Hi everyone and Happy May Day! It’s the start of a fresh new month filled with new writing possibilities! May has always been one of my favorite months because there are so many exciting things happening. My birthday is in exactly one week (yes, it’s Mother’s Day), the second draft of my novel, God Granted Me Hearing is almost complete, and there are several other projects in the works for me right now, some of which I currently have to stay mum on but I’ll discuss when the time is right.
For now, I’d like to kick off the month by doing a 30-day writing challenge I found posted on Facebook. Here’s the challenge for anyone else who is interested:
Image Credits: The Writer’s Circle
As you can see, the first prompt is to write about 5 problems with social media. This is a little bit of a challenge for me since I make a living off of social media. However, while I love working with social media, even I am not immune to the fact that social media comes with several problems and drawbacks, too. Here are 5 problems with social media.
- It’s making us anti-social. It’s so easy to “like” things on Facebook and to comment on someone’s post or send them a message. When we have a screen separating us from people, we feel like we have protection and that makes us fearless. But what happens when we take away the screen? We lose our communication skills. Communicating online isn’t the same as communicating in real life. We as a society have gotten so good at communicating on social media that we forgot how to talk to each other in person. When we are alone with a group of our “friends” we often don’t know what to say, so we pull out our cell phones and talk to each other on Facebook or Twitter or send photos on SnapChat or Instagram instead. It’s pretty sad and well, depressing, which brings me to my next point…
- It depresses us. Thanks to social media, we are constantly made aware of what is going on in everyone else’s lives. We don’t really know these people or what their story really is. We probably don’t even ever talk to them. But we see the things that they post. We see the picture of their new expensive designer handbag. We hear about their new home, job promotion, new car. We see their engagement announcements and baby announcements. These are such happy, exciting times for those people, so why aren’t we happy for them? We are depressed instead of happy because rather than being happy for these people, we are forced to compare ourselves with them. We look at their lives and see how they compare to our own. Are we happy in love? Are we engaged or married and/or expecting a baby? Are we making the same amount of money? Are we as happy and successful as they are? While these people are often not on the same level as us (often times they are actually below us), we aren’t capable of seeing it that way. We only focus on what they have that we don’t have and then we devalue our own feelings of self worth and become depressed. Before social media, we didn’t have the ability to know so much about the people in our lives. We were happier before social media.
3. It distorts the truth. On social media it is so easy to connect with anyone from any place in the world. This also means it is easy to become anyone in the world. How would anyone know? That random person you met online could actually be a terrorist. That 25 year old might be 55. The 18 year old could be 12. You don’t always know what’s true and what’s not.
I learned this lesson the hard way. When I was in my early 20s, I met a man online through my work with Bit Rebels. He was in his early 30s. He was everything I ever wanted in a man and I loved him very much. He lived in Florida and I lived in NJ, which naturally posed some challenges for our relationship, but I did end up getting to meet him in person once when he came to NJ for a few days. We had a great time together. He really was the 32 year old Puerto Rican man from Florida that he said he was. However, personality and personal life wise, there were many things he hid from me. He was a con artist. He met many different women over the years just like me and he made himself the person that woman wanted. Then he would come home and break up with them and go on to the next one. He was also a failed businessman that has gone bankrupt multiple times and been fired from many jobs over the years. I never quite found out the truth about him, but I did learn a very important lesson; you can’t trust anyone online. No one is what they appear to be.
4. It is being taken over by businesses.When is the last time you used social media without seeing a post or advertisement from a business? I can’t remember the last time I did. Even back in the last days of MySpace, businesses were starting to realize that if they wanted to reach people, they needed to be active on social media.
I must admit I feel kind of guilty writing about this because I am part of the problem. I work in marketing and I market to people online such as through social media. I am fortunate and blessed that social media has had such a huge role in marketing because without it, I may not have a job. But at the same time, sometimes all of that marketing and all of those ads from businesses on social media gets really annoying and I yearn for the days when social media didn’t exist and I couldn’t be as easily marketed to.
5. It’s highly addictive.I will be the first one to admit that I am highly addicted to social media. It’s so easy to become addicted because it’s always there. I have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest LinkedIn, and SnapChat all installed on my smart phone. My phone is constantly going off with notifications about someone on social media. I can and have on multiple occasions wasted an entire day doing nothing more than posting on Facebook. That’s no way of living life.
I am getting much better with my social media addiction though. I realized there is more to life than social media and so much more that I want to do. I always say I don’t do things I enjoy because I don’t have time for them. Actually, that’s not always true. The truth is that I don’t do things I enjoy because I waste all of my time on social media.
For the past couple of weeks I have been really limiting myself to how much time I spend on social media (with the exception of work related usage). Instead of constantly being on social media, when I’m not at work I try to abide by the following schedule: Read a chapter or two of a book, read the latest industry-relevant news posted on LinkedIn or Twitter (in this case social media is different, I’m not using it recreationally but for my career), color a picture (I love to color in adult coloring books – it relaxes me), read your bible, pray, clean the house, go for a walk or go to the gym, edit your book, write a blog post, watch TV.By the time I get all of these things done (It’s very rare that I have time in the day to do ALL of them), I don’t have time to waste on social media, and I’m more than okay with that. I have been much more productive as of late and I’ve also been much happier.