Dear friends and neighbors, I’m taking this time to inform you that I have recently contracted a severe, contagious social media disease. Both my status updates and tweets are elevated, but since my contact lists are small, there’s very little chance you’ll catch it from me.
Of course, this may be “Greek” to you, but to me, it’s serious. I can’t seem to get anything done without feeling the need to tell a large group of strangers what I’m doing, even though most of them aren’t listening to me in the first place.
It all started with Facebook, the Number One Social Media site on the Internet. At first I inoculated myself against its advances, scorning the thought of accepting “friendships” from strangers and people from my past whom I’d just as soon forget. But then one day, when I wasn’t paying attention, I stood too close to a Facebook-infected computer, and that was that. Now I’ve got more friends than one person is ever supposed to have, but not a single one of them will take me out for coffee or let me use their camper over a three-day weekend.
Nowadays, I spend most of my time sharing my life with those Facebook friends, checking to see if they liked what I shared, commenting back on what they decided to comment on, and getting totally depressed when there are no comments for me to comment on about the comments I sent out to begin with.
It’s just a vicious cycle. And knowing it’s a vicious cycle, you’d think I’d want to cure myself from it – but I can’t. I’ve got the sickness, and nobody’s come up with a 12-step program to fight the disease. Not only that, but I recently got waylaid with a nasty bout of Twitter.
One year ago today (or maybe it was yesterday, I’m not sure), one year ago thereabouts, I loathed everything there was to loath about Twitter, the Number Three Social Media site on the Internet. How could anyone express their thoughts in 140 characters or less, and more importantly, why would they want to? To me, it was the return of The Black Plague, manifested in electronic form. “Oh, no! They’ve got Twitter! Quarantine the neighborhood. Don’t let it spread. Hang it by its neck until it is dead, dead, dead.”
Now I do the Twitter thing more than I do the Facebook thing. And it IS a thing – a thing that takes up time, energy, thought, creativity, and the chance to get something really accomplished, like taking out the trash or mowing the yard (which I really don’t want to do, so maybe this Twitter thing has its advantages).
To make matters worse, I’m into daily blogging, I’ve contracted Flickr, I cry when my internet is down, and when my stats aren’t up, I’m depressed. I’ve been able to resist MySpace and Squidoo so far, but I’m looking into LinkedIn and Delicious, and my Google Reader is full of more articles than I’ll ever be able to read in a lifetime – which makes me feel like a total social media misfit.
I really should get outside and do some fishing. Breathe in some fresh air, listen to the gulls as they fly overhead, land a respectable trout and fry it for supper. But the thought of leaving my digital self in the house, totally unplugged and unconnected, is a bit too scary for me to comprehend right now.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I hope to be an example for you. I hope that you’ll learn from my mistakes and not let this happen to your children or grandchildren.
When your children and grandchildren are young, they’ll be happy to use just crayons and markers, making pictures of happy houses, with happy families, and happy dogs sitting on happy front porches, wagging their happy little tails. But once your little babies learn to tap on a QWERTY keyboard, it’s all over for them – and for you.
Let me be blunt: Email and texting are gateway “drugs” to the more “hard core” social media scene. Confront your children. Take away their phones. Make them write letters and play dominoes. Be a parent, do what’s right, take them out to fly a kite!
As for me, the damage is already done and irreversible. So, if you’ll pardon me, I must immediately post this to my blog, upload it to Facebook, and Tweet about it in the hopes of getting a bodacious amount of views. Have a great day, and don’t forget to leave a comment!