I am once again participating in Sometimes Sweet’s weekly journal prompts, and this week the prompt is:
Do you use social media in your daily life? Do you think it adds to your relationships with others, or takes away from them? And furthermore, do you think social media adds more positive or negative to your life? Write about your relationship with social media, and talk a bit about how you got started, and what role it plays in your world.
I definitely have a love/hate relationship with social media. As with anything, it has its pros and cons and requires some balance. I couldn’t tell you exactly when my relationship with social media began, but it started with MySpace. Primarily I think I used it to connect with friends I already had, but I also met a number of new people on it as well. It’s actually the method Josh used to ask me out on our first date, so social media has worked out quite well for us, I think you could say. It was probably in 2008 when I made the switch to Facebook along with so many others, and it was again mainly to keep in touch with friends and family. While I’m not always a fan of Facebook, I appreciate how easy it is to connect with other people. I can keep my family up to date with pictures of our kids and do the same with my blog. It’s not always easy to pick up a phone (either due to lack of time or conflicting schedules), and with the click of a button I can quickly upload a picture or a video and reach everyone. I also love that I can see what my friends and family are up to, especially those I haven’t seen in a really long time.
Overall I’d say that social media in my life has been primarily positive, but I do see some negative effects as well. While it’s great to connect with other people, I find that it’s often hard to then disconnect. It’s all too easy to pick up the phone when at home, which is the time we should be spending together as a family rather than reading Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. Sometimes I don’t even think people realize they’re doing it, and in our house Josh and I are trying to be more conscious of this and putting down the phone more often in the evenings. The last thing I want is for our kids to think it’s normal to always walk around with a phone in your hand. When Josh and I were on our honeymoon we didn’t have smart phones, but were kind of shocked at how many people were on their phones while at dinner. One nearby couple was on their honeymoon as well, but both spent more time interacting with their phones then with each other. We swore that would never be us. Sure, we may post a quick picture if we’re out doing something fun, but what’s the point in going out together if you’re only going to spend the vast majority of the experience with people who aren’t even there.
I won’t bore you with all of my thoughts on social media and its effect on society since that would be more than anyone would want to read, and would veer off track from the original prompt. Instead I’ll conclude by saying that social media has great potential and can be used in extremely positive ways and is a very useful tool, but (and not to sound too extreme) it can also be a powerful weapon in the wrong hands. While my experience has been mostly good and I will continue using it, I also know that I need to watch it carefully and be aware of how others are using it, especially as our kids get older.