Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

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I have a love-hate relationship with social media these days. One year I gave it up for Lent, and I should have just kept driving in that direction. It’s a time sink of the worst order — a veritable black hole. Not to mention how it saps energy! (And creativity…)

That’s the bad news.

The love part of the equation is keeping in touch w/ the lives of all my friends & family who are soooo far away. My sons — on on each coast. My DIL, with my east coast son. My grandson, with them half-way across the country. My BFF, on the other coast. A dear cousin who lives in Arizona, friends from my former job whom I never see anymore, since I don’t attend work conferences. Not to mention a sister in Texas (at least she comes up regularly!), HER bff (who has become a kind of sister), and more former students, beloved colleagues, et al.

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via wikimedia

There are also the dear friends I’ve made through FB: the aunt of a dear girlfriend. The friends of my sisters. Several folks I’ve never met who read this blog. Through FB & Twitter, I can pretend I’m visiting with them. I can see the new garden art one has put up, and even tune in to the music another just bought. I can catch a short clip of my grandson jumping down a fireman’s pole (!), as well as check in on the health of a girlfriend who’s ailing.

With Twitter, I can even find out what people I admire enormously (but will never be friends with) think about various things. I follow several writers, as well as other artists. It’s a great way to keep in touch with trending art. Or publications I like.

But lately? There have been even more downsides than usual to social media, particularly FB. Political campaigns, warring candidate groups, and general rudeness and downright hate have left me heartsore. Family who follow men with the worst of motives (as evinced from their own words), and a pervasive aura of hate that fills the political arena. Even the ‘good guys’ are being mean…There’s so very much hate. I end up sick at heart.

And then something happens. Like a dear friend asking if someone would like to visit with her; she needs to talk. And being able to message her immediately — the welcome distance of text vs the intimacy of a phone conversation. Without FB, I would never have realised she was hurting. I doubt she had the energy to email me.

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via google

So I’m torn. I wonder what you all — readers & friends — do when it all just gets too negative? I’m a firm believer in the voice of the universe: it will talk to you, if just pay attention. So, when a friend needs me, & it comes through on social media, I’m thinking I can’t do what I had intended, and just quit. Can I? There are people I love out there.

We’re all connected. Just like with FB, or Twitter. Or Instagram, or whatever. It’s just not electronic, and it’s not always visible. The angry woman who responded today to a post I made weeks ago? She’s connected via that hot line of anger. I strengthened that thread when I wrote her back, trying to answer her arguments (& her anger) with evidence & firm attention. We’re all connected through a vast web, and FB is just the most obvious portion of it. So maybe the answer isn’t whether to disengage from FB, but how to engage w/ the entire web in a more useful manner. One that doesn’t make me feel like a burnt-out bulb. One that somehow isn’t feeding into the darkness.

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