Monday, September 21, 2015

The Future of This Blog

Maybe you've noticed. Good chance is you haven't noticed. Ha! I've been sharing much less of my life here on the old blog. Posts have been fewer and farther between.
I can't really speak to what the future of this blog is right now. I'm going to be taking a hiatus (which I kind of have already been taking) to think about things.
I've been feeling like I want to step back a bit from the social media world, and this "modern" society we live in. Both for my own protection, and for the protection of my family. Also for my sanity.
I've had a Facebook account for ten years. It has its benefits, of course. Some of those are:
Being able to stay in touch with those loved ones who don't live near to us.
Seeing photos of our friends' children.
Learning who's just found out they're expecting.
Yes, there are benefits. But in my own life, the negative vibe far outweighs any benefit.

Social media is toxic.
I'm aware that the statement I'm about to make is bold, to say the least. But we all know boldness hasn't stopped me before. :)

Social media has made my generation the most tragic generation in history.
Here's why I feel that way:
We're distracted to the point of being dangerous.
Texting and driving is illegal, but we know very well it's still done all the time. We can't wait 15 minutes to check that text message we heard come in.

I'm scared to go for walks or jogs, let alone take the kids on bike rides. I don't know who's driving down the street that is paying more attention to their phone than they are the road, who's going to plow right into me.

We can't spell or use proper grammar. Either that, or we're too lazy to put forth the effort.
I cringe when I read texts, Facebook statuses, or comments on articles. Not always for what they say, but the giant failures I see at their attempt to say it. My grammar isn't always perfect, I admit. But it's painful to read (or try to read) the things people want to say. Mis-spellings of very common words, not a punctuation mark to be found, and terrible grammar. Oh, it hurts.
We are very self-centered, and assume everyone cares a lot much about what we post.
We waited 76 minutes at the doctor office. We're sharing our 4th selfie.....before lunch. We share 13 angles of back-to-school photos.

It's awesome to love yourself and to love your family. But we find it extremely hard to accept that not everyone loves to see us, or what we post.
We're "bullies."
(I hate that word, by the way.) We would never walk up to someone and call them an ignorant idiot to their face, simply because their opinion differs from our own. But it's nothing to call people names like that, and ones much worse, in the comment thread of a news article.
Besides being bullies, we're very judgemental.
We read an article, posted by a news source that is obviously on one side of the political spectrum or the other, where details are often skewed and/or left out. We come down VERY hard on the people in the news stories, without having the proper facts. We are very quick to call people terrible parents, horrible people, stupid people, bigots, etc. But the truth is that we weren't directly involved in the situations about which we read, and we truly have no idea how things really went down. We (should) know by now that stories aren't reported correctly. Depending on your new source of choice, facts about the situation are mis-reported, under-reported, or ignored completely.
Speaking of facts....
We take everything as fact.
Facebook is going to start charging a fee.
Ants and dogs won't even touch aspartame, so it's poison.
Texas has started requiring drug tests to qualify for welfare. Share to show your support.
Celebrity X has passed away! Please pray!
Share this and JoeBob Schmoe will give you $5,000!
It only takes a moment to ask the googles for assistance in verifying whether or not something is true before sharing it. More often than not, a very bored teenager created this "fact," in an attempt to see how viral it could go, and we're sharing complete nonsense.
We don't know what intimacy means anymore.
I'm not referring to sex. I'm referring to something that's shared with only a select few people. (And I'm referring to "shared" as something having been experienced. Not hit a re-post button on social media.) It's special, it's not shared with the world. Just you and your loved ones.

Laughing with your family and/or a group of close friends about something your child said or did is an amazing feeling full of warmth and love. Sitting with friends around a campfire or a table and laughing about your crazy shenanigans from 10 years ago....such a special feeling. That's not the case when it's shared with your 497 Facebook friends. In fact, it might cause stress or anxiety if you don't get "enough" likes quickly enough.
Which brings me to my next point.
We feel inadequate in the shadow of "perfection."
It's really easy to hop onto Instagram and immediately feel like a failure. One of your friends got a new car, and you're still driving your car that's 9 model years old.
You get your work clothes at Goodwill because they're much more affordable and no one has ever known they're second hand. But your neighbor's aunt's best friend is showing off her new Michael Kors bag.
Your cousin is posting about how blessed she is to be these babies' momma and her life has never been better in all of her 30-something years. You've snapped at your kids 4 times today and you're currently not speaking to your spouse while you chisel dried cereal out of yesterday's breakfast dishes.
As a result, we're in debt up to our eyeballs.
See previous point. We get a brand new $35,000 truck so we feel adequate in today's consumer society, drive it a few years, then feel the need to get a newer one.

We feel the need to spend $1,000 per child to send them back to school in their Under Armor outfits, and do extra-curricular activities (which are not all bad, don't mis-quote me here), and buy them all the toys we think they need, and tablets, and phones, and 8 pairs of shoes.....all name brand of course.

As someone who is currently clawing her way out of credit card debt, I fully realize how crazy it all is. We no longer think of how much money something is actually going to cost us, but rather how much the monthly payment is, and whether or not we can fit it into our budgets for that month. We don't think long term about money.

The only way we experience things is through the lens of a camera.
Been to the zoo? To the playground with your kids? Anywhere? In the age of camera-phones and photo-sharing platforms, we're so desperate to get the perfect shot that we stop our children from running, playing, and having a good time, and we spend the most beautiful sunrise or sunset taking 84 photos of it, then trying to put the perfect filter on it so it looks even "better." My opinion is that it's more beautiful when experienced with your eyes and soul than any filter can make it.

A study was done and showed that by taking pictures of everything, we're actually hindering our ability to remember those events, times, places, etc.
We don't hold conversations anymore, let alone smile at strangers.
Stood in a line anywhere lately? Tried to speak to someone you don't know out in public?
Not only do people not acknowledge anyone else around them, they'll often become annoyed at someone else's attempt at conversation, or even a simple hello. It's sad.

The other day, someone I know shared a photo of her 3 young children "on a lunch date." All three of them sat across the table from her.....staring at tablets. And she was obviously on her phone taking a picture of them. I'm imagining being another patron of that restaurant, looking over at that scene. I don't see a mom enjoying time with her children. I see a tragedy.

They could have been practicing reading or math. They could have been drawing or coloring magical creations while they awaited their food. They could have been talking about the magical dragon world those kids created that morning. They could have been talking about......anything. But they weren't even talking.
Every molehill becomes a mountain.
(Always searching for our 15 minutes of social media fame.)
We got bad service at a restaurant? We no longer approach the manager and respectfully resolve the problem. Instead, we post about it on facebook and see how many shares it can get so that we can damage the reputation of an entire restaurant because one of the servers was having a rough day.
Someone at McDonald's messed up our order? Instead of going back inside and politely asking them to correct it - which they'll do, I assure you, we rant about it on facebook and make someone feel like they're stupid and unworthy as an employee because they made a simple mistake on 1 of their 846 orders they took that day.

A few women (who really have no importance in the grand scheme of things) made foolish comments about nurses. While this was uncalled for and I have a great respect for nurses, people have been up in arms about the comments, have blown it out of proportion, and have started a "movement," all because of viral social media.

I know some people are thinking it - I was one of these people who went viral almost two years ago based on a piece I wrote about modern parenting. So who am I to be talking down on all these things now?
The beautiful thing about the passage of time is that we can learn. We can step back, look at something from varying perspectives, and learn from our experiences. I still back every opinion I wrote in that post almost two years ago that landed Hendrix and I in New York City. But if I were to do it over again, I probably would have worded it a bit differently to show more respect for people who *don't* feel the same way. Because those people and their opinions are no worse than me and mine.

We're more divided than ever as a nation.
Racism has always existed. Obviously - look at the history of this country. But as we all know, it's flared back up with a vengeance. I think it's normal for these things to happen, but I believe 100% that social media has made it worse.

News outlets post a biased story, people comment with rude and nasty statements, and emotions flare. Fights break out in the comment threads of just about every article shared. The same thing happens with politics, parenting, morality issues, you name it.

Our "fighting" from our keyboards, paired with heavily biased new "reporting" has this country in a divided, tragic, mess.

Social media is the biggest downfall of humanity in the last five years, in my opinion. I got my first smart phone (Blackberry Storm) at the end of 2008. I believe there was a Facebook Ap, but it hadn't taken us by storm yet at that point. That didn't really start happening until 2010, as I can remember it. It's gotten worse and worse with the passing years. It's made us more anti-social, selfish, and angry than ever. 

So with all of that said, I'm going to be stepping back. This is my personal choice - what everyone else does on social media is their choice and I'm not saying my way is right and/or your way is wrong.

I can't change what society has become, but I can change myself, and encourage those close to me to do the same.
I might be back, I might not. At this point in time, I can't make that call.

If you're interested in having my phone number or email to keep in touch, please send me a message and I'd be happy to share that information with those I know personally.

Whether I continue blogging or not, thank you to all of you who have shown me support over the years on my blog. I hope to catch up with you someday soon - over coffee! Not a Facebook message!

Take care, and God bless!

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