Media Monday: Social Media Part 2

We’ve had an … interesting year or two in our family.

And I’ve been thinking about social media some more since my post about it a couple of weeks ago. I’m okay with being authentic and honest and telling people I’m struggling with something. At least in person. The problem comes when what I’m dealing with isn’t my personal hardship. fb

2014 was a year of legal wrangling. We walked a journey from arrest to sentencing, with stops in bail, pre-trial hearings, plea bargains, and victim statements. Even though we were on the roller coaster, it wasn’t our amusement park. (Yes, I know I’m mixing my metaphors and dropping similes all over the place, but work with me here.) So I didn’t feel I could talk on social media about the experience.

2015 has been a year of health issues. We have a loved one in a fight for her life against a nasty cancer. Stud Muffin has been treated for a-fib cardiac issues and an intestinal abscess. Other family members have had eye/vision problems, cardiac issues, back injuries, broken bones. twitter

The tension I feel is how can I post a chipper update about my excitement over a new flavor of lip balm when my heart is breaking because we just heard chemo didn’t work again and we’re on to another more dangerous treatment.

Those who know me personally and know the truth may think me shallow to be talking about mango vs. marshmallow flavored chapstick. While those who don’t me may think I have nothing serious going on and I can’t relate to the stresses a crisis brings.

It’s a 21st century problem for sure.

Every social media post I make, on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram is given some consideration before I click “Post.” I strive for a mix of humor and honesty, mundane and momentous, personal and promotion.

It’s a tricky balance and I’m not at all confident that I’m not constantly on the verge of falling flat on my face.

How honest do you think others are on social media? I’ve had friends leave Facebook because they got tired of seeing everyone else’s bright and shiny lives. I’ve unfollowed a few people who’s posts were continually full of either self-promotion

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or a cleaned up version of life that can’t possibly be true. And a few who moan ceaselessly about how hard life is for them. They’ve all obviously missed the balance and have toppled over to one side or the other.

I remember a few months ago the Kardashians took some heat for tweeting about something inane (a new fragrance?) right after a tragic event overseas (an earthquake? – the details are fuzzy). People were outraged over the callousness. But the tweets were pre-scheduled to be broadcast at a certain time. No one deliberately picked that moment. This story is often told to urge against pre-scheduling social media and it’s why I rarely schedule tweets anymore. Blog posts are another story. 😉

But it’s a real risk, appearing uncaring or even stupid because of a post or tweet.

What do you think? How honest should we be on social media? How transparent? Where’s the boundary when what we share involves others?

Media Monday: Social Media

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Tumblr. Linked In. Stumbleupon. Google+. Pinterest.

The options to stay connected with friends, family, readers, your tribe, your peeps, your BFFs and your fellow sojourners

seems to be exploding exponentially every month.

Keeping up some of them is daunting enough, forget trying to do all of them. Or at lease doing all of them well.

Social media has been around for a while now. And the subject, at least for writers in my circles, has been beat to a bloody pulp.

Yet we still worry if we’re doing enough. Are we protecting our family’s privacy? To tag or not to tag? Personal Facebook page or Author page?

For me, I’ve had to rethink some strategies and I’ve settled on a few guidelines that work for me.

I’ve chosen two social media outlets to focus my time and efforts on. For now, it’s Facebook and Twitter. I drop in occasionally on Instagram and Pinterest. I maintain a Google+ and Linded In profile but do little there.

Some authors believe the point of social media is to sell books. While that would be nice, for me it’s about connecting. Making friends, learning things, finding new authors. In other words, it’s about people, not numbers.

Life now moves at a frenetic pace but as humans on this planet, we’re still wired for personal connections. The internet and social media makes it both harder and easier to stay connected. Easier because we can chat with an acquaintance in another country on a whim. Harder because sometimes it’s easier to chat about Downton Abbey with a stranger halfway around the world than it is to resolve a personal conflict with a family member.

But when you’re sick with the mother of all flu bugs and can’t leave the bed, it’s not @BringBackSybil_43 who’s going to fix you pudding and chicken soup.

Social media is amazing, but it’s no substitute for good old-fashioned personal relations.

What do you think? Are you overwhelmed with social media options? Or are you a social media-aholic?