My limited foray into social media

I initially shied away from social media but over the past few years I decided to try some platforms to see if it’s all that people say it is.

So, I opened a Twitter & LinkedIn account, started subscribing to YouTube videos, pinned some articles on Pinterest when we were renovating our house, and last but not least opened an Instagram account. I decided to examine these various accounts to see what, if anything, they added to my life. I never did open a Facebook account.

Full disclosure, some of my job duties include keeping tabs on any legislative issues at any level of government that may have an impact on our business, good or bad. With that said, that makes politics a part of my life, as I feel it should be for most people as it affects us all, but it shouldn’t be your life unless it’s your fulltime job.

So, my first social media account was LinkedIn, which as you may know is a professional networking platform, and for the most part I see great value in this platform for anyone working or seeking employment. It’s also a great way to keep in touch with business colleagues who may change employers and/or locations. In my humble opinion, this is by far the best professional network platform in social media, and I appreciate all that it has to offer. Some of the participants have complained about the increasing number of political posts and would prefer to keep it strictly business in nature. However, anyone who has ever owned a small business is acutely aware of how politicians, especially their laws & regulations in particular, affect your business each & every day. So, I believe politics should have a place at the table in any business-related social media platform.

From there I have mixed feelings about the rest of the social media platforms that I tried. I recently closed my Twitter account for a number of reasons, but most of all due to a lack of civility by its members, especially when the topic involves politics. I can’t help but believe that people would not say in public or to someone’s face what they feel free to say on Twitter. There is downright hate & malice directed from people towards others who may think differently than they do. Now don’t get me wrong, I followed some great people on Twitter who added great perspectives on various issues, but in the end I didn’t feel it was the best use of my time by scrolling thru various Twitter posts.

Pinterest is a great platform to help you decide on different home renovations, which my wife & I found extremely helpful, especially giving us the ability to print pictures to show the contractor of how we wanted the finished project to look. Kate has also used Pinterest for decorating ideas. And even though Pinterest has a host of other uses, we have found our home projects to be the best use of that platform.

If you’re a visual person, then YouTube is the place to be! I use it to watch music videos, and listen to music in general while at work, as well as how to assemble or fix something. There are great videos of exercise routines which I refer to periodically. I really think that YouTube is one of the best overall platforms currently out there, and honestly, I don’t know how society ever functioned without it! If I was only allowed to keep one social media platform, it would have to be YouTube.

The platform that gives me the greatest joy would have to be Instagram. It’s like Facebook but without all the drama. Now don’t get me wrong, if you want drama you can find it on Instagram as well as any of the other social media platforms, but I have found that it’s easily minimized with Instagram. I have one rule when I follow an Instagram account and that is I won’t follow an account that is political in nature or posts an inordinate amount of political themed subjects. I certainly support everyone’s right to post as they wish, but that’s not why I’m on Instagram, and I admit, my grading of such material is entirely subjective. Instead, my wife & I enjoy seeing our friends & family and their many activities and accomplishments, which also provides a great timeline of their lives. The only downside here is that I think people sometimes see their social media accounts as a substitute for personal interactions, which should never be the case. I look at social media as an enhancement of personal relationships, not as a substitute for engaging in social visits.

And that is probably my biggest concern with social media, in that it has become a substitute for people’s personal relationships. It has also allowed people to become more divisive and dismissive. It has taken the political discourse straight to the gutter, and worse. Social media has a tendency to quickly bring out the worst in people. Luckily there are a number of people who are trying to push back by posting uplifting & positive material, factual & focused material, posts with a possible solution to a current challenge. Anyone can be petty & derisive, but it takes someone of substance to look at a given situation and use positive & constructive criticism to find a solution.

So, for what it’s worth, there’s my humble perspective on various social media platforms. While enjoying any one of these platforms or the many others that are available, let’s just remember to stop looking at our phones for a while and just enjoy the moment that’s before us in all of its glory & splendor. Instead of being a passive bystander watching life on your phone, try being part of the activity and enjoy actually engaging in the moment. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

As always, thank you for reading, and may we pray for the citizens of Ukraine and a speedy end to the war.

Teddy Roosevelt quote

After these past 4 years I thought that this is a fitting quote –

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

– Teddy Roosevelt

This is also especially fitting for any small business owner who goes to work everyday and succeeds in spite of what sometimes seems like insurmountable odds. And if they should fail, then at least they tried and will never have to play the “what if” game. As we have been shown, dare to try great things. In some of your efforts you may have success, while others not so much. But in the end you will be the one to have made a difference, not the critic, and that’s what counts.