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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Social Media Addiction

 I know most of us have a love/hate relationship with the Big Three; Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I for one have thoughts I assume will make brilliant, witty posts and share them on all three platforms. Then I'd sit back, and wait for the notoriety—not. As it was pointed out to me by the very intuitive Melissa Miller with Solstice publishing, your post is merely a blip in the airwaves after it's been released. Up until then, I'd always assumed my whimsical words would be greeted with admiration and a certain amount of awe. But she was right. As soon as the last letter slipped through my fingers and I hit post, another member of the social media frenzy had plastered a posting of their own, knocking mine into the graveyard of forgotten ideas.

I soon learned that I needed to be diligent if I was going to compete with the ever changing stream of thoughts, memes, and latest polls to see if  Buffy the Vampire Slayer should of chosen Angel over Spike. This new found knowledge came with a plethora of responsibility. No longer was my digital life carefree, I needed to stay connected—all the time. I started turning my phone on first thing in the morning, and then when that wasn't enough, I stopped shutting it at night. I'd get in the trilogy routine;  Facebook, Twitter and then Instagram. Always in that order. It didn't matter what time of day it was, the line-up never changed. I found myself spending more time looking at my phone then at my husband or the movie he'd just put on. I was obsessed. God forbid I'd get lost and forgotten in the midst of the million selfies and quirky comebacks. My integration into social promotion had to be stellar, spectacular, an explosion of the finest thoughts, words, pictures and cleverness, I could plaster in an hour—in hours of each day. After all, I'm an author. In charge of my destiny through saturation. Get noticed, get heard, get sales.

But then something happened. It was unexpected, unwanted, and undeserving. My mom had an accident. The world as we know it was turned upside down and inside out. The focus needed to shift; not only for me but for my entire family. Mornings spent with coffee and a few thousand friends on Facebook became trips to the hospital. Keeping up with the latest Twitter trend became hours of sitting by mom's bedside watching reruns of Murder She Wrote. And Instagram had fallen into the forgotten file of, I don't give a f---. I began to realize that the disconnect  was not the worse thing in the world. I knew this because one of the worst things was unraveling before my eyes with my moms health. What I had begun to learn, was balance. Remaining vital in the social community is part of what I do, who I am. But I came to see that I can do both. I just needed to let go a little. And being with mom, caring for her and enjoying my time with her, showed me that. The advice Melissa gave was right, it was my execution that needed a little toning. I doubt when she made that post that she thought I'd jump head first off the deep end and somehow land in the shallowest of water. I misinterpreted her words, forming a literal idea and running with it.

Now, I've learned to stay connected when I need be and set the phone down when I don't. The new rule I've created for myself is to put the phone away after 7 pm. It's difficult at times, old habits die hard. But then I remind myself of all the moments I might have missed with mom and all the ones I could miss now. Besides, everyone knows Buffy belongs with Angel. I don't need a poll to tell me that.

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