Monday, June 10, 2013

Caught in the Social Net.

Social Networking. It isn't new. It didn't start with MySpace and Facebook. I remember in my late teens spending countless hours on my computer. At night time of course, couldn't tie up the phone lines or my mom would get mad at me! I started my digital social life on Prodigy and Compuserv. At that time, I was a number. You couldn't even have a cool handle. It started with a 6, that is all I remember. I was very socially awkward in school, didn't have a lot of friends, timid, shy, scared and not capable of holding a conversation. But when I dialed in online, I had lots of friends. I was such a nerd! And there began the two faced world of social media, in my life. 

I don't have any photos from the 90's of myself, except these two I found on Facebook. I haven't tackled the enormous task of scanning, just yet. Waiting until the kids go to college, and I retire before I start....

my niece Chelsea and I in 1995

my dad and I in 1995

Online I was able to be myself, talk, and make friends. No, I wasn't pretending to be a Swedish swimsuit model. My inhibitions were lowered and I was able just to be normal and not hyper shy! Some teens chose to drink to accomplish this, I chose a computer. 
I met some neat people. Exchanged photos via snail mail. You weren't able to upload photos or have profiles or personal pages unless you were a super computer nerd and could build your own website.
I eventually progressed to AOL which was way more advanced! I got involved in a group of Aerosmith fans via message boards and chat rooms. Many of which I am still good friends with today. I met most all of them at various concerts and visits. Some were exactly as imagined, some not so much and some exceeded my imagination! 
the only photo I have quick access too for blog purposes, of me and some of my online Aerosmith friends. This was at the Verbooty Ball in Boston MA, New years Eve 1997/98. I believe this photo was taken at Mama Kin club right before the concert. Oh what a night that was. Oh what stories I have.

It was a fun time. I know it sounds stupid but I really came out of my shell during those years. I learned how to communicate and conversate and make friends, in real life too. Wouldn't trade those years for anything!!!
By the time Facebook came around, I felt like a social media veteran. I know that what you see online is only what that person wants you to see. I know that there is always more to what you see, read or interpret for yourself.
But so many people today, don't realize this!!!
I have had a few conversations lately with some close friends and family that really made me want to talk about this. You see, they think my life is perfectly happy at all times because of what they see on Facebook.
Why? Because I only post happy positive stuff. Why? Because who wants to read the other crap? There is too much negative in the REAL world, online worlds are where we go to get away. I have a pretty simple rule of no bitching or whining online. I save that for my face to face time with my girlfriends. Because like everyone else, I have plenty to bitch and whine about. I wish everyone had this rule. Some people need a therapist, and don't need to post on FaceBook.
But here is the problem. Perspective is reality for most people while cruising their newsfeed. I have been guilty of this too. Say you are having a bad day, you jump on Facebook and you see all these "my life is great and my kids are perfect" posts. It tends to hit you hard if you are in the wrong mental state. There have been a few Sunday's where it seems every single person was posting about either going on a boat or at a swimming pool. I spent most of the summer being jealous and trying to talk my husband into buying a boat. It didn't work.
You can bet anytime I did make it to the pool, there was a post about it followed by a picture which now makes it look like I spent every summer day by the pool.
My point is, no matter what you see online....every person still has their ups and downs, no one is happy all the time, and no ones life is perfect.

So, is it ok to only post the good stuff? Yes, I personally think so. You just have to be a responsible reader and realize that the ultimate happy family has their problems too. And you absolutely cannot judge your life against what others are posting. It isn't apples to apples and you will always end on the losing side of the comparison.
Would you stand in the middle of Target and scream "I just got in a fight with my husband, and my kids are driving me crazy!!!". No, you wouldn't. Posting a similar fb post is essentially the same thing.
However, would you pass an old high school friend at Target smile and nod and maybe exchange a few words such as "doing good, how are you? How are the kids?" and go on about everyone's great accomplishments.  Yes, you would.

On top of Facebook we now have Pinterest. It can be your best friend and your worst enemy.
Best friend in the sense that you can find and save the best ideas, recipes, projects and more!
Worst enemy in the sense that it can make you feel like an unorganized, uncreative, slob, in two seconds flat.
But, once again you are only going to see good positive things posted!! Actually, here are some pinterest fails that I find absolutely hilarious. I just looked at the slideshow again, and laughed out loud again.
Am I going to pin the picture of my tv cabinet that is closed with duct tape. Not even cute duct take but ugly gray duct tape? Nope! But I would pin the picture of the cute laundry sign I made (mine soooo did not turn out like this, it would qualify for the Pinterest fails article)

Am I going to pin a picture of the crappy fast food I fed my family 3 nights last week because I had a meltdown and let stress get to me? Hell no! I am pinning a picture of the delicious Mexican chicken casserole I actually got to cook one day, like two months ago.
(I make this using my recipe for salsa minus corn and beans since it's in the casserole recipe and it is uhmazzzzzing. The leftovers make excellent quesadilla filler too!).  This is one Pin I did not fail, I WON!

So that's it. That's my rant. No clever ending to this blog. Bottom line. ... don't take social media too seriously! It's all for fun and making connections.