The Misguided View of Social Networks

I saw a video posted to Facebook today which, again, talked about how social networks like Twitter, Facebook and the like are  making us less social and that we hide behind inflated profiles and fail to make real connections.  I just don’t believe that’s true – at least not for me. I think the people that make these claims just don’t “Get it” they think social media is just about celebrity or ego. I may have thought that too at some point but no longer.

Here’s What Social Networks Do for Me:

Social Networks Give Me Control Over the Energy I Bring Into My Life

I no longer am forced to watch news stories of all the horror in the world and instead have my feeds set up to deliver encouraging words and stories. When something really big happens or when there is an event that requires further examination, it shows up in my feed but I’m not bombarded daily with bad and scary stories that might make me think our world is a more dire place than it is.  Yes, horrible things happen. People get sick. People die but I can keep those stories in perspective by also seeing the good in the world and in humanity through sites like UpWorthy and tweets from people I admire and who are making the world a better place.

Social Networks Allow Me to Engage

I care about people – people in difficult situations, people doing their best with what they have, people who are striving for more. Social networks allow me to be involved in the world. I can reach out or I can be on the receiving end of need.  I can click to learn more, to get involved or to enlist help from others. I have the power to do more because I am aware of more and I can interact directly with people and organizations. I am held accountable in goal setting and I encourage others in their quests. I can directly impact the people and things that I care about most. I learn of issues then seek out solutions in my community.

Social Networks Allow Me to Feed My Soul

I believe there is good in the world. I believe we are all here to support and uplift each other though we are all on our own journeys through life. Social networks allow me to connect with people who feel the same way.  I uplift and am uplifted. I share vulnerabilities and receive empathy or encouragement and often, a return sharing of vulnerability – a connection. I am spiritually uplifted by people in my feed – OprahDevon FranklinWes MooreRichard Branson and more. I bring beauty and majesty and awe into my world by choosing what and who I follow.

Social Networks Allow Me to Love and Be Loved

Twitter is my favorite medium for connection. Through Twitter I have “met” and then MET the most amazing and uplifting people. Our original connections came in 140 character increments then grew into strings of DMs then eventually emails, FB connections, phone calls and then in-person meetings but our first connections were heart-to-heart genuine, authentic conversations online. It is rare that someone I meet online is not exactly who they say they are. In fact, they are often even more themselves online than in person because they are looking for connection and finding it. In our day-to-day lives it is often difficult to shine but you can online and then often, find the courage to do so in your space.

Social Networks Help Me Realize the World is Bigger than My Backyard

Where you live can affect how you view the world but if you have a global view, you can broaden your horizons. I came from a loving, supportive family with two parents who loved me and each other and I thought that was the norm. Now I know it’s not. My level of empathy and understanding increased through social media. People share stories I can’t fathom and I’m filled with compassion and moved to do more.  I’ve learned that issues not taking place in my own community may be huge problems in the world and that I’m not exempt from them. I’ve also learned there are all kinds of communities and social medias give me glimpses into them.

Social Networks Level the Playing Field

New flash! Celebrities, politicians, spiritual leaders, power brokers and average Joes have one big thing in common.  They are all people – people with hearts and minds, with passions and dreams with vulnerabilities and frailties.  You may get on Twitter to tweet about your favorite show and discover that the star is from your home town or the president of the company just lost their parent to cancer too or the VP of whatever is a new mom who frets about balancing everything just like you. The blue check marks next to their name means they’re recognized in their field but it doesn’t mean they have all the answers to everything else.  Maybe you know more about something than they do. Maybe you are both trying to figure it all out and it’s great you ran into each other. In an instant, you can connect on a basic human level. I see it happen all the time.

I live on social media and my online friends are as much a part of my day as the people I interact with in my offline world. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I have grown as a person because of social media and the people in my “real world” benefit from my experiences online.  So if you still think social media is detrimental, try opening yourself up a bit more and see what the world has to offer.

You get back what you put out.  Be real and do good.