30-Day Writing Challenge – Five Problems with Social Media

30daychallenge

It took less than thirty seconds for me to think of the first problem with social media…the chunk of time it takes up. I find it so hard to carve out the time to tackle social media tasks and usually end up posting bleary-eyed late at night, and it’s just not working. I woke up this morning to a message from my friend, Scott, with a link to an article recommending the best time to post on social media to get the most likes. It was very interesting, full of lots of tech talk and algorithms and completely convinced me, as Scott pointed out, that I’m posting way too late in the day. 

I wrote back that I’d be taking part in the 30-Day Writing Challenge starting today and swore that I would post early in the day, rather than my usual midnight to wee hours of the morning posting time. Guess what – it’s 11:15 and I’m first writing this. It is just so hard, especially in the summer with two of my three children home during the day, to carve out the time to blog, post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and on and on. I know that I need to look at it as part of my job and schedule it. If I do this, perhaps at some point finding the time to partake in it won’t be one of my problems with social media.

Other problems are less specific to me and more general. In fact, I asked my teenage son what he thinks some problems with social media are. He answered, “People obsess over likes and followers.” So true. If someone unlikes my Facebook author page or unfollows me on Twitter, I worry that perhaps I’m not posting interesting enough content or simply not posting enough. I try to figure out why someone would unlike my author page and what to do in the future to retain my fans. It’s not really a huge issue, though. I only lose a fan every once in a while. It’s not like I’m bleeding fans every day. And yet, it still bothers me, which leads me to problem number three…

Social media can wreck your self-confidence. There are a myriad of ways social media can wreak havoc with your sense of self-worth. One way is the envy you feel when seeing the amazing life your friends (cyber or real-life) are leading. So many posts with photos of palm tree perfection, shiny new purchases or perfect homes that don’t look like the scene in a thriller when the main character comes home to find his or her home ransacked (like mine often does). It’s so easy to dissolve into a puddle of envy. You must remember that just because a life looks perfect on your screen, it doesn’t mean that it is perfect. All social media sites simply present a public persona. All those envy-provoking posts may be just a facade – fun to look at and dream about, but nothing more, providing a segue into problem number four…

Social media offers way too may opportunities to waste time. Take this essay, I started it almost two hours ago and I’m still not done. It’s not long. It’s certainly not complicated. I should have been done an hour ago, but I  ended up sucked into an interesting tidbit here and there. It was only a post or two this time, but it’s so easy to keep clicking around. (That and I passed out cold on the couch several times while attempting to finish this.)

The last problem with social media is endemic to our society, but it is not my problem in particular. People are mean. Plain and simple. So many people are “keyboard cowboys.” They post from behind a cloak of anonymity and say things they would never say to someone’s face. Civility has suffered a huge blow with the rise of social media. In fact, it often seems as if civility has simply disappeared. If people don’t like the way a person looks in an Instagram photo, too often the poster will know this quickly from all the cruel comments that pile up. What happened to “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” The world would be a much better place, and social media would have one less problem if everyone remembered this…

Now, if I could just find some time to tackle all those social media tasks, I’d have one less problem, as well…

 

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