Maybe social media is good

I wasn’t sure what the point was. I’m 42 years old.  I didn’t get Facebook. Why would I want people to know what I’m doing all the time? It seemed like an invasion of privacy. I used to get paid for writing. Now everyone is an opinion writer and most people do it for free. I resented that.

I started blogging when someone asked me for help starting a blog. She asked me for advice because I’m an opinion writer, but I knew nothing about blogging. So I started a blog to learn how to do it to see if I could give her some tips. Immediately, I found blogging gratifying. You feel like you have something to say, you say it, and then you put it out to the world. It’s easy, its free, and anyone can do it. No pitching editors. The gatekeepers are gone. That’s pretty cool in some ways. It solves the issue that is frustrating to so many writers as far as distribution. You need to communicate to someone. Even if no one reads what you wrote, putting it out there is key.

Of course, that has a negative side. Blogging can be messy, sloppy, spontaneous. I used to have editors. And the commenters, don’t get me started. Anonymity breeds thoughtlessness. Especially, it seems, when unnamed commenters respond to women who blog.

But everyone is writing now, and that’s good. Instead of making a phone call, people send emails or texts. And again, the negative side is people may be communicating less directly, hiding behind technology. But it is kind of cool that everyone is writing– on Facebook, Twitter etc. Also, I find Twitter and FB develop some writing skills. You have to be so economical with your words. That’s a useful practice for any writer.

Then there’s the whole ChapStick experience. ChapStick took down its sexist ad because of the power of social media. If not for social media, that ad would be everywhere right now. Social media got JCPenney to stop selling in sexist T shirt. FB and Twitter facilitate political and social movements from the revolution in Egypt to Occupy. Bank of America and Wells Fargo got rid of their new, ridiculous fees in part because customers used social media to express mass distaste. As with Netflix. Consumers have more power so big business has less.

Now I like Facebook. I love keeping in touch with my friends and relatives, seeing photos and getting updates. It’s also great to use FB to connect with people who care about the same issues that I do.

I still need to make some money though.

What do you think? Has social media improved your life? Do you feel more connected or more isolated? Does it make the world a better place?

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