Monday, February 27, 2012

Love in the Time of Social Media (Part 1)


Social media reminds me of the fire-breathing dragon from Shrek. With new sites gaining popularity every day, social media oozes the intimidation factor…that is until you subdue it with your discipline and your wisdom. In other words, you bring your donkey. (Remember how the dragon became putty in Shrek’s hands as soon as the big purple scaly thing fell for the donkey?) 

(Those who haven’t seen Shrek are scratching their heads saying, “Where is she going with this one?”)

Keep reading. I promise I’ll lead you somewhere.

In this time of social media, knowledge, heck, information in general (doesn’t always fall in the category of knowledgeable) spreads like dragon-breathed fire. Because of this, a few things concerning love, your love, your passion become paramount in the process of discerning what to focus on and what to click away from.

What is it that excites you when you wake up? Are you a mom? A writer? A photographer? An abolitionist?  You love something. You’re passionate about something.

Because of social media you’ve found networks to connect with, people who share your passion. This is good. But like so many good things in life, social media has another side to its coin.

Today I’m going to explore the blessings and the curses of social media in our time. And how it impacts that calling, that love of yours.

Here’s something to ask yourself: Would you still feel as fervently about ________________ (your answer to the above) if every single social media site vanished tomorrow?

Take a moment to strip away all potential for online connection and you are left with ________________.
In other words, there must be something intrinsically valuable to you about what you love that no bad review, no shunning, no comparison trap, no unpredictable fluctuation in the market can take away.

We are wise to learn how to tap into the blessings of social media while not allowing ourselves to get tripped up by the curses.

Let’s do a little blessing/curse 101 review:

Blessings:
Social media has completely changed the way people interrelate and showcase their talents. Folks can interact with the potential to impact a worldwide audience. It’s convenient. It’s visual. Conversations are readily stirred to life.

Access to information has become fabulously available at our fingertips. Word of mouth and platform building are not only made possible through social media sites, but they are fueled by online exchange. Most of all, relationships can seed and develop in these venues.

Curses:
The true Flotsam & Jetsam spurned from social media are distraction and comparison. Your love has the potential to be knocked down and burnt down quicker than you can say dragon 1, human 0 when you aren’t careful with your time online.

Social media sites are often void of accountability, making it easier to evade depth and transparency.
It’s easy to become ensnared by a dangerous addiction to praise or an avoidance of criticism while navigating the murky waters of the web.

In the attempt to feed your passion by connecting with others, you may actually be starving it unaware. Online activity has a way of creating a false plumpness when the reality is your time spent actually mothering, writing, taking photos, or volunteering has dwindled down to that of a Slim Jim.

So, what’s the best way to bring your donkey when it comes to these blessings and curses? How do we remain wise and discerning in order to feed our love?

I think the following verses communicate the answer:

 “Do not neglect your gift.” 1 Timothy 4:14

“Live creatively, friends. Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 1a, 4-5 (Message) (thanks Wendy Lawton for pointing this verse out in a recent Books & Such blog post)

Remember to bring your donkey, folks!

*Warning: this post challenges you to live prayerfully, with discernment. It’s only for those open to growth.
**picture by stockXCHNG
***blogging rock star author celebrated on my FB writer page today

25 comments:

  1. Good stuff, Wendy. I love the simplicity of 1 Timothy 4:14.

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  2. "In the attempt to feed your passion by connecting with others, you may actually be starving it unaware."

    Totally true. As someone trying to jump into the world of novel writing, it's easy to think I'm progressing when all I'm really doing is reading other people's stories about their own writing.

    I love how social media has connected me with other writers. But you're right--the temptation is then to compare myself. Love those Galatians verses. May have to print and frame them!

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  3. Thanks so much for this post, Wendy! I've been doing a lot of (confused) thinking about social media lately. Thanks for clearing the cobwebs a bit! :)

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  4. I love this post, Wendy!! Very beautifully put!

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  5. There's such a fine balance between being active with social media, and giving too much to it, thus taking away from our creativity. I prefer to have the social media suffer, rather than my writing, and always choose in that favor.

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  6. Excellent.
    I've totally let my social media time go down. I can't be in it as deeply as others, and I'm happy that I've stopped trying.

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  7. Well said! I smiled all through the Shrek references. You're so clever! :)

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  8. Love your willingness to explore a topic creatively and with your wonderful outside-the-box way of seeing the world, Wendy. I've been doing a lot of thinking about social media recently. I can't do it all and be everywhere. Pinterest? Nope. I can barely keep up with what I'm doing, so I'm not going to add another (fun but potentally addicting, from what I hear) site to my list right now.

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  9. Thanks for having the courage to say what many of us think and feel. You always do that, Wendy.

    I have reached my SN saturation level--one more "they" tell me I MUST join, and I will barf.

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  10. Loving it, Wendy! Great insight, and those fill in the blank prompts are awesome. They made me evaluate somethings, and I appreciate that :)

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  11. Terrific post, Wendy!

    As my life gets busier and time frames decrease, I've had to back off of social media. I miss staying in touch with friends and reading their blogs. I haven't been blogging as much so I'm losing part of my audience. Baby steps to gain it back.

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  12. Social media is definitely a balancing act. It's a lot to keep up with so you need to choose what you love.

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  13. I never saw Shrek, but loved this post! And the picture made me smile big time. :) Very well said, my Friend.

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  14. Love this, Wendy. So true--sometimes in the attempt to feed it, we starve it instead.

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  15. Awesome post. Thank you for the great thoughts. So true

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  16. Oh wow, Wendy, I love this post. Especially what you said about the intrinsic value of what we love. So wise, my friend, so wise.

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  17. Right on, wise lady! Blessings and curses--they live there in social media side-by-side. I was surprised at how lonely it can feel at times, something I hadn't anticipated after the first year I'd been online.

    But then, the friendships I've made--big blessings!

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  18. Tee hee, I love the title for this post—and the post itself is very thought provoking & timely. "False plumpness" is a great way to describe the busyness of it all. I'll be mulling this one over today...

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  19. Appreciate your creative wisdom, my friend.

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  20. Katie, Yes, God has a nice succinct way of putting it, doesn't he?

    Lindsay, Those Gal. verses blew me away when I read them recently. Pumped me up and refocused me. Leave it the Bible to do that.

    Heidi, Oh you should see how crowded and confused things get up in my brain. Surprised any of these posts translate with any ounce of clarity. ;)

    Heather, Still laughing over the word fabulous used in your tweet. I've truly never attached that word to myself before (which is prob. a good thing).

    Joanne, If we must choose, I think you make a wise choice.

    Jennifer, I certainly believe seasons of life affect how much we can dive into it. As long as the understand is there that social media and networking doesn't equate to our success.

    Jessica, Thanks and I happen to be fond of the green guy.

    Keli, I made the same decision about Google+ (and now they've got all those catchy commercials). Oh well. I can only give so much of myself online. The rest I want to protect for writing, my family, my faith...(wow, that list goes on and on).

    Jeanette, I think it comes back to priorities and the integrity of sticking to what we're supposed to be doing. It's so hard. I know this from experience and I also know how much my feelings can be impacted by certain sites, online expressions. I've just decided we're mindful to be careful. Take risks, sure. But ultimately take care of our time.

    Cindy, They did the same for me. I pull this stuff straight from my own life questions and struggles.

    Lisa, You know what I'm thinking? I think those you connect with remember you. An impression is an impression. My hope is to make lasting ones--uplifting others and encouraging them.

    Patti, It is a lot to keep up with. Lots of choices involved in how we spend our time.

    Donna, Donkeys kind of crack me up. Especially after that movie. Thanks for the kind words.

    Jennifer, It sure gets tricky out there sometimes.

    Sheri, Yes, tricky. And thanks.

    Sarah, Thanks lady. Just stuff I'm turning over in my brain.

    Jill, You touched upon Part 2. I'm curious to read the comments on that one next week. It's amazing how you can feel so connected but lonely at times, isn't it?

    Barb, Music to my ears. Love causing others to mull.

    Beth, Thanks lady. Glad it comes across as wisdom. I'm certainly still learning it...over and over and over again. Sort of how I learn things.

    Grateful for your comments today. I had a blast writing this post. It must have something to do with Shrek (and the donkey). Oh, if you only knew how many times we say the word "donkey" just like they do in the movie around this house.

    Night.
    ~ Wendy

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  21. Love this. So true about the blessings and curses. I keep having to learn about the curses the hard way:)

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  22. There is so much out there, that sometimes it's overwhelming just thinking about getting on and wading through. I love the way to bring our donkeys. Great post!

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  23. I can see how we can get so caught up talking about writing or whatever floats our boat and neglect the actual doing.

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  24. Lovely, thought provoking post, Wendy. I particularly like your mention that "In the attempt to feed (our) passion by connecting with others, (we) may actually be starving it unaware." It is so important (for me) to find a way of being "behind" every choice I make. I have never understood the practice of automated tweets, for example -- seems to me to be missing the point. Twitter is exciting because you can meet virtually anyone, of any background, anywhere in the world -- you have access to people you would never otherwise have access to, should they choose to reply to or recognize you. Choosing when to tweet (and what to tweet about) is an active of flirting with the kismet, so to speak -- throwing it out there to see what comes back, or who you might cross paths with.

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  25. Thanks, Wendy for sharing this great big chunk of Truth!!! "Neglect not the gift that is in you" answers a thousand questions!!

    This is exactly the Northern Star many of us were needing!

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