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"Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky." - Brene Brown

The above quote says it all!!!

Today’s world is caught up in social media. I believe social media is a good and bad thing. I love catching up with people, seeing their grandchildren grow up, and vicariously vacationing through other people’s posts. I am grateful I can stay in touch with those far away.

I am an extremely social person and look forward to face-to-face meetings. I love sharing a meal with a friend, meeting with someone I want to get acquainted with, participating in organizations where I can build relationships, and getting involved in church, where I grow closer to Jesus and make life-long friends.

Many are forming their relationships on social media. We are becoming a world of isolated, lonely people who deal with their loneliness by building social media relationships and playing games online involving other people. It is not “bad” to have established friends on games and social media, but having friends you interact with socially in person is vital.

I am amazed at how many people gain their worth through social media. I know people that create a new page for their Facebook account and are either assured or devastated by how many likes they receive. I used to host a business page on Facebook. I was interested to see how many reacted to my posts. However, I did not check my page more than once a day.

Today, some individuals identify as social influencers. These influencers use YouTube, Tiktok, and several other platforms to get their ideas out to an audience. Not only do our young people participate in this avenue of getting attention, but adults also feel the need to “make a difference” in society, so they, too, become social influencers. What is considered a social influencer? Social influencers in social media are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They regularly post about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followers of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views. I have seen social influencers discuss anything from the Bible, relationship advice, or tips on daily living. I do watch Dr. Phil and have seen episodes with young social influencers who have become so engulfed in their persona that they have lost touch with reality. Those individuals believe that they are the most essential thing in the world.

There is no age limit to posting on social media. All generations have the opportunity to become adept at using social media. I am surprised at those I know in their 80s and 90s who excel in using Facebook. I have learned much about social media from my friend and my social media coach, Lisa Kennedy, from Lisa Kennedy Consulting. I knew little about social media, but she taught me enough to navigate Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin well.

As I said at the beginning of this blog, many people are building relationships online and can’t imagine dealing with someone by interacting with them in person. In the “olden” days, we had tangible friends and spent time with them. We got to know the real person because you could see them in their good and bad moments. We learned who was emotionally healthy and safe to get close to, sometimes the hard way. Online you get to know a “friend” by their posts; you only know what the person wants to share. Again, in a relationship where you interact with a person, you see the good and bad, find out the truth about a person, and may find that you can identify with them and build a strong friendship.

I have said in past posts that I am in my 60s, so my childhood differed from many of the audience's younger people. The world was a different place, and my parents did not have to take the precautions we have to take today! I grew up in a neighborhood with no children and many older people. When I was seven, we moved to a younger neighborhood. I made friends; there were children to play with. I began to learn what it was like to grow friendships. I learned social etiquette in adulthood and awkwardly played with other children as a child. We did not have to worry about kidnapping and sex trafficking as much as we do today, so we could go out the door in the morning and come home early evening, and nobody was worried.

I enjoyed the friendships I made in high school and into adulthood.

Is social media worth the bother? YES, IT IS! I have found friends that moved to different states and kept in touch with those who don’t live close to me. I have sometimes shared an issue where I wanted a response. I am ready for positive and negative statements when I post. I have learned not to let negative comments consume me and ruin my day!

How to Use Social Media Wisely and Mindfully.

· Don’t passively scroll.

· Interact with posts and images you see.

· Spend more time chatting with people.

· Use social media to set up in-person interactions – Be careful with this point.

I encourage you to use social media wisely and enjoy the benefits of what it has to offer. Then work on offline relationships and become an active part of society!

Have a great week!

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