oh thank you, I am so glad you like it.

      I wish I had a smartphone only so I could use Instagram. But it's not worth buying one just for that - and I know they are super-cheap, but really it's not necessary, and I feel in my case it would be just another distraction. Yesterday, I walked home from the store hugging a cherished old book that I was intending to read, but I got caught up in daydreaming instead. If I had a smartphone, perhaps I would have been taking pictures for other people to heart, instead of holding a whole world (inside a battered book) and dreaming of another.

      But that's just me. I certainly spend enough time on other screens!

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  14. Excellent blog, Congrats to the Web Master, nice colors and text.
    Thanks for sharing your knowledge. God bless you.

    Apricot Marmalade Recipe

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!!!! Greetings from Venezuela.

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