The Good, Bad, and Unhealthy of Social Networking
“Live in fragments no longer. Only connect . . .” - E.M. Forster, Howards End
This week we celebrated America’s birthday, better known as the 4th of July. For most, this holiday includes wearing tacky “red, white, and blue” attire, eating highly carcinogenic food, and consuming a beverage or three. Despite (and perhaps because of) all its excesses, it’s a day most Americans treasure since it provides an opportunity to personally connect with family and friends.
On the surface, social networking seems the perfect fast-food way to connect in a quick-fix society, but if social networking isn’t done right, it just doesn’t stick to my ribs. Case in point: I joined one very popular social networking site because everyone told me it was the thing to do. And I have to say, I liked it . . . for about a week.
Day one was great fun. I completed the basic information, decorated my homepage, loaded some pictures and even “friended” a few people. When the graph indicated I was 95% complete I felt accomplished. Before logging off for the day, I sent Cosmopolitan cocktails to a couple girlfriends and “poked” my hubby.
Phew, I was virtually exhausted!
Day two I logged in and had ten new friend requests waiting; two people I barely remembered from high school and eight people I didn’t know at all. Feeling the love, I confirmed them all.
Day three I was up to fifty friends. Two new unknown “friends” reached out; one invited me to be part of his business group and the other suggested I follow her on another network.
Days’ four and five, I checked in on my “friends.”
- Sally’s inner thighs were hurting from Pilates class.
- Jon, a professional speaker “friend,” wondered if anyone knew a group who needed motivation.
- Wanda was having sushi for lunch.
- Mark said he just finished his final chapter for his new book and that I could pre-order it.
- Dee-Dee was taking the kids to the park.
- Susan reported feeling energetic because of her new vitamins, “for more information contact her.”
You know how you can eat a big bag of cheese puffs and still feel hungry, realbuzz friends? I was craving sustenance and all I got was bloat.
Inspired by my newfound awareness, on day six I decided to call a friend, using old-fashioned long distance. We shared weekend plans and solved the problems of our world. And after a short one-on-one chat, I felt fat and happy from friendship -- and ready to tackle my day.
It’s easy to get caught up in the easy. Indeed, I have friends (real ones) who admit to being addicted to social networking, spending hours and hours at work and home online, even foregoing playing with their kids to “unwind.”
When done with a purpose, social networking can be a good . . . no a great thing. A good example is the realbuzz network which offers an atmosphere of good health – one that provides helpful information, motivation and an interactive social support system for likeminded wellness-seekers. You can interact; you can lurk, but the over-riding message is crystal clear: After you’ve had your fill, get moving!
I mean, what’s more healthful, realbuzz friends, taking a quiz to “discover what 80’s song best reflects your personality” or logging off and turning on the stereo to dance to 80’s music?
I choose door number two. And my cat, Max, agrees.
How about you, realbuzz friends? Can you see how easy it can be to log on to your computer, rather than “log on the miles”?
Until next time . . . an offline (and snorkeling in Key West) Mare
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