Thursday, January 7, 2016

Anti-Social....To Be Social

For those of you who read my last post, you know that I only made one New Year's resolution this year. That single resolution was "to do a better job of tracking, developing and accomplishing my personal and professional goals." After putting all my goals in writing to better track them, the first "major" step I took was to give the axe to a couple of my social media accounts: Twitter and Facebook

Twitter was the easy one. Truth be told, I never really knew what I was doing on Twitter in the first place. I found scrolling through the feed completely annoying and pretty much worthless as far as I was concerned. I have to admit that I didn't exactly do a stellar job of growing my list of followers or those that I it's mostly my own fault. As a blogger, it was hard not to attempt to use it for its outstanding ability to grow your reader base. As in completely inadequate user of Twitter, it didn't do me any good and it was just one more social media account to take me away from more important things.

Facebook was a little different story. Sure I had an average jester Facebook page, but I have found that I have far more readers through my email following, the RSS feed and apparently by bookmarking and/or random searches. The harder part was that I also chose to drop my personal Facebook page at the same time. It really wouldn't have helped me attain one of my personal goals if I only scrapped the average jester Facebook page and kept my personal Facebook page.

MINOR UPDATE: I have since reactivated the average jester FB page, but have remained offline with the personal FB page. I figured it was the best of both worlds in that I could stay off a personal page and enjoy real-life human contact instead, but still share posts to those who prefer to follow via Facebook.

Why did I do it?
The biggest reason for my "drastic" cutting of the social media cord was that it was making me less social. Funny right? What started out, and is supposedly intended to be a social network, turned out to make us less social. Now, I don't blame anyone for using social media or think that everyone who does is necessarily lacking in social skills, but it wasn't helping ME. It's too easy to go from day to day with limited actual contact and conversation because I had a constant feed telling me what everyone was up to at all times.

It began to annoy me the number of times while I was having a real conversation with someone and the phrase "I saw you said/did that on Facebook." Sure, the conversation usually expanded on the topic, but where's the fun of sharing big news with someone in person when you've already blasted it out to the world? It's like calling your family to tell them your baby was born, but there have already been a dozen photos posted of the new baby on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like.

Another reason I chose to cut the cord, and probably the one that made it pretty easy, was that I was getting sick of all the garbage that showed up in my news feeds. If it's not the selection of "suggested posts" that have nothing to do with any of my interests, then it's the bickering and fighting that seems to show up in every comment feed. It just got irritating and I found myself getting mad about stupid stuff that I couldn't control anyway.

As far as time management (think family time), I found myself turning into one of those people who has their nose stuck in their phone catching up on news anytime there's a 15 second pause in activity around me. In reality, it's probably a more effective use of my time to watch the coffee maker brew a pot of coffee for me.

What benefits do I expect?
First and foremost, I expect to enjoy more valuable time with my family and friends. I would rather be coloring a Mickey Mouse picture with my girls than scrolling through my phone. I'd rather be talking to my friends when we're together than talking about funny or interesting things we're seeing on our news feed while we're supposedly visiting with each other.

I really think it will help my stress level as well. If you don't know what I mean, read a few comments on pretty much any post on the Facebook page of the news outlet of your choice. Face it. There are a lot of angry, intolerant and down right stupid people out there. Or is it their? Or they're? (Sorry...extremely basic grammar is greatly abused these days....and that's coming from me. And you know how bad my grammar and punctuation is.)

I am also really looking forward to spending more of my reading and/or internet time doing something more productive that might actually help me develop myself in both my personal and professional lives. It dawned on me the other day that it's been weeks (maybe months) since I read a book that wasn't required reading for personal education. I used to read a book a week. I admit Netflix has a little bit to do with that, but I have not prepared myself properly for any change to my Netflix habit.

How will it impact me?
Dropping Facebook and Twitter probably isn't the first choice your typical blogger would make, but I'm not too concerned about it. I blog because I like rambling on about nonsense - not because I am looking to it as an additional income source. Don't get me wrong. I would love to be able to make money blogging, but it wasn't my initial intent and was never the "thing that kept me writing." I'll deal with a slower growth in my reader base if it means more quality time with family and friends.

I'm not going so far as to cut off my use of the internet, or even ALL social media, so it's not quite as drastic as it sounds. I'm obviously still writing a blog and managing my webpage. I also kept my Google+ account. That is in part because Google ties just about everything I do together anyway. It's also because I'm one of those people who actually like Google+. I use it primarily as a way to follow a number of fellow bloggers. I suppose I could better utilize my Feedly app for that, but Google+ is doing it good enough for my needs. I also enjoy not being blasted with adds all over my Google+ feed.

The only possibly negative impact I foresee is missing out on breaking news from family and friends since our world has shifted over to using social media as an easy way to share that. Good news for me though....everyone else on the planet seems to still have their noses in their phones checking in on Facebook and Twitter for me. I'm hoping at least one of them will tell me when something big happens.

I'm not judging
If I hadn't made it clear already, I wanted to point out that I am not against social media like Facebook and Twitter. I just happened to mention them because they are the two I dropped this week. They are fine platforms with a phenomenal ability to share, update and bring people together. It's the people's fault when it gets rude or annoying. In my case, it's my fault that I let it distract me from doing something more productive.

I'll let you go for now. This has turned into a rather long rant today. That just reaffirms my decision to cut the cord because I can see even more clearly now how passionate I am about making a change when it comes to my social media usage. Don't worry though, you are still welcome to share this post, and any other average jester post, across every social media outlet you may use. I wouldn't even hold it against you for sharing all the average jester posts on all your news feeds. Happy scrolling. Have a great day! Until next time....