Monthly Archives: March 2019

Social Media: The Tail that Wags the Dog?

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Which is First, the Chicken or the Egg?

It’s funny how we spend a majority of our lives trying to “belong” and “fit in” with the right crowd. This happens during childhood, but it also continues when we become adults. In the world of social media, this need to “belong” is even stronger, both for adults and kids (at least those with access). I used to think I was one of those people that liked social media because it allowed me to connect with friends and family, post funny pictures of my kids, and share healthy living tips on my business page. But the last 24 hours had me thinking differently about social media, and how I belong more to it than it does to me.

Let me explain what I mean here a bit. As some of you may know, Instagram and Facebook, maybe even Twitter, had pretty rough days this week. Accounts were down, including mine, and rumors where flying about what was happening at headquarters. Who was winning and who was loosing the battle for control. All the while, faithful patrons were waiting with angst to get back on to personal and business accounts and “re-connect” with the world. On Wednesday, both my personal and business Instagram accounts went really wonky. I couldn’t post and nothing was refreshing. Finally after a day of trying to figure out if it was Wi-Fi related or just bad service, I needed to log out. When I did that, suddenly I couldn’t log back in. Message after message read “ERROR.” Suddenly I panicked. I panicked because I thought of all the hard work I had put into my business account to get it up-to-par and gain followers. I panicked because the information I had was now gone. I panicked because pictures I had shared were now unavailable to me, and I didn’t know who had control of them. What would happened if I could never get back in? It’s not like any of the social media sites actually offer contact support for their programs. You are at the mercy of whomever sits behind their keyboards.

Finally by 10:30 that evening the veil was lifted and I was allowed back into BOTH my personal and my private accounts. Praise Jesus!!! And I did just that-I had prayed hard that day not to just get my stuff back, but for calmness. To not get anxious and stressed out, as is my norm in situations that I can’t control. So I had really kept my cool. But I was also glad all my work to try and build this personal business of mine had not been lost.

But the Story Continues…

Fast forward to the next day and I am posting on my business account what I wanted to post the previous day on Instagram (both my Facebook and Instagram are linked). Picture placed, post written, and…click. It was up and loaded. Then suddenly when I went to respond to a comment on my Facebook business page, I was kicked out. I mean I was completely logged out and a message came up saying a picture needed to be reviewed by the security team and until then I was denied access to Facebook in any way. I was completely shunned from the “social crowd.” All of my accounts on all my devices were locked up. Suddenly I felt isolated. I felt really stressed and upset because I couldn’t understand how a picture of my previous day’s veggie burger and Kale Tonic was considered to be profane. I mean, if you are a junk food junkie, maybe, but seriously?

For over 24 hours I was not allowed access to either my personal Facebook account or my business account. I couldn’t communicate with clients, friends, family members, etc. I was an outcast, an outsider to the social media world. I had my Instagram account, but a lot of stuff is connected to Facebook. We take it for granted that we are always going to have it, so we link various accounts with our social media page instead of giving a simple e-mail address. When that account is locked up, nothing works!

During my “lockdown time,” my mind kept swirling with thoughts of “maybe I got hacked,” or “what if Facebook eliminates my page completely?” It was a truly helpless feeling in the sense that I had lost total control over my personal and my business information. All because of some picture they had to review. And I had followed all the rules. I had even changed my e-mail and password two days earlier because I wanted to make sure to keep my accounts safe. I have all the security measures placed on my social media accounts to prevent fraudulent activity. But wow, couldn’t see any of it, and I couldn’t get in touch with anyone who works there because Facebook, like Instagram, doesn’t have a contact section on their web site.

I did find a link to help guide me to the right submission page so at least I could submit a form to get in touch with someone, anyone. I sent that form in twice within a 5 hour period hoping to get someone’s attention. Whatever needed to happen or whatever the security team needed to asses, by this afternoon my accounts were finally up and running again. And there was another Praise Jesus moment! That I had actually kept pretty calm, although this afternoon was hard. I tried vigilantly not to think of all the pictures of my father I had posted after his death, or the volunteer organizations I like to support on social media through sharing and tagging. I tried not to think of clients I couldn’t respond to on my business page. I just kept thinking, Lord, keep me calm. You’ve got this all. Even when people tried to “find” me on social media, it was like I totally disappeared. I had completely vanished, and not from my own choosing! I had my friend tell me, “it’s going to be okay, Sam. The sun is out, you have a roof over your head, and your family is safe.” Total. Perspective. She was absolutely right, too.

So now that I type this up and really think about the last 24 hours, it amazes me how co-dependent we have become as a society on social media. I am not saying everyone is like this, because social media is definitely a generational thing. But when you are on the other side of the table and your account is suddenly deemed “unworthy,” you feel like the awkward kid standing in the corner at the school dance wondering why no one else wants to talk to them. Are we really that dependent on these programs to make us feel worthy? How is it that much of our life is centered around social media applications?

It’s definitely something worth pondering over and assessing because until this moment, I didn’t realize just how much I looked to see those notifications pop up on my phone. Maybe I need to make sure that if I am using social media, I need to house it mentally in a certain place in my mind. So if one day the entire system crashes, it doesn’t feel like my life completely depends on it. I won’t feel “shunned” or left out of the cool club in school. It will still be me, and my business will still flourish, and friends and family will still know that I love them all dearly.

So I ask you, how does social media affect your life? Are you a total addict to it? Or do you like to use it for recreational purposes, like keeping in touch with old friends and such? And when life takes a turn and you are not in the driver’s seat, how do you react to it?

Until next time,

Cheers!

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