Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why I love me some social media

Social media. Love it or hate it, social media is a part of our culture and certainly isn't going anywhere. People seem to generally fall into three camps when it comes to social media use:

1. Frequent fliers. These are the people who are really plugged in. They love them some Facebook, they tweet their daily happenings, they clickety-click onto Instagram, plan their dream homes on Pinterest and generally spend a lot of time online interacting with people they may or may not have met in real life.

2. Haters. We all know some of them. The people who look down with dripping disdain at Facebook and Twitter and any other social media. They think it is either too juvenile, too lame, or just have a sense of "this is popular amongst the masses, therefore I must hate it." They probably use the Internet all the time, because at least in the US, most of us do. But they're not about to open up a Facebook account and are pretty happy to tell you so.

3. In-betweeners. Most people I know probably fall into this category. They have various social media accounts, and use them, but probably aren't tweeting photos of their lunch every single day, or saying "Goodnight" to everyone on Facebook each and every night. They use social media, like it for the most part, but aren't lost without it if they lose internet access for a while or their smartphone battery dies and they can't plug in.

This doesn't actually have anything to do with anything - it just makes me giggle.

I'm probably on the higher end of the in-betweener. I don't live and die by social media, and I don't even have a Twitter account. But yeah, I'm on Facebook a lot on days I'm home, I read quite a few blogs at least sporadically, and I have a big group of girlfriends I've known for like a decade, and I've never met most of them in person.

I'll admit it happily - I love me some social media.

Yeah, this might kinda be me.

I'm a stay at home mom, and I have been for eight and a half years. I didn't love my job before I had kids, but I did love hanging out with other adults (some of whom I even liked). I like conversation and not just the kind that involves questions about who would win in a fight, Darth Vader or Iron Man (obviously Vader, duh). I do miss daily interaction with other people who don't need me to wipe their butt or cut up their food. Because, you know, that could get really awkward.

Social media is my water cooler. It's my teacher's lounge. It is where I can come, take a quick break from whatever is going on around this crazy house of mine, and connect with a bunch of other people, some of whom even get what I'm going through. I can post questions and get great advice. I can vent and get virtual hugs and commiseration. I can post my triumphs and funny kid stories and hear about my friend's great moments.

Before the Internet, how did stay-at-home-moms deal? You could do what, call your girlfriends on the phone? Sure, if they weren't busy changing poopy diapers or fishing gum out of hair or hauling their kids to swim lessons or baseball practice. I can't imagine how isolated I would feel if I didn't have this connection to the outside world, right here at my fingertips. I can send people messages and they can respond when they have time. I can see what people are up to, like a little window into their lives (in a totally non-stalkerish way, I promise). I can connect, reconnect, keep up with people and not feel quite so alone when I'm going a little stir crazy and about to reach for the bottle of Merlot in the cupboard.

Even though I'm not actually there with you in the break room, or sitting with you in the coffee shop, we're still hanging out. You might be in Hawaii or Alaska or Colorado or London - but we can still keep up with each other's lives, talk a bit, and share stories and pictures. I can see your kids grow up and you can see mine. We can be there for each other, and not feel quite so alone, not quite so isolated, not quite so nutty when things are a little rough.

Social media is a connection that I find valuable. I love my online friends and I love that it keeps getting easier to connect and keep up with people. And as a mom who is home alone with three little kids, all day, every day, social media is often my link to sanity.

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