Why I’m Glad I’m Not a Kid: Part Two

Both of them have their phones in hand, fingers gyrating madly, half-smiles on their lips. My old fingers aren’t so coordinated, and here lies another reason I’m glad not to be a kid these days.
Technology is great. I love it. Obviously, you’re reading this via the Internet on my website as a blog post.
When I was a kid, none of those things existed. Most of them weren’t even under consideration. Heck, I learned computer programming in Basic as a sophomore in high school. And computers were as big and clunky as a TV (well, the TVs of the 1980s).
But those kids in the opening paragraph? They’re texting each other while seated on opposite ends of the couch.
How do I know this? Because they’re MY kids. I watched them do it, and shook my head thinking:

What has the world come to that we have to send messages to a person five feet away in the same room?

Social Engagement In Person

Although my kids are big with texting and private messaging, they know how to talk to people in person. And I’ve always made them put the phone away during family dinners.
Well, I did when they were kids. They’re still pretty good about respecting this and boy do they give me a hard time if I have MY phone out while we’re at the table.
Usually I’m just checking in on Facebook because…it’s the thing to do. Right?
I’m an introvert, but I can totally engage with people in person and especially in small group settings. A family dinner generally falls into this category.
Many kids don’t know how to make eye contact when they’re talking. They might mumble or fidget. Like the physical connection makes them itch.
Is this what we’re teaching them by letting them only engage via text, chat and messaging?

Social Engagement Via Device

It was funny the first time one of my kids texted me when I was across the room. Ha, ha. *waves*
It’s not funny that so many kids prefer this to face-to-face interactions. How will they learn the rules for good communication if they never engage in it?
Or are we moving to a society where the closest we get to face-to-face is Facetime? That’s a disheartening thought because people need physical connections.
It took me years to get a Facebook account, and I finally did it only to build my author platform. (And I’m not sure how much it’s helped with that as opposed to distracted me from writing books, but that’s another post.) Now, the younger generation has moved on from that.


They’re into SnapChat or Instagram. They want to post pictures more than have a conversation.
It all sounds so superficial to me. Where are they making friends they can talk to about their issues?

Why I Would Hate It This Way

As an introvert, I could hole up in my office all day. If I chatted with some friends via Messenger, that would satisfy my need for conversation.
But I would still be lonely for human interaction.
And the social media brand of communication is pretty me-focused. Look at what I’m wearing. This is where I’m eating lunch. Check out the view from my vacation.
To prove my point about the self-centered bent of engagement on social media, the day I began writing this post was National Selfie Day.
Really? Because that should be a thing?
I’m terrible at taking selfies, and I have no desire to get better. The best photo of me is the one I don’t know you’re taking.
As an author, I live to write. And my words are meant to be read and enjoyed by other people. That means I can’t be self-focused or no one will want to read my stuff.
I avoid the guy (or gal) in the room who’s talking all about their latest and greatest whatever without any thought to care about anyone else’s. Ugh.
It’s not just the thumb action that makes me glad I’m not a kid in this tech-enhanced-communication era. I need human touch and connection, eye-to-eye so I can see that the person cares about me.
Do you think social media is playing havoc without our ability to interact face-to-face?

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When even begging fails

 

Begging Meme

I begged. Three people felt compelled listened. And I love each one of you with all my heart. Truly.

Maybe begging was the wrong tactic. You know I’m opposed to bullying. How do I get folks to sign up for my newsletter then.

Here are some ideas I’ve seen others use:

  • Contests: The only contests I’ve run on my blog have FAILED to get entries. I either give crummy prizes, or no one sees the contests.
  • Pop-Ups: This feels like bamboozling to me. I don’t appreciate pop-ups when I visit sites, so why would I force my visitors to suffer through them?
  • E-mails: Uh, I don’t have any email addresses on my list. That’s why I’m in this situation.
  • Twitter: There’s a way to see if people ever come to my blog because of Tweets, but I’m guessing since I don’t have much of a following over there, it’s as ineffective as begging on my blog.
  • Facebook: Yeah. My posts show up on Facebook. A few of my friends click through if the topic looks interesting. That’s a place to build relationships, not try to coerce people into something.

Experts Say

Experts say if I have offer my readers something of value to sign up, that will motivate them.

Question: What do I have of value to offer other than my writing?

Experts say that I need to write compelling content. Duh.

Experts say once I write something compelling, I need to make it easy to share.

Question: I have all the share buttons on my posts. How can I make it any easier?

Experts say if I visit other blogs with a similar topic to mine and comment regularly, other readers will see my comment and hop over to check me out.

Question: How many hours do these folks have? (FYI, I did this for the first year that I blogged and it netted me nearly nothing.)

My Thoughts

  • My content isn’t compelling.
  • The topics I address aren’t interesting to my readers.
  • I write about too many different subjects on this blog. I need to find my niche.
  • I’d rather be writing my fiction or Bible studies than thinking up things to write about on this blog.
  • The posts that I feel will have the greatest reach fall flat.
  • When I visited a Facebook party, I had the most hits on my blog. So, people were checking me out based on how I commented there. Since that time, I’ve tried to repeat those results – no success.
  • I’m floundering. I’m in over my head. I need to face the fact that I’m not going to build an email list (thus, publishers are going to reject me for having no platform).

Why does this writing thing have to have more legs than an octapi family reunion?

Your Thoughts

I NEED YOU.

Your thoughts could help me with this dilemma.

If you are reading this post, please help me.

What can I do to interest people in signing up for my newsletter?

What made you sign up? (I know, you’re related to me. Thanks for that.)

Six Sicknesses Perpetuated by Social Media

Social media enables people in different countries to interact and share news. It’s a great way to keep in touch with family who live far away. Its positive uses are many and varied. Unfortunately, with every positive comes a negative.

The negative uses of social media are many and varied. This truth smacked me in the face during a recent conversation with my youngest son. He is away at college and we were using Skype (yes, technology provides many conveniences we love).

I informed him that a relative was engaged to be married. His response?

“No way! I didn’t read about that on Facebook.”

I’m sure you’ve heard similar statements from people in a variety of generations. My son was only partly serious. This initial response loosed the analytical side of my mind. Thoughts about the problems various forms of social media can and do cause churned and roiled.

My short-list looks like this:

  1. Sterile Relationships: My initial response when my son made his comment: “Some things should be conveyed face-to-face.” Social media sterilizes  and cheapens personal relationships. Debates rage about whether too much socializing on social media affects a teenagers desire and ability to interact personally. An informal poll shows that 67 percent of people feel this is a viable problem.
  2. Miscommunication: The news is quick to tout the Tweets that went out at inappropriate moments (the Boston Marathon bombing a year ago comes to mind). I’ve seen reports of Jackie Chan’s death on Facebook. These are big name items but the likelihood that any post can be misinterpreted is high. Someone stops talking to you. When you track them down for the cause, it turns out they misread a status update on your Facebook timeline.
  3. Negativity: Do I even need to embellish this point? We’ve all seen the negative memes featuring President Obama. Cute pictures provide backdrops for hateful words degrading anything from marriage to religion. Yes, I’m thankful for free speech but have you ever Mymottonoticed how much faster those negative posts spread? People are too happy to jump aboard.  All the negative vibes on social media reinforce my original reluctance to join it.
  4. Loss of Privacy: For most people, this one ranks much higher on the list of problems. We can choose how much information to share, so I don’t get all up in arms about loss of privacy. When people share my business that I wanted to keep private? A problem arises, but I can take down the post or kindly ask them to do it. For the gossips of the world, social media expands their network of listening ears exponentially. No thanks.
  5. Is Everyone a busybody? Suddenly, people think they need to know every little thing about everyone. Instant news – we want it. Updates about health problems – why aren’t they posting on Facebook? Fodder for gossip mills – yep, people expect to see it all on social media. It’s harder than ever to convince people to give you space when people post pictures of all the food they eat, detail doctor visits and spill venom from a fight with their sister for everyone to see. This last is the worst. Since they don’t have to face a real person, many people feel entitled to say things in a disrespectful manner they would never use in a personal confrontation.
  6. Distance: Ironically, most social media exists to help us stay in touch and bring us closer to other people. Instead, too many people substitute kind words on Facebook for genuine caring outreach to people in need. This creates emotional distance. We need each other. We need hugs and someone typing *hugs* in my comments doesn’t offer the same endorphin release as actual skin to skin contact. (Although for those who live far away, I appreciate the sentiment behind this.)

I signed up for Facebook under duress because I need to build a platform for my writing. Since those early grudging posts, I’ve met quite a few incredible people from all over the world who I would never have otherwise encountered. Social media paved the way.

I’ve also had to block some strangers, remove myself from groups to which I didn’t ask to be added and hide posts from people I know from showing in my newsfeed. Minor inconveniences, sure, but infringements on my personal space that I would never have encountered if I hadn’t taken the social media plunge.

What are your thoughts? Are there other problems with social media that bother you? Maybe you think I’m over-reacting. Tell me about it in the comments.