Compared to many of my peers, my digital footprint is relatively large but my engagement has been minimal. It’s a gift and curse in some ways. On the one hand, it’s great to be connected to some of the venues as they can be a great source of valuable information immediately. But on the other hand, social media can be relentlessly malicious and ruin entire careers, let alone, someone’s life. It’s as though people lay in wait to public shame someone the first chance they get; however, this can often lead to them being reversed shamed themselves. In any case, we’ve all heard the countless stories of someone losing their job, marriage, or even their life due to some altercation involving Facebook, Twitter, etc. To be honest, sometimes, it doesn’t shock me. In fact, I find incredibly bewildering that so many people become outraged when they hear companies such as Facebook, Google, etc. are monetizing via their data collection and surveying. It’s these very same people that more often than not, share of their life’s most intimate and personal details that are better left offline in the first place. It’s not so much ironic as it is hypocritical or flat out idiotic. But I get it. People use social media in many different ways or whatever suits their needs.
For me, getting involved in it was purely a way for me to network with people in the industry I wanted to become part of. And for the most part, it worked. I did end up meeting a lot of outstanding and like minded people. But in hindsight, I do believe I spent far too much time than I cared for trying to network in certain circles than I cared to or even needed to. But it didn’t land me my ultimate goal of landing the coveted dream job I had my eye on. So again, it was a gift and a curse scenario; I met a ton of cool people but not the job. Not to say I have any regrets about it. Because I’d much rather choose the friendships I picked up over the career job any day. But as life progressed, my life’s goal have progressed and altered as well. Now I really don’t have the time or desire to stay as connected to the world of places like Facebook and Twitter so much. Time constraint aside, I’d rather be meeting and engaging with people in person or hanging out with my son. The experience and joy you get from having a good time with friends and feeling will always trump any amount of likes and retweets someone gets, hands down.
I really have no stance on the issue other than what I know works for me. Many of peers work in customer facing roles, so it’s pretty critical for them to stay connected on a somewhat constant basis. And part me is jealous about that. Think how awesome (& grueling) it would be to get paid for spending 25%-50% of your day just doing Facebook / Twitter. It sounds like a great on the surface, but from a practical, everyday perspective; it’s a real grind, especially if you want to stay genuine. Not to mention how someone draws the line between their personal and professional engagements. That’s a headache I’d rather avoid altogether. In any case, like many things in life, the power of social media more often than not is only as strong as the power you give. Yes, there are those occasional embarrassing moments that go viral, it happens. But do yourself (and your dignity) a favor by taking a moment think about that witty comment or peculiar picture / video you were gonna post. Sometimes it’s better to let life happen in the moment and not try to capture it for the world to see.