Social media, over-sharing and over-stimulating ~ except when it’s not stimulating enough!

I have just got too much going on lately. Let’s face it actually, we all have too much going on! When my co-blogger Jim LaPierre posted his essay in Get A Life, I never planned on taking two months to respond but life happens and even the good things are often overwheming enough to throw us off track. The thing that is often so hard about responding to Jim’s blogs is that we agree on almost everything, and we do about this also! (It would be way more fun if we could get into a nice heated discussion now and again, but nope, that almost never happens).

So here is my response. Social media is both good and bad, just like almost every other single thing in life! There that was easy wasn’t it!

The trick here, like in everything, is balance. We can’t let it monopolize our time. I truly believe that one of the reasons we are all so anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed nowadays is because we are always plugged in, 24/7. We have instant access to news, good and bad, around the clock. We are available to our employers, children, parents and partners every single second of every single day. We almost never go anyplace without our phones, our tablets or our laptops. This is unhealthy, physically and emotionally but I am just as guilty as everyone of doing it!

In truth, I actually LOVE most of the opportunites we have to connect via social media! I love that I can know what all my friends are doing on a daily basis. There is no reason for any of us to ever lose touch. I love that I can keep track of every single art opening, or concert or when the next PechaKucha is happening. Without my Facebook event calendar, I’d miss most of these events! In fact, without Facebook I probably never would have bothered finding out what PechaKucha even is! I love that I can catch up once in awhile with friends from my childhood and that I can see pictures of their grandchildren. I love opening up my computer in the morning and finding a new picture of the great niece I’ve never met, or pictures of the latest adventures and travels of my adult children!

Just like in real life we have those virtual friends we treasure, those who share pearls of wisdom and support whenever needed. We have those virtual friends who make us laugh, out loud and often. Then we have those virtual friends who over-share, who talk about their intimate medical procedures and every detail of their latest romantic relationship. At least online we have the option of “hiding” those folks whenever necessary, not always an option in real life!

That being said, I can really only focus on so much of it. I have a Twitter account, but can’t really get into it, mostly because I’m just too wordy for Twitter! I have no need at the moment to be LinkedIn but can see that if I am ever looking for a new job that might be useful! I can never invision a time when I might need Google+! Like everything else in our lives, social media is good in moderation. In fact, in moderation, its wonderful, it can help build new friendships and enhance the ones we already have. However, we can’t let it take over and we can’t let it replace real, honest to goodness, in person relationships!

Lots of people also seem to conduct romances over the internet. Now as over-stimulating as too much information can be, online relationships are just not stimulating enough, at least not in all the right ways. Sorry, I need real life contact! And not just for THAT people, I mean for all the reasons in person is better; body language, tone of voice, eye contact! You have to do this over a good meal or on a long walk along the river. You have to do this while strolling downtown, holding hands. You just can’t do this online, no matter how good your internet connection is!

So this is why its taken me two months to respond to Jim’s blog. It turns out working 50 hours a week, finishing a degree, having a family, trying to have a social life, trying to have a dating life and writing two blogs is just a little too much! Whew! Something has to give! So, I’m going to continue writing Postcards, but am working on helping Jim find another partner to help him with Get A Life. Maybe I’ll be able to find someone he can argue with. He loves that!

In the meantime, I’ll still be on Facebook, probably way more than I should be, because I adore all you people! But if I don’t respond now and again it means I’ve turned off my phone and just might be having a real life, personal, conversation with someone!

Karen Foley

About Karen Foley

Karen Foley, has successfully been writing her blog for the BDN since May 2011. By successful, she means a few people read it, and she has not been sued, stalked or fired since starting it.