Sunday, July 6, 2014

Some thoughts on Social Media…

Note: This is a very different post for me.  I normally don’t post my thoughts about these types of things online… but these issues have been on my mind in recent weeks.  If you just want to quilt, please skip this post!

Hi everyone,

The quilting community has heavily embraced social media and it has been a really great thing.  It is seems strange that something so big and all-encompassing has actually made the world seem like a smaller place, but I think venues like Instagram and Facebook have accentuated the similarities between us all.  We’ve seen amazing things happen on these platforms that couldn’t have happened ten years ago, from people sharing creative ideas and thoughts to online communities providing support to those who have been sick or are going through a particularly tough time. It has been nothing short of incredible.

But having a teenage son and daughter has caused me to think about the influence of social media a lot lately.  Our kids are growing up in an age where every aspect of their lives is public in a way they probably won’t realize for years to come.  And while the “selfie” phenomenon can be fun, its overuse is disturbing.  What does it say about our society, or even about the way our daughters (especially) perceive or choose to project themselves?  Comments like, “You’re perfect!” followed by “You’re more perfect” are so perfunctory they are almost meaningless, and yet their popularity says so much about our times and culture.

A selfie, however well-staged, does not project the totality of who person is.  So, what “post-able things” might be fun to share?

  1. The world around us.  Have you been somewhere amazing lately and just have to share?
  2. Friends.  What do especially value in a particular person or people?  (Not yourself.)
  3. What are your hobbies?  What do you like to do in your free time?
  4. Something funny that happened to you.  (My mother - hi Mom! -  is forever telling people about the time she sat on a frappuccino.  I’d worry about embarrassing her here, but she probably has already told you so no worries.)
  5. Something beautiful that you experience.  Maybe there was a beautiful garden you walked through or a store display that was really amazing?  
  6. Pay it forward.  If you have a great idea for making the world a better place share it!  Maybe this morning you helped someone feel part of a group or maybe they helped you!  Just thinking about these things may start a trend!


If you have teens (or if you don’t) what are your thoughts?  I’d love to hear.

Thanks for listening.  Back to quilting the next time… I promise!  Have a good weekend!
Amanda

21 comments:

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

my children are grown but I have grandchildren facing their teen years and the world is becoming stranger and stranger to me for them to be facing now with social media - just several weeks ago a practical joke was played on my grandson by a girl he has never met but is "friends" with on facebook - she had another friend tell him that she had committed suicide - now what kind of "joke" this was is beyond me - he was disturbed to say the least and when he found out the truth he took her off his "friends" list I don't like how kids as young as 9 or younger are on facebook and other social media

Kristen King said...

My son is turning 14 and he has no desire to be on Facebook. In his words "I don't need the whole world knowing what I'm doing every minute" for which I am so grateful. I share my Facebook page with him if there is something he wants to check out.

Sherri said...

I really think this was a great post...(I usually don't comment on non-quilting posts, but you expressed the issue so well)! I think the "Selfie" issue is rather disturbing. There have been some great articles in the New York Times about where this cultural trend might be taking us as a society. And since my "day job" is teaching English 101 and 102 at a local community college, I see this trend on the increase with my students. I was absolutely shocked to find out that 100% of my students raised their hands when I asked how many of them thought being famous was extremely important to them.

Lori said...

I totally agree with your thoughts. Too many teens and younger are given so much independence instead of guidance. They just aren't learning how to make good choices. A lot of "adults" are posting garbage all over social media too.

Lisa E said...

Wow, great post. I have 2 teenage daughters who (thankfully) have a minimal presence on social media. I had to laugh at the "You're perfect!" description, because it is so TRUE. I think a lot of the problems lie with the social media company itself -- yes I'm talking about you Facebook. Unfortunately, many adults also use social media in an annoying way; I don't need to know what you're doing every hour of the day!

Tamie said...

So interesting to think about. My generation (early 50's) so valued privacy and then to see my children (mid-20's down to 17) and how open they are is really interesting. Luckily my youngest, the only one at home, is not too out there but I still wonder where all this is going.

ShirleyC said...

I'm glad you posted this. I have to say some days the "selfies" are ridiculous, but it's not all kids or young people.
I really don't get it. It's one thing if you change your profile picture, but to post selfies 2 or 3 times a day is crazy.
One that bothers me is a young lady from here. She has a really good body - no denying - but she posts pics of herself working out in skimpy outfits, and she has young kids.
I know lots of people who are letting their young children have FB accounts, and they also have iPhones. I may offend some, but I think that is just asking for trouble.
I do know a lot of older teens 17-19 have left FB because of us old people. LOL I honestly don't send any friend requests to younger people. I figure what they do is their business.
My son left FB because he said he got tired of the drama, and I can understand that. I enjoy it because of my sewing friends, and getting to keep in contact with people I haven't seen in years.

Mdm Samm said...

Hello Amanda...a blessed post this is....I sadly regret that I think Facebook is here to stay ...even sadder still to see what it has done to many youth as well as those seeking fame...I have known all along that what you put out there never ever gets erased....As so many don't worry how this will impact their future --many are already having regrets...I hear about it constantly from my childrens friends. They have not secured employment because of what their future employers found on them...If they think this does not impact their future, they are sadly mistaken. We have always been a family that guards our privacy for many reasons so they have never fallen into the selfie fad...
I am so relieved by that...none of us do facebook or instagram....there are so many who gather photos and use them for ...welll let me just say....if many knew they would never ever post photos of themselves or children again. I think people share far too much of themselves and then wonder why they are so depressed..Soon a study will be completed on the effects of social media on ones well being. WE need to talk about this more....although like everything else, it comes on death ears..until.......they lost a job or cannot secure one, try to get a loan, try to get into a club... I have seen first hand what this over sharing as done to even some of our online friends....
Good points you and many of your friends have brought up....so thank you for a great discussion...

Christina said...

Thank you for writing about this topic. I especially appreciate your suggestions for replacement ideas. Wonderful!!!!!

JudyCinNC said...

A wonderful topic to start a conversation. Perhaps more adults should lead by example. Children and adults alike would benefit by your suggestions. It seems that no one has a clue about the consequences of too much information and the trouble and heartache the written word or picture can cause.

DH and I are retired with law enforcement backgrounds and we ONLY have a pre-paid cell phone - which costs $100 per year and is used only for travel. Being disconnected from the matrix is a wonderful thing for us.

The quilt industry certainly jumped on the social media bandwagon- as for us it is okay if we don't know every little thing that happens every minute of every day about everyone and every thing. Just saying!!! Judy C

DuAnne said...

I agree whole heartedly! It's out of hand now and I don't see it getting any better. Catching up with friends and family is great and activities you enjoy but beyond that, I don't want to get sucked into all the other things going on that are so weird and crazy, not to mention dangerous! My son, 34 isn't on FB and will probably never be as he too believes there is TMI on your personal information and it goes everywhere behind the scenes that we aren't aware of. ..Who reads all those terms and conditions anyway! So Amanda, thanks for the topic today and as you can tell by the lengthy responses, we all have strong opinions! Happy Monday everyone.

Carla said...

I love to keep up with far away family and friends on facebook, but my "20 something" children have very little interest in it. That may be because I am on facebook...lol They may be tweeting and instagramming, but I doubt it. They say it's for us old folks. haha. Who has time?!

a1angiem said...

Oh, Amanda! I am so with you on this one. I hate how my daughters feel the need to continually post pictures of themselves - and yes, they have to be perfect, complete with filters. They are so much more than their looks and I have pointed out that fact many times. We tell them the pictures are exactly like the day's before, why post again? It's so narcissistic and shallow and the comments of "oh, you're so beautiful ", "no, you are" drive me crazy. Blech! Anyway, great post...and I was shocked that you have teenagers (too young!)

Carol said...

Great post! All of the above comments say just what I would say. I have seen people not get jobs because of the stupid things they post on FB, but I love FB for the connections to distant relatives and friends it has given me.

ruthq2013 said...

HI Amanda,
I agree with you totally. I have 2 teenage boys and one of them drives me crazy with wanting to be on FaceBook constantly.
I also try to teach them to be responsible and monitor what you say on there but they think they know it all.
I, too, do not like the "selfies." Being a teen is a selfish stage but I hope that many come through and realize that other people are important as well.

Stephanie said...

Amen! I thought a lot about what you said and how you eloquently said it. I have purposefully stayed on the edge of social media. Yes, I have a FaceBook page, it's the only way I see what's going on with my family. My 20 year old uses Instagram in an appropriate way so far, he loves finding new foods and cooking so he's always sending these finds to friends. But after reading your post I think I can use Social Media for Good, not the ridiculous...I'm over 50, you don't want to see pictures of me! But maybe I will start to use it to bring awareness to the wonders of quilting and sewing. I think I will start by finishing one of Amanda's project from the Craftsy class I enrolled in. Then I'll post that as my entry into Social Media. That's for letting me vent!

Rebecca Grace said...

Very interesting post, Amanda. I didn't even know you had kids. Now I'm even MORE impressed by your accomplishments! :-) I have two sons, one about to turn 11 and the other is 13 1/2. We have ALL KINDS of technology-related problems, from googling "big boobs" on Dad's computer (not realizing that Dad can and will pull up the search history!) to posting comments on google plus that are not as funny as young sir thinks they are. Thank goodness boys aren't as much into the whole selfie craze, but I had to stop writing about them on my blog when my older son complained that his friends found my blog posts when they googled him. I don't even know how that is possible, since I was careful to only use his first name.

Anyway, my niece (coincidentally also named Amanda) recently graduated from Smith College and she and her friends all had FB accounts full of the usual silly nonsense, but they were all using nicknames instead of their real names. Someone at the college advised them in their freshman year to do that, I think, so that their bar photos and dorm party escapades wouldn't come up when their future employers googled them someday. It's probably good advice in general for kids to use fake names online, and not create accounts using their real names until they are adults and they are ready to create an online presence that supports what they are trying to do professionally.

Brandy Pettit said...

Thank you for putting into words what rattles around in my head about this whole social media thing. I completely agree that people should share more than just "pretty pictures". I have a couple teenage cousins who seem to live on FB and the garbage that comes out of their posts has made me realize their level of self esteem. I also am concerned for their future job status, as I see a lot of underage drinking happening, and am aware of employers researching people's pages to get a feel for their personal lives. I'm 28 and have been on FB for 7 years (wow, it's been around that long now!) and tend to post about our hobbies mainly. If I want to share personal stuff, I call the person I know I can trust with it, not blab it to the universe!! Anyway, thanks for starting this conversation, I hope more people get involved.
~Brandy

Linda said...

You are right on, Amanda! Society today is too self centered. We need to branch out and think of others. I fear we are teaching our kids that the world revolves around them. (I spent my children's first few years trying to teach them that it didn't!)

✾Jamie Lee Cooley✾ said...

This is the first time I've seen your blog and I clicked right away on this! Just recently I was going to sign up for an Instagram account because I feel like I'm missing out on so much with my online and guild friends. But I read through the user agreement and was stunned at how personal info and pictures are stored. If you live in a European country that bans your personal information from being stored, Instagram simply transfers the info to a country without those laws. I got rid of my Facebook account the same day since it's basically owned by the same entity. And you can't even delete your Facebook account, you can only suspend it but can restart it anytime by simply logging in again. I'm not smart enough or a mastermind to figure out why companies need to store personal info ad infinitum, but there's a reason and I'm sure it's a greedy one. My oldest child is only 8 but she has no idea about social media or video games or technology in general. Sometimes I feel like she might be at a disadvantage later in life socially or technologically, but I think as a parent I need to protect her.

✾Jamie Lee Cooley✾ said...

PS I live your Modern Lace line of fabric!