Thursday, June 02, 2011

The "Hidden" Cost Of Abandoning Social Media

Back in August I got off A month later I also left I still have to leave several other social media sites, but I rarely used them and don't believe they are as abusive to me as was.

I am saddened today by receiving an "invitation" to join from a local friend. It was shown in my email as a "bulk" item; meaning it could have gone out to every name on my friend's contact list. I had a sick feeling inside as I pondered my friend innocently leaping into a world where she can easily become a victim of several "bad things" which can happen on the internet.

I emailed her privately and explained my refusal to re-involve myself with social media. To date I've heard nothing from her. I miss out on all those fun pictures and snippets of life she will share with (potentially) everyone. It is a lonely place to be.

However, when I was actively involved in social media, I noticed a serious disconnect. There was a vast sense of "surface" and "fluff" communication. Twitter is only 120 characters per message and the problem became very blatant over time.

I noticed a heightened sense of frustration as I tried to more deeply connect with people. No one has time for that any more. They are off to a conference, or a second job or (God forbid) they have to leave cyberspace to go home and relate to the real human beings in their family.

I have difficulty connecting with people. This is not news to me. I realize that cyberspace is no solution to feeling isolated. As the Bible so rightly advises "If you want friends; show yourself friendly" Busy business people aren't interested in me. I occasionally blog something of interest to that group, but usually, not so much.

I am concentrating on the friends I have at church. I take small steps in trust and have been rewarded with actual shared communication and time.

But, there is that "pull" to follow the crowd and "join in." I refuse this impulse because greed wins out. To re-connect with all those wonderful things on facebook makes my entire life and identity the property of anyone with money (advertisers) or time (stalkers, spammers etc.) I find myself away from the crowd, either "one step ahead, or behind" I don't know at this point. This willlingness to not follow the pack is one trait in a leader.

I accept this position, but am a little surprised to find myself here.

June 2, 2011 addition.

Several friends have left the madness. One woman, who made it quite clear she was married and only interested in friendship got driven off from some low-class men inquiring about dating her! (This is a woman who is openly dedicated to church life and I'm amazed she got that kind of communication.

The more I hear about violations of privacy on social media, the more thankful I am that I got out. I'm getting involved with a religious website. I'll find out in short order how trustworthy they are by the email I may or may not receive.