It’s no mystery – If you spend countless hours browsing the Internet chances are at least one of these things has or will happen to you:
- Eyes are now crossed and it will take surgery to repair the damage it has done to your retinas
- You have gained a few pounds from eating Twinkies and other ‘finger foods’ that require no cooking, cooking skills or moving from in front of the computer screen
- You starting using Internet acronyms in normal conversation
- When someone asks you a question you reply by saying, “I’ll Tweet you” or “I’ll write on your Wall.”
- You start to twitch and break out into a cold sweat whenever you can’t find your smartphone and when you do, you realize the battery is dead and you only have one bar on your signal indicator
- You don’t eat, sleep or drink for fear you may miss out on another meaningless and irrelevant conversation
- You create fictitious accounts on Facebook so that you can Like what you wrote on your real account
- You name your newborn baby girl ‘Tumblr’
- Every caption for every picture in your Instagram account begins with ‘Breakfast’, ‘Lunch’ or ‘Dinner’
- You become really bitter in your blog posts and shun the rest of the world because no one understands you.
Truthfully, the only real setbacks that I have experienced from social networking, blogging and browsing the Internet are ones that are not quite as amusing as the items I have listed above. The adverse effects of pouring my soul out on my blog are what you would typically encounter from a personal blogger: people begin to avoid you because they think you might write something about them; people avoid you because they think that you have already written something about them; people begin to develop an overall sense of mistrust, dislike and irritation towards you and usually you don’t really know why.
Traditional media tells you that in order to be the best journalist, reporter or columnist you have to develop thick skin. You have to be prepared to hear and accept criticism or opposing views without taking things personally.
Blogging is a similar and yet very different beast because you are not just writing about a subject you are expressing your feelings; you are juxtaposing, relating, communicating; sympathizing or disagreeing on an idea, a thought, an event or a concrete fact but all of these things are bound with your passion. In doing so, we (most of the time) as bloggers recognize that our opinion may invoke the passion of others but you never intended to lose friends and relationships while expressing your thoughts and feelings.
Participating in social networks is a double edged sword. On one hand you have to participate in discussion, be engaged and current in order to be relevant. On the other hand, sharing too much renders you susceptible – not just to criticism but to the potential of losing relationships.
Does it, should it matter what people think? As a blogger I can tell you that it does matter if only for the fact that you are building a community; a group of individuals who are interested in not just what I have to say, but also in what the community has to say. On a personal level, it matters because I want people to know where I stand in our relationship as writer and reader. My primary goal in starting this blog was for Super Mom and my sons. It has evolved and it will continue to evolve just as I am growing daily as a person in the way that I process information and how I deal with conflict.
So how is it killing my social life? Refer back to #4 in the list – most of the time I’m better at writing my feelings than I am at saying them but just like saying them, once its written you can never take it back.