Eleven whole years I've been on Facebook,. Eleven. Whole. Years!
When I received my best wishes from Mr Zuckerberg, I was more shocked than appreciative! Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for his love and always get giddy over his 'Happy Birthdays' and 'Friendversaries' but this one hit me.
I've been on Facebook half my daughter's life. Don't worry I put more effort into bringing her up than scrolling through my feed ;) but eleven years - wow!
I was first introduced to Facebook by a friend, she was impressed, excited and pretty insistent that I join. I told her I couldn't be bothered with that rubbish and carried on with my life...
Social Media Madness
As you guessed, I caved in.
Around six months later, my friend showed me her page, she then helped me to set up my own page and the rest is history!
After Facebook, I discovered Twitter, then Instagram and immediately felt the need to share my life with the world - what I had for dinner, what I was watching and how much sleep I'd had. You know, all the important stuff that the world simply needs to know...
Two years ago I began my blog, so I got a website, and another page for Twitter and Facebook and not forgetting Instagram! That's six, yes six social media pages to manage, to be honest, my personal pages are somewhat neglected and yet the world still revolves.
I entered the blogging world enthusiastically and nervously; enthusiastic to write yet nervous about etiquette, privacy and trust.
Social media gives so much information, some helpful and some not, just like the real world, and knowing who to connect with is hard, I mean how can you tell if a person is genuine without looking into their eyes?
I love blogging and I wanted to be good at it, I spent a lot of time drafting and scheduling blog posts, tweeting and posting regularly to get my stats up. I wanted lots of followers to make my blog successful and if I went a day without making myself known on social media, I'd worry that my blog would suffer.
I'll let you in on something, it does.
Yep, if I don't tweet, share a pic or publish a blog post my stats go down, it seems that the more active you are on social media, the more the cogs turn and show your posts opposed to other peoples.
So in short, to maintain my virtual life, I have to spend less time in my real life.
I refuse to do that because life is for living after all.
The Pressures of Social Media
Everything has it's pressures and we all know social media brings it's own.
I know social media can be both a help and a hindrance, and
I use it to communicate with friends and family. My blog also relies on it in many ways so it's useful to me.
On the flip side, I know people who have had chats misinterpreted, people who have been bullied and people who feel the pressure of living a perfect life, because that's often what's portrayed on social media. It's so easy to tap out a status, send an angry message or pretend life is okay by posting a photo. Too easy sometimes.
When my daughter was younger, I let her join Facebook.
We chatted about how amazing it was and also how it had the potential to cause problems so I set some rules:
That was the deal. Some may consider it invasive, I considered it parenting.
When I scroll through social media for my blog work, I come across people begging for followers, I hear the worry of being un-followed and there's an obvious stress about not having the time to publish another blog post because they're too busy. There are so many ways for us to be controlled by social media if we allow it.
We all want to be successful but there are enough pressures in life without adding virtual issues to the mix. Sometimes we're busy and that's life!
The love, the tears and the laughter - that's life.
Technology is amazing and will always be a massive part of our future.
Those who disrespect it will undoubtedly cause oppression and negativity and we all know there's enough of that in the world. If we respect social media it can have a positive impact on our lives, as long as we differentiate between our virtual lives and reality.
The key? Why live of course!
Life is about balance and it's most certainly for living, use social media, be grateful when Mr Zuckerberg wishes you happy birthday but don't forget to switch off too. In the grand scheme of things, numbers of followers and viewing stats don't matter.
Get offline, seek simplicity and rest assured your social media accounts will still be there when you switch back on. Not only that but you may be surprised to see you haven't actually missed much!
Make the effort to live, not just live but love and laugh too.
Sure it may be a statement that's over used, but I like it and living, loving and laughing? that's real life right there.
Hi I'm Sarah!
Blogger in The Lakes
I live in the beautiful Lake District...
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