In Defense of Social Media

I think I am addicted to social media. Specifically Facebook and Instagram.

Like most addictions, I feel guilty about this. But I don’t believe there’s any point in feeling guilty about anything. Either you do it and you own it, or you stop.

This is me owning it.

In the morning when I wake up and turn on my phone, I check social media before I check my email. I don’t do this every morning, but I do it every morning that I can.

When I actually have time to work, I interrupt myself to check Facebook.

When I actually have time read, I interrupt the pages to check Instagram.

Usually, I spend more time on social media than I want to.

Why do I check it so often?

Because I love climbing into other people’s minds, seeing glimpses of the world through their eyes. Maybe I’m bored or uncentered or lacking focus. Maybe what I’m trying to write or read is hard and I’d rather be distracted than face the demons. Maybe it’s resistance. Maybe I’m hiding beneath social media, hiding from my work and my responsibilities and everything else that’s actually important.

Or maybe that’s not it.

I’m a work-at-home mother. I don’t get a lot of adult interaction aside from school pick-ups, the occasional play date or girlfriend date, and husband-wife time when we’re not too exhausted from the wildness of the parenting wilderness.

Social media helps that wilderness become a community. It closes the gaps. It makes us neighbors, even when we live on opposite sides of this polychromatic planet. Today a friend secured a walker for her baby via Facebook. (Why buy when you can borrow?) Another Facebook friend with a sick child in the hospital appears to have found many prayers and much comfort via Facebook. This weekend a friend from college got engaged and a friend from high school had her baby. Because of social media I get to see my sorority sisters in their wedding dresses. I get to share articles and conversations with like-minded people. I get to stay in touch with distant family members and watch old friends’ kids grow up. I get advice and support and love on Facebook.

As for Instagram. I love it more than Facebook though I find it serves a much different purpose. Instagram is simpler. Instagram is about life as it happens, and because you need a photo to share a thought, more thought goes into every post. Instagram lets you create and share your creation immediately. This platform encourages creativity while delivering inspiration curated by you. And because there’s no algorithm (yet?) to the posts you see, you’re always on the cutting edge of the universe. You’re watching history as it unfolds.

I joined Facebook in 2004. And I’ve been on Instagram for over 3 years. I’ve grown up alongside this technology. Even when I know I’m spending way too much time stalking my tribe, roaming the streets of my teeny tiny virtual city, engaging in other people’s lives while neglecting my own; I still don’t consider quitting. Never, not even for a moment.

I am not willing to give up the communication, the information, and yes, the validation. I love my Facebook friends and I admire my Instagram feed. Perhaps I don’t need quite as much information as I collect, or perhaps I do. Perhaps mining for data on social media helps me to understand the human experience, bringing increased awareness and compassion and maybe (just maybe!) better writing.

I may be stuck in my own world of writing words and raising kids, but I do have social media as a portal (albeit limited) into the rest of the world.

I’ll take what I can get.

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10 thoughts on “In Defense of Social Media

  1. I wrote a post very similar to this recently. I agree completely!! Social media is addicting, however, it can be a saving grace sometimes when you’re in the thick of it and need someone or something to relate to. And as much as I love my kids… sometimes I yearn for adult interaction throughout the day!

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    1. Yep! My littles are my everything…and yet they aren’t everything. And we can’t expect them to be everything. I really believe that we are less isolated because of social media. But then AGAIN, the counter argument would be that we’re less motivated to, say, go knock on a neighbor’s door when we’re alone and desperate for company. However I am not the type to go knock on people’s doors…

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    1. Yes! Sometimes when I’m “trolling” on social media without commenting or replying (not because i don’t want to but because i might forget or get lazy), I have to remind myself: CONNECT! I’m on here to CONNECT!

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  2. love this post. I am a fan of social media for all the reasons you mentioned, the connections that I am able to keep with long distance family and friends are priceless. And the reality is, I just can’t do phone calls with any satisfaction at this season of my life. Wayyyyy toooo much going on in the background, always! But a quick note here and there keeps me connected. It’s so great for those of us who don’t get out as often as we may like. I get to see my family go through their day and basically “do life” with them as though we lived next door. The one draw back of social media in my opinion, is the ones that aren’t really there to share life with you, but to bully you, making assumptions about those that are sharing life with one another…ranting endlessly. But in any case, thank goodness you can just take someone out of your newsfeed without hurting anyone’s feelings (like the old saying, never cut what you can untie). I posted a post today about facing the reality of me not being able to just stop and start writing when the groove hits, how so many thoughts never make it to the screen….and least yet. Sigh. I love your reference to the parenting wilderness….isn’t it though? have a great week!

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    1. Oh yes phone calls are so hard. Almost every time I try for them they end up stressing me out because I usually have to ignore the person I’m talking to at regular intervals to keep the children in line. It’s so hard to divide your attention like that. Unless it’s my sister and then it’s a whole lot easier! haha. Not only do I get to keep up with family members through FB, but I’ve gotten to know distant family members through it! Namely my mama’s cousins. Pretty cool stuff.

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  3. I have a love/hate relationship with social media. It used be mostly hate, but now it’s mostly love. I love that it connects us, as you say, that it gives us reason to remember that we are not alone in this thing called life. I hate that it’s addicting and can take up so much of my time. I hate that I often use it as a distraction to not do the things I really need to do. But other than those things, those problems, I do love it at this moment in my life.

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    1. You just said it. That’s been exactly my problem with it. It’s addicting, it can take up so much of my time (oops), and I use it as a distraction to not do the things I really need to do. Oh why oh why. The best things are often the worst for us when we do them in excess. I know I personally have to whip that self-control back into place…constantly.

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