Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Moderation in social networking.

I've seen a lot of folks lately talking (or, I guess, typing) about wanting or needing to spend less time on their social media habits - some, even to the point of going cold turkey OFF of them altogether. I can see the value in that - I will fully admit that I occasionally realize I'm spending way too much time surfing Facebook rather than, say, well, doing absolutely anything else, and every now and then I'll say ENOUGH and cut myself back to just checking "the important things" a few times a day, when it is not otherwise interrupting something that is a higher priority.

However, in just the past week, thanks to my using Facebook, I have located a store in town that sells raw, local honey (my two usual sources are tapped out); I have figured out what most likely killed one of our goldfish, corrected the problem, and have seen vast improvement in the other goldfish; and I have connected with a former short-term coaching client, who wants to re-begin coaching next month.

I've also heard the argument that Facebook (et al) has become a substitute for making real connections with those you know - pecking out a few phrases on a keyboard, witnessing their life through the screen, rather than picking up the phone, writing a letter, or having coffee in person. And, to a degree, that's valid - if you COULD have coffee with some of these friends, why not do it? But, what about the friends who live in different time zones, different cities, work different hours, etc., who you may never actually reach out to via those means? What if you're just not a phone person? What if, without social media, you may not have some of these people in your life at all? Some of most of whom you may a truly value as good friends, even if you never see or talk to each other.

So, what's to be said for moderation here? I see so many people go to extremes with this kind of thing, and me, I personally live in a world made entirely of different shades of gray. You don't have to be "one of those people" who is "always" vegging out on the internet just because you enjoy surfing social media sites, any more than you would have to close your accounts to be able to use the rest of your time wisely. There are benefits, and there are detriments. Just like anything else in your life, it's all about finding the balance that works for YOU, and using these tools in ways that are positive for you. It's about responsible choices way more than it's about the website where you're making them.

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