Being Social. Old School…meet New School.
An article about stick ball and kick the can? And what does that have to do with social media? I know it sounds silly, but please read on. It gets interesting.
Old School. The Back Story.
I grew up in Nebraska in the 1960’s. Lincoln, actually. The part I cherish most about my childhood was living on the base. My father was in the Air National Guard and my mother stayed at home. It’s a time I remember fondly. We lived on a real military base. That still makes me smile. I remember how important I felt and how proud I was of my dad every time we had to stop at the gate to enter the base. He would show his military I.D. while proudly sporting all those “bars” and stripes on his uniform. I loved when the guards would wave us through and let us pass. It was like I was entering a special world.
I remember elementary school, not so fondly, but fondly. Does that make sense? Back then it was called General Arnold Elementary School. It was 1965 and I was a kindergartener. I was the only Black kid in school…that sucked, I can’t lie. Not only did I struggle with some of the kids, but also some of the adults and teachers. It was cool, though, because the kids came from all over the country! I remember one German kid named Dieter, and I had these two neighbor kids who were French. I didn’t understand the dynamics of where they came from or why, but I remember I loved their accents.
It was a time when religion in schools was mandatory and required. Every morning we bowed our heads for morning prayer, recited the “Pledge of Allegiance” to the flag, then waited for the daily announcements from the big wall speaker. We would hear about the days events and lunch menu…then, school was on!
I guess we lived “down the hill”. I remember our carport and that my dad would hide Christmas presents in the carport shed. Yep. I remember because I got my hide tanned after accidently finding the hiding place and then asking my dad…”why in the world is there a purple bike in the shed?” Innocent enough. 🙂
We even had our own chapel on base. I remember once I got kicked out of Sunday School for asking too many questions about the bible. Gee whiz! I was only age 7 there bouts. I thought I was merely “asking”…they told my dad I was “questioning” the bible. Oops.
Just so you know, I still ask too many questions about a lot of things! I can’t help it – I’m inquisitive and I’m nosey. It’s a blessing and a curse. 🙂
I know you’re waiting for it. You’re asking yourself right now, “What’s she yapping about today”?
Stick Ball, Kick The Can…and other Social Media
New School. The Now Story. Did you stick with me?
So what the heck am I ranting about today? Stick Ball and Kick the Can, silly! It’s what we called “being social” back in the day. The school. The neighborhood. The church. Playing and making up our own games, like stick ball and kick the can! Being social used to mean playing and interacting with friends (usually outdoors unless it was raining) AND with adults (but only when you were asked). We had to learn to be “seen and not heard” – in essence we learned to be respectful around our elders. We learned to interact with manners and decorum…and we had to use “full sentences”. LOL!
As for playing? Well, that was a free for all. You got kicked out after breakfast, and you stayed out. You would stop for lunch (your place or at a friends). Then, back outside and you better have your butts home before the street lights came on. In a nut shell, we were encouraged and made to socialize back in the “Good Ole Days“.
Not everyone was popular. Not everyone “liked” you and that was okay – you learned to deal with it. “Pinning” something usually meant on the Donkey at a birthday party. Not everyone was picked for the team…and not everyone got a trophy. You learned how to take rejection, your learned consequences and to “buck up”, practice and get better for next time.
Social media is the same kind of animal – with a different skin. It’s still interacting, but bulked up on steroids! The interacting is instant! You can keep up with family, friends, old co-workers, your kids. You can share your life, your wedding, your anniversary. The photos! Holy Smokes! You can share all those photos and videos in the “right here, right now”. Ingenious!
You can meet new people. Market yourself and look for that next career move. Converse with like-minded individuals. Keep up with the latest news and world happenings. You can “book mark” your favorite websites and “pin” onto others who have the same interests! The list is virtually endless.
The downside to all of this? Where’s the face-to-face time? How do you learn to play well with others…when there are no others? How do you learn to socialize when you don’t see or talk to actual people. Oh, I forgot…
SKYPE! Silly me. LOL!
I’m beginning to really wrap my head around why social media and networking is taking the world by storm. On my Facebook I get to see friends from WAY back. All of my friends are there (including all of my ex’s), and I miss them! I can’t afford to go see my friends or family as often as I’d like, but I can find them – they can find me, anytime, anywhere.
The Business of Being Social
As I grow my business and help others do the same, I realize the importance of leveraging social media to reach target markets. Just like reaching out and interacting with family and friends, it has become necessary to do the same with business contacts, customers and clients.
We have a need to connect. To share. To learn. To reach out to like-minded individuals – a hobby, or quest. To be part of a group. To discover new interests and content. Social media and networking have answered this need and will continue to do so.
Even us baby boomers are getting on the band wagon. Social media keeps us in touch with our grandkids, kids, old class mates. We online date, we research, we join “boards” (and not Board of Directors). We look for jobs and network with business associates. We’re upgrading to iPads, iPhones, Smartphones, E-readers…the list goes on and on. And don’t forget…us baby boomers lead the technology revolution with computers (read BS Fact #2). We have our pulse on technology, and it’s fun!
The Downside Reality
Of course, there’s also the dark and dreary downside to social networking. The good meets evil. The hackers, the stalkers, the haters and extremists. The defamation of character so easily spread with the click of a button. Remember the old saying: “stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” Well. Truth be told…real words, just like the words from social media can, and does, hurt. There are no take backs.
What about that timeline platform that shows how long you’ve “been absent” and unsocial. The silent question is hanging out there. Are you absent because you’re unsocial? Do you not care about your “friends”? Maybe you died and didn’t tell anyone (sorry…just kidding, sort of). Then there is the downgrading of value systems, bullying, and bad language. For those who are addictive by nature, the distraction of social media can feed our psyche. There are the lurkers, the lost productivity, those that use it to spend hours away from their families, and those that retreat and hide from the outside world. These disadvantages come cloaked with the clandestine reality of little to no emotional connections, and possibly gives license to being rude and hurtful.
With all of this connectedness, we can begin to feel disconnected. Weird, but true. Quality conversations have gone by the wayside and is replaced with short snippets of text and emotionless emoticons that muddy up understanding and thoughtfulness that real interaction can provide.
The Conclusion – Part 1
Looking at the history of being social has been an interesting trip for me. My friends will tell you (actually, anyone who knows me), that I’m a social animal, a beast. I Love People. I love being funny, and making them laugh. I love being there spiritually and emotionally when they need me. I’m the one who will always lend that ear to someone who needs it.
But I gotta be honest. You’re probably not going to fine me on social media sites often. Look all you want. It takes up too much of my time, and sometimes my “friends” become frustrated when I don’t keep answering back on their posts and continuing with “long conversations”. Or they think I don’t like them anymore or they take it personal when I haven’t responded to a message. And there is the part of me who has to “be fair”. If I comment on one post or reach out to one friend, shouldn’t I reach out to more?
I used to feel guilty about my lack of participation, but I don’t any more. Too much social media made me feel like they were in control of my time, and not me. Silly, I know. But that’s the addictive side I hide. The addiction of guilt.
The Conclusion – Part 2
Social media is the new buzz word for business development. Okay, maybe not so new. But what a powerful platform to be able to share your passion, knowledge and expertise. It’s also a good place to share recipes. 🙂 I like those things. I love that you can connect with like-minded individuals and “grow” your network and business beyond the scope of family and friends. I love that I can find and read things that, to me, are interesting. I gravitate towards new and groundbreaking information, and I love to use it to keep my pulse on what’s happening in the world, such as keeping up to date on the political climate of the world. Also keep in mind, social media should not be your only choice for marketing your business. Don’t scare away your “friends list”. Diversify!
All my ranting put aside, I still give social media a THUMBS UP. I definitely see value in connecting and hanging out with like minded people, and I find it more engaging than hanging out in a bar. Do I miss my old fashioned days of socialization? YOU BET! But I love that my world has expanded beyond my neighborhood and community.
Here at Wealthy Affiliate we have a robust community. I love hanging out in there (you can find my profile here). I’m the little hippie grannie in the upper right-hand corner. Our community is full of nurturing “helpers” who assist and support each other in learning how to start, grow and be successful with our businesses.
I do love the interaction. I write blogs there, help out with questions, participate in trainings and webinars, and sometimes I just PM (private message) a homie and just connect. But…I schedule my time only 1 or 2 partial days per week and I stay pretty dedicated to that schedule. On those days I engage, I add people to my network, and reach out to anyone who needs me. Now, do I only do those 2 days exclusively? No. I’m there when needed. But I’ve learned when to put blinders on and focus on building my business. I won’t let it distract me.
Well, now. I’m done ranting for today. I got kinda long-winded, didn’t I? It’s easy to write about something fun, and this was a fun article today. I got to go back in time, research my old “stomping grounds” remember some funny stories, then “share” them here, with you. How social of me!
Until next time…