Monday morning I read an article that covered the AAP’s most recent findings that Facebook can lead to depression in teens and tweens.
With all the emphasis teens and tweens put on having friends and being accepted and seen as cool, this makes total sense to me.
(What I linked to above is not the article I read yesterday, just so you know. I can’t find that one now, but I know it wasn’t the AAPs actual release. Anyway…moving on.)
Here’s the thing. This doesn’t just affect teens these days.
I’m here to say it sometimes bothers me to lose friends and followers in my various realms of social media.
Sure, adults are supposed to be all self-aware and secure and content with their lives to the point that friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter don’t matter.
But they kind of do. Sort of. A little bit. Especially for bloggers. (Stay with me.)
Teens will “friend” nearly anyone who requests them. Even people they will openly confess to not knowing. Some of my students have upwards of 1,000 “friends” on Facebook and are all excited whenever the moment comes up that they can share their number of friends with someone else.
While I’m way more judicious than them, I won’t deny that I like having “friends” on Facebook and Twitter. (I mean, while I’m being all honest here…) I’m smart enough to realize that I’m not actually “friends” with all of these people, but I enjoy being able to “see” some of these people nonetheless.
I love technology and social media. Love it. I think I love it so much because I crave the kind of interaction with people that I don’t seem to get very frequently in the real world. Facebook and Twitter provide those interactions for me.
Facebook and Twitter and blogging all give me a space for my voice to be heard and for me to listen to and connect with others.
Social media sites and online interactions are the new malls and parking lots and hang-out spots. They allow for the rapid transmission of good, useful information and communication and allow people (bloggers…me) to share their personal triumphs (some of which the Universe could do without reading about) in a manner that allows them to receive (usually) positive feedback from their peers.
On the other hand, the “unfriending” and “unfollowing” and “blocking” can be hurtful. (Yes, I’m serious.)
It’s like ending a relationship and not telling the other party that the relationship has ended. A break-up with no explanation or formality.
And when that end is discovered, there’s a moment of shock like “::gasp:: I cannot believe so-and-so unfriended me!!” If you can even figure out who so-and-so IS. Followed by feelings of doubt and wondering what it is we might have done to cause such a change in the relationship. If we could’ve done something differently to prevent that change. That unfollowing and unfriending and blocking.
That’s a conundrum, right?
Would I blog if no one read my words? Yes, probably. In the beginning I wrote only for myself, and I still do for the most part. But now that I know there are people out there reading what I write, I’m not just writing for me anymore.
Denying the presence of my readers as they affect my writing would be like saying my readers don’t matter. They very much DO matter. YOU DO matter. While my readers may not define who I am as a person or a blogger, y’all help define this little space I’ve created through your input and your audience.
So, how do we as bloggers stay less-invested in our online lives to the point that the coming and going of friends and followers doesn’t affect us? Is that possible? Should it be something to which we aspire? Are we negating the impact of our audience if we say we’re not bothered when we see our numbers go down?
What do you think?