We are a product of our times

Social media in 2012 is like the air we breathe. From the moment we wake up, after shutting off the alarm, maybe after we check missed calls or text messages or somewhere in between, we MUST check our updates on whichever app has the little red notification bubble.. for iPhone users anyway. Or, maybe you’re like me and have a special folder for all of my social media apps. We become obsessed with our “smart phones” and must update, post, tweet, check messages, take a picture any chance we can.

From the days of livejournal, friendster, blogspot, photobucket, black planet and asian avenue… to facebook and twitter.  If you were/are on any of those, you are from my generation of social media. The web came quickly to make our lives easier, to complicate things, to distract us, to give us more resources, to connect with the world, to disconnect from real life. Every form of technology has its advantages and shortcomings, but how many of us realize this and truly take it into consideration?

With google at our fingertips its unnecessary to go into a library and look up the answer to our questions. This saves us time, but does it make us lazy as well? And who is willing to admit it? Through the years I’ve found many advantages of the internet and social media for things like school, business, marketing, community organizing, spreading the word, keeping in touch with friends and more. Its easier to get the word out on a virtual network. Creating a Facebook invitation is cheaper and can reach many more people than sending out an invitation by mail.  The disadvantage is that internet invites lose communication richness, which is another discussion. At times I have been torn because I was confused as to how such a great tool could also become such a huge disadvantage in life.

The internet makes it easier to lie, plagiarize, steal identity, show stupidity, bully, threaten, talk shit and express other inappropriate behavior. Anyone can get behind a computer screen and type away no matter how vulgar, offensive, disgusting or stupid it is.  I’m aware that all this exists off line as well, but that doesn’t mean I want to see it on my networks! So I decided to clean up. Followed, unfollowed, deleted, blocked… it is necessary to do so every once in a while. I went from following gossip columns to unfollowing them and filling my timeline with my favorite authors and motivational speakers.

But even with the routine maintenance, I found myself quite addicted to not only the internet but my phone in general… and I hate it. It holds true that we are in fact a product of our times, and this is what our times consist of: technology galore! Its time we all start taking responsibility online.

Be aware of your audience (the world).
Know that you are constantly branding yourself, even when you’re not.
Stop putting ALL your business online.
Its a good thing to have a filter once in a while.
Know that everything online is PERMANENT.
Learn proper spelling and grammar.
Teach our kids the benefits of the internet, warn them about the disadvantages.
Stop creeping on your ex’s profile.
Take a break! Deactivate for a few days… recharge!
Avoid confrontation through any form of text. Look that person in the face!

The list goes on… but ultimately, lets all be mindful of ourselves and our relationship to technology. Let’s make the best use of everything that has been given to us. I’m able to say this because I’m learning myself.  A lot of this seems like common sense, but its easy to get lost in the overwhelming online social network. I’ve built my online identity to reflect the person I am as far as posting relevant events, positive updates, music and other things that interest me. But I’m also guilty of feeding into negativity, profile stalking, outbursts, threatening and having online “beef.” If any of you readers remember any of those moments, I’ll buy you a drink and we can laugh about it.

While we are on the subject, for a little while, you won’t find me on any of my favorite platforms but feel free to check on me here, e-mail, call or HEY that face to face thing is fun too. 😉

Check out this post I got the photo above from http://www.businessesgrow.com/2012/04/19/yes-you-can-be-addicted-to-social-media/

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