By Robin Edwards
Kenda recently posted a link to an article on Forbes Magazine by contributor J. Maureen Henderson, titles ‘3 Reasons You Should Quit Social Media In 2013′ and asked me what my thoughts were on the subject. My first thought was “that’s crazy talk” and my second thought was “might not be such a bad thing”. I answered Kenda’s question by stating that there are arguments to both sides of it, and like most things, it’s rather difficult to make a broad, sweeping judgement that claims everyone would be better off WITHOUT social media in their lives.
Henderson says in her piece that “the less time I’ve spent working on my online brand, the more offline opportunities have come my way.” And while I applaud her commitment to removing social media from her life, I can’t say that the same would apply for me. For example, Henderson says that she has more time for the gym, which is great, but is social media solely to blame for that? Some people watch eleven gazillion different reality shows, which account for their own personal time-suck. Some people read libraries full of books. Some people chat on the phone for hours and hours. It’s how and where you spend your time that makes a difference. But most of this is accessible on the web as well, you can pretty much download any content you want! If even if it’s censored, you can use tools like Pirates Bay proxies to help you so there is no limit to the wonders of the internet. Social media and the internet itself provide all these opportunities and more so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it is used by so many, so regularly.
I admit that if I spent less time on Twitter that I probably would have more time for other things. But I would likely just be replacing one thing for another. I may switch to watching every season of Mad Men, or reading all those Fifty Shades of Gray books that pretty much every single woman I know raves about. To me, Twitter is a distraction from the day-to-day, and the benefits that I have reaped from being on it far outweigh the time that could be perceived as ‘wasted’ by it. What have I gained the most from Twitter? First of all, a peek outside the world I live in. The suburban stay-at-home mom bubble was starting to become a little claustrophobic. There’s a big world outside of school council and pizza lunch duty, and to be honest, it’s a hell of a lot more exciting. That world led me to meet some incredible people, and I am thankful on a daily basis for the wonderful new friends that I have met solely through Twitter.
I’d like to think that there aren’t many people that I follow on Twitter that I wouldn’t be friends with in the real world. With the exception of a few celebs such as Lady Gaga, and that’s only because I’m realistic – I totally think we would get along, and Adam Levine for the hot factor. But I refuse to follow consistently negative people or people who follow me that I have less than zero in common with. And if you are following thousands of people and scrolling through your Twitter feed takes up massive amounts of time, you need to learn how to filter things by using lists. Henderson is right when she says “social media a [sic] hotbed of bad behavior” and “if you find yourself getting unduly irritated…it may be time to take a timeout.” I would just advise to a) not follow the kind of people who would annoy you and b) turn it off when it does.
Designer Sarah Gunn recently tweeted that she owed a lot of her recent successes to Twitter. ” I reluctantly joined twitter as a stay at home mom, looking to make connections and get support from other moms online. Soon, though, I developed meaningful friendships and took some of these new friendships offline. The genuine connections I made with online friends led to everything that I do today. From my blog at the Yummy Mummy Club, to segments on Cityline, to working as an interior stylist, I can honestly say that twitter has been a major factor in achieving my dreams.”
Like all good things, everything should be taken in moderation. Henderson says that “online is no substitute for offline”, which is wholly true, but it can also be a great addition. The key to integrating social media in your life and making it work for you is balance. Simple as that.
Robin Edwards – Life is meant to be enjoyed. Family and friends, food and fun. That’s what matters most.