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The brutal truth of me, without all the sugary coating.
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I talk about my family, my divorce, and a lot about MAKEUP.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Remember why we started this social media thing? I'm pretty sure it wasn't because we needed another place to argue with each other.


I'm twenty-nine years old, coming up on the big 30. This puts me in the unique position to have experiences before AND after the Internet.


I know. I'm old enough to still capitalize the word "Internet". (I'm also young enough to be alarmed by someone knocking on the front door without sending a facebook message or text first. I'm a strange child of both worlds.)

We got the Internet for the first time when I was thirteen years old. The year was (don't judge me) 1998. I know the struggle of the dial-up connection.

One of my favorite movies will always be "You've Got Mail".




I have lost connection mid-conversation because my brother picked up the phone.

My first boyfriend was a boy I had never seen in person, and NO ONE had ever heard of such a relationship before.

I have written LETTERS. On real paper, with real ink, sent in the mail box with a STAMP on the envelope.

My first "social media" site was AOL instant messaging. You could fill out a profile and search other profiles to find people who had similar interests as you. There was no expectation that you might already know each other, and most conversations started like this: "A/S/L?" I used to make up details about myself (my parents taught me about Internet safety). For a year or so I was a 17-year-old redhead actress from California. But that's another story entirely.

I was made for online socializing.

In real life I can be shy, and I frequently give off the wrong impression. I just have one of those faces that gives off the impression I HATE YOU AND WANT YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY LINE TO BE DESTROYED, when really I'm thinking something like, "I like sandwiches. Sandwiches are so nice."

Online, however, I can't put anyone off with my face before I speak. I can start a friendly conversation without anyone thinking I want to kill their family. It's quite pleasant.

When I discovered MySpace.com, I was in heaven. Not only could I talk without my face getting in the way, but I could find people I knew personally. I found people I'd lost contact with and reconnected instantly!

I could even decorate my page and personalize it with things about me. I could make adorable slideshows for people to watch of my husband and kids. I could keep in contact with the outside world, even though I was trapped in Stay-At-Home-Mom life! I could keep my friends updated while I was living in the middle of NO WHERE, Kansas.

There was even a blogging feature, where I could express myself and people could leave comments and support. When I was lonely and missing home, I could post a song or a blog entry, and feel connected to home again. After a few months, I learned a little bit of coding and PhotoShop, and I started designing MySpace layouts. I got really, really good at it, and had begun filling requests from other people, right about the time facebook came along.

Stupid facebook had no way to personalize your page except to change your profile picture. BO-RING.

That's never going to take off. Wait... guys? Where are you all going? What do you mean you're over on facebook now? But MySpace is so much better! I'll make you a layout! Look at my pretty slideshow! Come baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

Facebook won. Not only did everyone move over there and leave MySpace behind as a deserted ghost town, but everybody's mom and sister and grandma joined, too. People didn't even have to write their Grandma a separate email anymore.

There was no going back. What good is a social media site if no one is there to talk to? I thought for sure we would replace facebook by now. I was just SURE it was a big mistake and everyone would get over it, or at the very least there would be a way to customize it with a layout. Surely people will get bored just writing a status and "liking" a bunch of others. I admit I'm kinda like the guy who said "the Internet is just a fad; it will never take off". I had no faith in it, but here we are. We are all addicted to it, and if you don't have it, you are WAY out of the loop.

The truth is that we crave attention, all of us. We crave the connection. Even now that we are flooded with and drowning in attention, we still want more. There are hundreds, thousands of articles written on how to increase your social engagement, because we are looking for more attention, more audience, more reach.

Studies have been done now which prove this constant "connection" is not really connection at all, and is actually bringing us down. I don't doubt this. I find a lot of times when I post something I think will be motivational, I'm actually just causing an argument between two people who would never otherwise even encounter each other. Not only are they now interacting, but they are saying things they would NEVER say in person.

I can't even remember what I did with my days before blogging, facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. What did I fill my days with? Did I talk to anyone? Was I making real phone calls? What did I think about first thing in the morning, when I couldn't read everyone's thoughts from the last 8 hours on my facebook timeline with my morning coffee?

I can't recall.

I can't forget, though, the exhilarating feeling of being able to REACH people from far away. I will never forget how much love I felt when someone would comment "We miss you since you moved away" after we moved to Kansas, or, "I understand. Having babies at home is really hard. You're doing great!" when I felt I was the only one who had ever scrubbed the floors after only 2 and a half hours of sleep. The loneliness that lifted when I discovered the blogging community revived me when I was feeling too alone to continue.

Didn't we get into this social media thing to feel closer to each other? Maybe I misunderstood its purpose, or just had a different reason for joining than everyone else did, but I just simply cannot understand why people use this incredible resource to tear each other down. Surely we have enough of that already?

Our family members make comments that hurt our feelings.
Our kids bicker and wear us out.
The lady at the grocery store makes a judgmental comment.
We accidentally cut off another car in traffic and the guy flips us off.
Our toddlers say we're fat like Santa.

There are a million negative things that come our way every day. Surely we could manage to not take out our frustration on each other? Just because we disagree, isn't it possible to just "like" or not "like" and keep scrolling? Why is the fact that they stated an opinion enough of a reason to attack someone?

I have never, and imagine I will never change my opinion about someone based on their opinions expressed on facebook.

Sure, I have limits. I will block someone on Twitter for making a rape joke (because if they think this is funny, they are in my opinion not to be trusted), and I will un-friend someone who is disrespectful to me directly.

I can't imagine, however, destroying real relationships based on political viewpoints or religious beliefs. I've never held my friends or family to the impossible standard of agreeing with me on every subject in person; I'm certainly not going to start making decisions based on that now.


4 comments:

  1. I freaking love you for this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love the last sentence of this post. Love the entire thing, but that last sentence is just so dead on with how I feel. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Manda! Love you, can't wait to see you! <3

      Delete

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