This one’s for our young readers. Do we have any young readers?
The optimist in me would like to think we still have some young eyes perusing through our pages. The realist in me hopes that upon reading this a mature reader encourages a young person to give it a look.
Young people, you have choices; that’s what I came to realize most recently as I found myself feeling a sort of “information overload” via Social Media.
For the purpose of this piece I’ll be more specific, as the feeling came to me one evening as I looked in on Facebook. All the “shares,” opinions, politics and the like quickly began to hit me in a negative way. As I scrolled down the page, I noticed the feelings getting deeper.
Suddenly I felt myself going to another space, a space which I consciously choose to try and avoid. I was drifting to a place of judgement. Before things worsened I logged off and took a personal inventory.
Social media is a great distractor from real life … That’s not new news for any of us. As I stared at my laptop, my duo now in bed, me alone on my couch I thought about this unhealthy relationship I had with this forum.
I’m all about being honest and unashamed, so in that vein I’ll simply share no matter how much I try I get sucked into the page of the wild, wonderful, often unreal, world of Facebook.
So last Tuesday night, I deactivated my account. I chose to take a break. I chose to accept that simply saying I’m going to take a break without such action doesn’t work. Some are more disciplined and don’t need to go to such measures, I’m not that person.
As I did this, I thought of my own children, neither of which have social accounts – yet. Oh sure, one tried to sneak an account and got “busted” – welcome to parenting/teen life. The other assured me a few years back, they didn’t feel they were “that interesting” and had no desire to share photos of food and the like.
There’s a lot to be learned from that second child, the “uninteresting” comment fascinated, as well as humbled me the most.
The past few years, I’ve learned a thing or two about living in real time. I used to be a master of it. A time in my life not tied to my smart phone checking e-mails, answering texts, catching phone calls and posting updates.
Then like a lot of other people I got sucked into the social media world. If one’s not careful it can and will become addicting and that’s where we’re at. Fortunately the past two years of talking to friends both in person as well as on the phone (yes I use it) has been wonderful. Human connection … There’s nothing like it.
So to the young readers, you don’t have to have connection to people via social media to have a full life. You don’t have to know what someone ate or where they went after school to have a full life. You don’t need 1100 “friends” to be hip or cool or whatever trendy word that’s currently en vogue.
And yes, I know there’s a large cross section of you that don’t post to social media yet follow and check it constantly – it’s not different than the person posting. Get out there and make real connection with the real people you like and enjoy spending real life time with regardless of what they eat for dinner. Whatever you should decide remember it’s your choice and a social media presence isn’t what creates true character, it’s who you are when in the company of others that determines that.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.