Why I like social media

Wait a minute… didn’t I write the internet has trapped us in perpetual adolescence? 

Yes, but let me explain why I also like the internet and social media.

Social media is detrimental when it makes us feel insecure and left out. When we judge our worth by the number of “likes” we get, then we are stuck in perpetual adolescence. How can we grow and thrive when we compare ourselves to the girl with 10,000 Twitter followers? And how can we develop our own voice when we’re being bombarded by manipulative adds and so called “opinion makers”?

If you step back from the desire for popularity, social media becomes a powerful tool for self expression and ideas. Look at the Arab Spring. So much of that movement was fueled by tweets. Facebook is filled with artists and writers who have fascinating things to say. There are thousands of blogs that share stories of hope, inspiration, creativity, and information. When social media is used as a way to express ideas and a place to connect with other people, it becomes beautiful.

I live in a rural community far from many of my closest friends. My child is medically fragile and deals with disabilities, so we are cut off from the typical activities most families get to do. Because of social media, I feel closer to my friends and I have met wonderful families all over the world who deal with the same issues my child copes with. There have been terrible nights when fear and sadness overwhelm me and I have reached out through Facebook for support. Even at midnight, there is always someone there to help. Loneliness is lessoned. I’m grateful for that.

Also, I met the newest Medusa’s Muse author, Shannon Drury, through blogging. We published a book together and are now marketing that book together, even though we’ve never actually met in person. Without social media, The Radical Housewife wouldn’t have been published.

That’s the key. Making and sustaining relationships. When the internet is used to connect people and ideas it’s magic. When it is used only to sell things and gain popularity, it’s noise.

That being said, it is awful nice when someone buys my books. Thank you.

How does the internet help you? What can we do to make social media empowering and less popularity driven?

The internet has trapped us all in perpetual adolescence

Can anyone really explain the point of all this online chatter? I know we are here sharing our thoughts and ideas, but to what end? To sell books? Show off? Share wisdom? Or are we all just shouting “look at me, look at me” over and over like a desperate teenager?

Lately, I’ve been questioning the need for social media. There is so much competition for “follows” and “likes” it makes me feel like I’m back in high school. I’m the dweeb in the back of the room (which is what I was at 15) desperately wishing I had what the cool kids had. What was the secret? Clothes? Money? Beauty? Here I am, all grown up and wondering why more people on Twitter don’t think I’m clever.

The internet has trapped us all in perpetual adolescence.

What’s the answer? To sell books, I need social media. How else will anyone discover my authors or my own writing? Without a big marketing budget I rely on word of mouth, especially internet word of mouth. But now we’re back to a popularity contest. The more followers I have, the more people hear about the books I publish through Medusa’s Muse. The more I talk about my classes, the more people sign up for them. I’m back to age 16 hoping someone asks me to the Spring dance.

With so much constant chatter I wonder if anyone pays attention to social media anymore.   Advertisers have discovered people ignore their pop up adds now because we’ve become immune to them. There are too many people trying to sell too much shit all the time.

What’s the answer? Is there any way to win this popularity contest?