|Evaluating the digital reflections of our social media "selves"...|
Oddly enough, I'm commemorating the event by posting something that I started writing back in early 2014, probably around month three of blogging. This post was meant as potential filler for when things got slow on the sewing front.
Turns out that even though my sewing pace is slow, I've had enough other topics to write about that this post has sort of been forgotten.
That doesn't mean that it's lost any relevancy, however, since I've continued to have the occasional inquiry as to my availability on social media platforms other than Blogger. At year four, you still don't see those ubiquitous social media icons displayed in large format at the top of the page. Am I missing out on opportunities to promote this blog? Maybe. Is that important to me? Maybe, but maybe not.
By the way, is it just my impression, or has there been an exodus towards "quick fire" social media on the part of craft bloggers over the past few years?
And while I'm asking questions, let me also ask another: am I the only one who cringes whenever someone says "like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter"? To be perfectly honest, it always sounds like a pitiful, pathetic plea... made to masses of people who are only important as a part of an ever increasing number to feed one's ego.
I don't mean that to sound harsh, because as a marketing tool, social media is highly effective when used properly. It's probably a necessary evil to doing business these days. (Doesn't mean that I still don't cringe when a business says "like me", but that's my hang-up, not yours.) On the other hand, for average "Joes and Josephines" — as a teacher of mine once said — it's as though self-worth has come to depend a great deal on numbers that we have no control over... i.e., how many online followers/"friends", how many subscribers/readers, how many visits from how many different places. It's endless. And endlessly troubling.
Blogging even comes with social expectations and obligations that one might not anticipate. For instance, there are those "I just found you at blankety-blank and added you to my blog list... follow me back at such-and-such". What kind of person makes such a request?
|Judging by the size of the "promo link"|
tag, I actually have quite a few
posts with links to other sites...
Of course, in not having a list, I'm not fully contributing to the "web" part of the world wide web. For that reason, I've compensated by highlighting the specific work of other people/bloggers and providing direct links as much as I can, within my blog posts. (Check out my list of tags on the sidebar... if you filter my posts using the label "promo link", you will see all of the posts in which I mention other sites that have caught my eye. And if they've been mentioned more than once, you can be sure that I am somewhat of a "follower".)
But getting back to my first thought: what about Facebook and Twitter? Not being on Facebook has actually been compared to not having a toilet in your home. I want to state for the record that while I am not on Facebook, I do have four toilets in my home. More to the point, I would admittedly freak out if I didn't have a toilet in my home, but I don't see the day when I'll freak out about not being on Facebook.
As for Twitter, I snagged an account several years ago to claim my name, and did in fact start using it in 2016. I follow five accounts operated by my local emergency and news services and have to say that I really like how efficient it is at aggregating pertinent info. We had crazy weather in 2016, with warnings and watches foisted on us during the summer on an almost daily basis. Twitter was actually the best way to access everything at once. That said, I have neither tweeted nor followed any other individual's pithy chirps. Seeing the crazy conflicts that take place daily on Twitter, not engaging means that I minimize the possibility of inadvertently sticking my foot in my mouth.
Having avoided Facebook for so long, when I started this blog, I knew I wouldn't succumb to setting up a corresponding Facebook account that would — in all likelihood — replicate what's here and seriously suck my time in keeping it current.
Curiously enough, one of the testers for my Diva Envelope Clutch suggested setting up a Facebook group for pattern testing purposes so that testers can communicate with each other via that platform... after all, it wouldn't require my involvement. (But the idea of not being involved with something that's ultimately mine raises the potential of other issues that I won't get into right now.)
To expand on an earlier statement, we've really lost something with regards to what Facebook, Twitter, et al have done to bloggers who used to post with some regularity. Instead of their blogs driving their social media content, it's now 24/7 natterings on these other platforms punctuated by the occasional blog post. It's unfortunate that some bloggers have diverted their efforts to these other — in my humble opinion — less meaningful pursuits.
By the way, let's be clear that I am not without some appreciation of the value of social media. I like that when a "bad guy" is out and about, it takes no time for the news to go around the world via those mediums. I like that good causes get recognition and crowd funding through the power of social media.
From way, way back (in the 90s), I've disliked the mob mentality of the internet. But today's real time, rapid fire social media feeds that frenzy in the worst possible ways. People initially gravitate to social media platforms on the premise of joining inclusive communities, on gaining a sense of belonging. But more often than not, the end results are extremely divisive. Never mind that the notoriety that arises from becoming a recognized social media "personality" or online "celebrity" can give rise to a twisted sense of self-importance. It doesn't take much to go from feeling ordinary to feeling entitled and powerful and believing that one's digital reflection is the real thing. As human beings, we are very weak that way.
And I'm not implying that there are sewing blog authors who are megalomaniacs or narcissists (!), just that the situation — wherever and whenever it occurs — is distasteful.
Most of all, I stay away from quickie social media because I really, really, REALLY value my privacy, and need to have as much control of it as possible. (Apparently, studies have shown that I'm giving away my age by admitting to a need for privacy. Whatever. The fact is, once you lose it, your privacy is virtually — if not totally — impossible to get back.)
But really, you already know how many toilets I have in my home. If you get to know much more about me, I might have to come after you. ;-)
So that was a rather long-winded way of saying why I'm still not — after four years — wanting to spread myself thinly across quickie social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
Knowing that I'm in the minority, however, let me ask you this: what is the best thing that social media has done for you?