The Internet: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

You see the thing about the internet is….

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The Good:

Since I started blogging (a little over a year ago) I’ve been connected with people all over the world. People with similar stories or people who have been inspired by my stories want to share their stories with me. And it’s awesome. It’s the world’s most gratifying thing when I get an email from someone that says “Hey I really appreciated _____. I had something happen to me that’s similar.”

On my Twitter account, I follow very few people that I actually know in person. I’ve also found people tend to be much, much more vulnerable about themselves on Twitter, myself included. I would not post some of the stuff I put on Twitter of Facebook. Different platform, different purpose. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Facebook makes you hate people you know – Twitter makes you love people you’ve never met.” More accurate words have never been said. Through things like #CathSorority and #iuseNFP, I have found so many great people on Twitter that I otherwise would never know existed. I can travel a lot of places and meet up for coffee with someone from Twitter or my blog, and I just think that’s the stinkin’ coolest thing ever. Social media can create social good when like minded people find each other and connect. I think modern day social media really has revolutionized the way people connect and in that sense, it’s a marvelous invention.

BUT

The Bad:
No matter how advanced the internet becomes, I think it’s still intrinsically important to live in the present, physical moment. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at my phone and my fiance has said “Who are you texting?” and I apprehensively reply, “Just checking Twitter.” I know it can become a nightmare if you don’t use self-control in how much social media you absorb.

Furthermore, I’ve been told by previous mentors that if you have any tendency towards depression (let’s be honest, if you’re a living, breathing human) you should monitor and regulate the amount of media you consume, especially regarding “news”. I put the word news in quotations because, well, even Tweets often contain something about current events, or “news”. Which actually leads me to….

The Ugly:
Have you ever heard the saying “Everybody is brave online.”?
Yes, everybody is willing to voice their opinion on hot button issues because there isn’t exactly a consequence. Typing an opinion to an unknown abyss is a lot easier than standing in front of someone with a different opinion and voicing it to their face. It can get nasty, folks. This abortion stuff? I can’t take it. The Zimmerman case? Too much. People will spout off beliefs that may be hurtful and usually aren’t open to “constructive open minded dialog”. And in this sense, the internet is one of the most harmful inventions.

We have a perceived corruption of the world that the internet makes much more acute. And sometimes, that’s just so unnecessary.

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The world isn’t all bad when we remember to take our head out of the computer.

So where does this leave us? Should we throw the baby out with the bath water and cancel our wi-fi subscriptions? Since my livelihood depends on having internet connection, that would unwise to say the least. No. Let’s keep the baby and maybe just keep the bath water…clean. You know fill it up, clean the baby, drain the water, then when it’s time for another bath get some more fresh water up in there.

In other words, it’s important for me to keep my online self in check. I take small hiatuses from social media. When current events are too much to handle, I find other ways to keep up to date. I don’t have to hear about every juicy story someone tweets. I read a study about how people who spend time on social media often feel that they will “miss out” if they don’t keep constantly up to date online. Sometimes I remind myself that I won’t miss out if I take a weekend off. It sounds so unbelievably obvious, but it will be ok.

For someone like me, my job and social media are kind of one. And that does make things tough. I find a lot of clients through online and I also run social media for a doc. But the point I’m really trying to get across is that Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, anything else under the sun, really are great innovative inventions when used appropriately. But sometimes, we have to take a step back and reassess where we’re at.

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