Last night I gave my friend a crash course in Twitter, Pinterest, and the like. My husband took a picture of us huddled over my friend's laptop and posted it to Facebook and Twitter (of course) with the label "Technology instruction," which is something of a misnomer since it wasn't technology so much that comprised my tutelage as social media. Of technology I am mostly ignorant. Of social media, well, I wouldn't say I'm an expert by any means (Stumble Upon? Klout? These things are mysteries to me) but sometimes I like to try.
I think I've told you before of my general unease in regard to much of my social media interaction, be it blogging or tweeting or perusing Pinterest. Sometimes, most times, I love it. As I've confessed on here many times, I love interacting with friends from across the globe. I love our internet conversations via comment thread or email. I love the exchange of ideas and information and the discussion of life and theology and parenting and the gospel and difficulties and such. I know the blessing of true and genuine friendship with several women I respect and admire and this only because of social media. Not only that, but also in more general terms, we human beings are curious creatures and my twitter feed satisfies to some degree this curiosity I have about the lives and thoughts of others. So, yeah, I like having a small (very small) media presence on the web.
Sometimes, though, as much as I like it, social media has a tendency to depress me. I know, because I know my own tweets and blog posts and status updates, that the image presented in these public forums is only a slice of the real. Though I attempt to portray as authentically as possible the real me here on the world wide web the reality is such that you see only a portion of me and my life, a portion I control. It easy to forget this, however, when I'm reading others' glowing, peppy, happy-happy updates. Sometimes my life, my faith, seems drab in comparison. Sometimes I am drab in comparison. Sometimes I am envious. Sometimes I am depressed. Sometimes I want to indulge my hermit tendencies and delete any and all social accounts.
I am not, by nature, a very social person. In fact, I am much more shy and insecure than most people realize. Because I am in personality reserved, the social part of social media can be overwhelming. I marvel at those who can tweet about any and everything, and tweet with such wit to boot! Amazing!
Part of me thinks these are silly things for me to be pondering. What's the big deal about tweeting or not tweeting? It isn't life or death, that's true. Eternity doesn't hang in the balance over my pins on Pinterest. I would not be in the right or in the wrong if I continued my Facebook account or suspended it. I am not leading my friend astray by showing her the wonders of Tweetdeck or all the fascinating information to be found on Pinterest.
Rather, my thoughts today are considering what my occasional reticence says about me and about the place I give to social media in my day to day life. Why do I blog (when and if I blog)? Why that painful twinge when I look at the number of site visits here at the blog? Can I see social media for what it truly is or do I let it be an unhelpful influence? Do I tweet for the glory of God? Why does that sound like a silly thing to ask? These are good questions, important questions.
Despite my unease, I do not anticipate a complete retreat from all things social media related. I imagine I will continue much as I have done, with an intermittent and occasional presence. Though I know that my relationships via the world wide web are real and I am so grateful for those very real friendships, my first priority is to the more real of my real, non-virtual life. In other words, blogging must take a back seat to cooking supper.
But, for the curious, you may find me every now and then here at the blog or via the other venues which you can follow or subscribe through the links there to the right on the sidebar.
What about you? Do you love or merely tolerate social media? Or do you avoid it altogether? Am I the only insecure, hermit-prone misfit? How do you strike a balance between your real and virtual communities and responsibilities?