Are You Losing Your Calm In The .Com World?
How often do you juggle social media and other talk-tech, feeling like you are losing your calm running on one of those gerbil wheels, round and round and not really getting anywhere?
The other day I was trying to catch up on my emails while thinking about a post for facebook and narrowing down blog topics, all with one eye on my phone, waiting for a friend’s text reply.
In the background my radio was playing a commercial encouraging me to check out a great bargain at blah-blah-blah.com.
In the depths of my mind I heard the address “dot-com”, and a funny thing happened – the mental picture that flashed through my mind was not “.com”, but “.calm”.
I busted out laughing! The irony hit me, I was hearing ‘calm’, but in the moment of gerbil-wheeling the social tech I was feeling anything but calm.
How much calm and how much anxiety am I actually immersing myself in?
And how about you?
Is social media wrapping you in a blanket of calm…?
Social media and technology in general have surely brought that favorite Disney-ride song to fruition, “It’s a Small World”: with the tap of a key, you are connected to nearly every corner of the earth.
You are able to find like-minded folks, perhaps game with those whose language you might not share, or swap music, recipes and art.
It is like walking into a room full of your favorite people.
You may be one of the many who finds support, encouragement and guidance in the form of online groups. Such groups make it easy to find others who share your dreams, struggles and experiences, and thus are able to understand where you are coming from and offer tips (and vice-versa).
These types of groups are quite beneficial, especially for people who live far away from physical group gatherings, are unable to attend physical meetings due to schedule conflicts or health situations, or who may be seeking input on rare topics. You feel good having a community to reach out to, as well as a community to participate in.
Social media is also comforting.
When you need to hear that special song of yours - tap, tap, click…there it is. The music begins and you feel the weight lifting off your shoulders.
An old friend crosses your mind? You can reach out just like that and let them know you are thinking of them.
Think of the friendships that you have cultivated solely on-line too. You may never have spoken face-to-face, but you have shared your experiences and learned about one another so much so that you feel you can ”be there” for one another.
And you know what? Social media can be fun! It can provide a mini-escape to all the things that feed your soul and bring you a sense of joy and peace. Gift yourself some time to unwind with it.
Sit back, relax, and consciously welcome the connections, comfort and calm that are found in the realm of social media.
…Or is social media wrapping you in a mantle of angst?
As calming and comforting as social media and such technologies can be, they also have the power to cause anxiety and confusion - take relationships, for example.
You can nurture and build them on-line. You can also feel them erode.
A friend of mine once began to feel that another friend was not paying as much attention to her anymore online. My friend felt she was being avoided and she wracked her brain over what might have caused the disconnection.
Weeks, perhaps even months went by with my friend feeling confused and dejected before she actually ran into the other friend in person. In the end, the other friend had backed off from social media for a while. Her lack of response or connecting with my friend had nothing to do with my friend at all, yet had caused my friend much angst.
Relationships can also stumble when friends have differing opinions and share them on-line.
Yes, differing opinions are sometimes the spice of life, especially when shared with respect. But sometimes people forget to act respectfully on-line; perhaps because they are not face-to-face, perhaps because their opinions can be fueled by so many others (reactionary), and that can cause some tense situations.
Another thing that happens is the comparison game.
Sometimes you may find that you are falling into the trap of comparing yourself to others based upon what is happening on social media.
How many ‘likes’ did your post get vs. someone else’s? What types of comments are you receiving? What are others doing that you are not, or were not invited to do?
It can be challenging not to get sucked into this wave of ‘me vs. them’ when social media seems to be all about image. Nobody strives to be number one hundred.
And have you noticed the time warp that can happen while you are online?
Sometimes you feel crunched for time, as in ”so many sites to get to, not enough time, hurry, hurry, hurry!”.
Other times it feels like ten minutes have passed when you look at the clock and see it has been two hours. This leaves you feeling anxious over the time you have ”wasted” online when you had so many other things in the ”real” world to get done.
One more point to make…did you know that social media is addictive?
Think about the confusion and anxiety that must cause!
If you are addicted to social media, it is truly a crisis when you cannot access your accounts whenever you want. You may obsess over what you may be missing while not connected. You may be unable to concentrate on work, family and relationships. You may be so consumed by online relationships that your face-to-face relationships suffer.
Beware of the confusion and angst that may cross your path as you navigate the world of social media.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh or Aaaaaaaaaaaaah?
As with most things, social media can be super helpful and super harmful.
Much of it depends on how you approach it.
What is your purpose for participating on-line? Are you seeking approval from others? Are you looking for ways to share experiences with others?
- You are in control of what you share, whom you share with, and what you choose to accept and read.
- Be conscious of your beliefs, those things online you resonate with, and nurture them.
- Be purposeful in what you read, allow and share on your platforms.
- Set reasonable times aside for participating online and balance that out with setting times aside for the other things you enjoy offline.
- Embrace and honor relationships both on and offline.
The choice is yours.
Since my revelation the other day, I am much more aware of creating a ‘.calm’ (ahhhhhhhhhh!) experience for myself as I navigate the worlds of ‘.com’.
If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).