Saturday, March 12, 2011

Social Media

I have come to the realization lately, one I should have probably figured out long ago, that I am not one who easily shares with others. Not physical things, but emotional things. I am not good at sharing what's on my mind with other people. I can easily share here, when I have my computer and the internet as a wall between myself and the rest of the world, but most of the time when people ask me about how I'm doing or what's going on in my life, I rarely share what's really going on.

Maybe I've come to this realization because of the huge impact that social media has made in today's society. Everyone seems to feel completely OK with sharing their entire life's story or whatever pops into their head via Facebook status update or tweet. I am not one who can do that. I want a private life that remains private. I censor myself when posting on Facebook or Twitter, because anyone and everyone can read it, and there are just some things in life that I want to keep to myself.

Possible employers check Facebook when they are going through the hiring process. All of the tweets are being archived by the Library of Congress. Personally, I'd rather people find out about me by actually talking to me, and not via some sort of social media newsfeed or livestream update.

I actually spent some time the other night going through my list of Facebook friends and getting rid of people, because I don't really think that the person I went to school with for one year in the second grade really cares about what's going on in my life and I don't feel the need to share it. There are some that I got rid of, because we weren't really more than acquaintances, and I didn't feel right knowing every personal detail of their lives via my newsfeed. I think after I was done I had deleted a solid 50 people.

In the past couple of days I have seriously debated getting rid of Facebook altogether, but there are several good friends with whom I never have time to catch up with, and Facebook is how we keep in touch. I spend far too much time surfing around and "creeping" on people when I have many other more important things that I could be doing, like homework or sleep.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think social media can be incredibly useful. Look at what Google has done to help locate people in Japan, using their people finder service. I have been attempting to follow what has been going on in Japan and Libya and Egypt via an NPR correspondent on Twitter, and by doing so I have learned a lot. Twitter #hashtags allow for quick access to information. Texting services allows people to give directly to charity just by sending a text to a number that adds the donation to their phone bill.

Technology is amazing, I just think that sometimes we don't use it to its full potential. And trust me, I am one of those people who fritters time away on Facebook when I could be doing something far more important, like educating myself on what's going on in the world or, you know, doing less important things like cleaning my unkempt apartment and doing laundry. These things won't change the world, but at least they'll keep me from living in squalor. If only there was an App for that...