How Has Social Media Changed Your Life?

As I sit here with my glass of wine reading the highlights of everyone’s blogs, it makes me think.  I grew up in a very isolated and rural area, no cable TV, dial up internet access, and computers that ran on with DOS operating systems (no GUIs for us).

It was a simpler way of life.  We spent more time outside playing, because there was nothing on TV.  At night after a family dinner, we would all gather around to watch Dukes of Hazzard, Murder She Wrote, or MacGyver.  With no TIVO, you had to watch the show when it aired or else you missed it all together.  Reruns didn’t come around very often, so you could not dare miss an episode.

Because of our location, my high school was about 30 minutes from my house.  All my friends lived in different counties, therefore it was long distance to call them.  None of those long, unending phone calls with my friends.  No free long distance or unlimited minutes existed.  Socializing with my friends was left to on school grounds.  When I got my driver’s license the sense of freedom was amazing.  I could drive to meet my friends.

The social scene was limited to a fast food restaurant, BK lounge (Burger King).  All the popular kids would gather there to discuss a party location.  Starting around 9pm the parking lot would begin to fill and the cars would start crusin around.

Do they even still do cruising?  A major part of our teenage years was spent cruising along the streets of town, so you could see and be seen.  That is how we met kids from other schools and expanded our groups of friends.

With the creation of social media, children are in contact 24-7. They can expand their social circles to anyone in the world.  Pretty amazing!  Although I have to say, it was a good thing I didn’t have this kind of access.  I would have gotten into so much trouble.

Today, things are moving so fast.  No one has time to have lunch, enjoy a conversation with a good friend, or go to a movie.  Has social media provided a crutch for this?  Do you remember the days when snail mail was the only mail?  Writing letters and getting letters was a gift.  I can remember getting letters in the mail from a boyfriend who lived in another town.  I couldn’t wait to check the mail each day, looking for that letter.  Email has just given us another reason to want immediate gratification. We can’t hardly wait one minute for a response, a week WHAT?!!?!

Facebook has connected us even more.  Now we can see when, where, and what people are doing.  Some people have even been compelled to tell you what they are making for breakfast or when they are going to the grocery store.  If they had to pick up a phone to tell someone this, would they?  Besides who really needs to know this type of mundane information.  When facebook first came out, I was so excited.  I found many of my high school friends that I hadn’t seen in over 15 + years.  How awesome, you could see pictures of them and their families.  Touch base and catch up.  But then, as time goes on you notice how different you are.  The distance seems even greater. Facebook almost turns into a place for people to brag about their lives – kind of like being back in high school.

I admit, I stalked a few people on facebook.  But for the most part, I don’t really feel connected to my FB friends.  It is kind of like having that conversation with someone at a party who you really aren’t interested in, but you don’t want to stand alone.  I love to feel connected with my friends, share in their joys, sadness, loss, and celebrations.

Don’t get me started on Twitter.  Never understood it, never will.  I have tried it, but I guess I am too old fashioned.  Blogging has been great.  I think I can see the inside of people who blog.  They share their joys, sadness, etc…..  Bloggers are open and honest!  It is refreshing.  Something about sitting behind a computer screen and writing out your inner thought is freeing!

I met my husband on Yahoo.  When I went through my divorce from my first husband, I turned to social media to help me cope.  It made me feel less alone.  I met some great people and went on some great dates.  I married one of those guys, in fact.  I think the meeting sites are great, better than a bar.  While you are trying to meet people in a bar, you are slowly drinking away your life.  Some don’t break free and suffer from alcoholism.  I found that by meeting people on line, I was able to get to know them before going on a date.  You are able to let down your guard and speak honestly.  If the reject you online, so what!  Hit delete!!  When you do manage to meet for the first time, the conversation flows easily.  You already know so much about each other, it is easier to talk freely.

Have you seen the new sites for meeting friends?  They now have a site where you can rent a friend. No need to socialize and build relationships with people, you can buy companionship (not the illegal kind).

Social media has changed the world in so many ways.  Is this good or bad?  Obesity in children is on the rise, due to lack of exercise.  Less and less people are spending time together one on one.  Cell phones, laptops etc are stealing time away from families (it isn’t just TV anymore).  More and more sites are going up exposing our children to pornography.  I can remember when this was not even available – sneaking a Playboy from someone’s house was the closest we ever got to porn.

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