Monday, April 4, 2011

Social Media Monster

When I was in high school, I had a MySpace page (okay, I still do, but I don't remember the last time I checked it). I frequently got into arguments over the most petty things. Then I started reading blogs and had similar arguments there. Stupid.

I've always been opinionated. This isn't something I've ever tried to hide. But when I go back and see the things I said and the arguments I was a part of, it's no wonder people found me so irritating. I didn't have anything better to do, but wanted to feel involved in something. Feeling involved and being involved are two very different things. Being petty online is in no way being involved. It took awhile for me to learn that.

I wrote for Brightest Young Things, then I started writing for VCU's student publications and then a few other blogs. I was writing before in all the petty comments I made, but I wasn't being constructive and I didn't have a focus. Of course, I was also unhappy and unhappy people tend to be a little nocuous. Finding a focus and realizing that someone could be entertained, or relate to my stupid life changed that.

All of that, the blogs, the "networking" sites, and now Twitter and Foursquare and Flickr, and everything else, all of that is Social Media. It's so weird that three years ago I didn't know the phrase, and now am involved with it all the time (maybe too much).

Most of my friends don't use Social Media beyond Facebook. They might have a blog, but most of them don't. To them Facebook is mostly about staying in touch with people they already know, stalking frenemies, and reconnecting (stalking) people they knew years ago. They are missing the point.

I admit, I do use Facebook mostly for personal relationships. The people I'm "friends" with there are people I know and see and plan on seeing again (or awkwardly running into), and more importantly, would be happy to see again. However, my blog and my Twitter (which I use as a microblog) are available for public consumption.

The things I post in public are meant to be shared. I believe that the internet, but specifically Social Media, allows for us to grow beyond our comfort zones and create larger, more supportive communities. It's not meant for hiding behind a screen to argue petty issues, it's about relating to others, whether through similar complaints, senses of humor, or concerns.

So when I complain about bad drivers, or make fun of people that are (in my opinion) badly dressed, or Sketchers, or Mormons, or hair, or any other thing around me, know that it's a superficial comment. I don't have a disregard for people that drive badly, I'm sure they're fine people, most of my friends are bad (i.e. slow) drivers. When I comment on someone's hair, it's only because I do hair for a living, and in my head I'm thinking of all the things I'd like to do to it. Because at the end of the day, I only notice because for some reason, I care about strangers and feel insignificant surrounded by so much that's bigger than myself.

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