What About Social Media?

I read this article about social media last night, written by Rachel Young, PhD, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Studies.

It made me think about my WordPress blog and my YouTube accounts. I ask myself what I’m doing with them.

I like to think I’m doing the right things with them. I use a sense of humor and try to use common sense. I never drone on about politics because I feel bad about what’s happening with it most of the time. I don’t want to spread that around.

I stopped accepting comments on YouTube years ago because all I seemed to get were spammers. Frankly, I get a lot of that on my blog as well. But I also have commenters whose opinions I respect.

I used to have accounts with Twitter, Facebook (I guess that’s called something else now?), and LinkedIn. I dropped all of them a few years ago, mainly because all I did mostly was copy my blog posts to them. I found a web article, the title of which indicated there are more than 133 social media platforms.

Why?

Blogging is a part of social media. I don’t get much traffic. I don’t mind that so much when I realize how much of the traffic is negative and empty.

I blog because I really like to write; I always have. I kept one blog going for about 7 years and dropped it because I was unhappy with how personal information was being collected and what it might be used for.

I also didn’t think the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) didn’t treat hobby bloggers (like me) fairly. That was the main reason I dropped my first blog. I don’t collect anyone’s personal data. Hey, let’s be clear. Social media does that. I’m not trying to sell anything here. I’m just trying to have fun and share that with anyone who’s interested.

I wasn’t going to write this much about social media. I guess that means I’m ambivalent about it. I think that’s normal.

What do you think?

Be Quiet and Pay Attention!

I think it was last week that I got this thought about getting attention compared to paying attention. At first, I thought it was original. Hey, did I really just come up with that idea? The see-saw nature of it appealed to me. I write this blog partly to get attention. But I notice that when I pay attention and focus on what I’m writing, it’s more fun.

I quickly gave up the thought that I came up with the idea. I think the context was a little discouragement about the really low traffic to my blog. Now, I’m not just saying that to get more attention—although it does sound like that. And I really appreciate the visits I get from readers!

I searched the web for more about the get attention vs pay attention thing because I was pretty sure I didn’t come up with it but just forgot where I first heard about it.

The funny thing is that what first came to mind was the Men in Black (MIB) scene in which Agent J’s elementary schoolteacher Mrs. Edelson is displayed on the big monitor at MIB headquarters. It turns out she’s actually an alien and she’s crabbing at the class, “…Be quiet and pay attention!” I’ve searched for the YouTube clip but all I found were two: one deleted scene in which her rage at the class went up like a bomb and was way overdone and the other which was blurry and the audio was terrible.

Anyway, you get the idea. Of course, I also found the TED Talk by actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt about paying attention vs getting attention, “How craving attention makes you less creative.”

I think his point is spot on about social media being a big part of the push for many of us to crave attention. I used to have accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn but dropped them years ago because I got almost no traffic. I’m still on YouTube, which has low traffic but which I have fun with because I like making funny little videos. I also made teaching videos back when I was a consulting psychiatrist at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

I get hardly any traffic on my current blog (which I’ve had for about 3 years) and I get a little frustrated with that. However, I like to write so I’m probably going to hang on to it for a while. I had a previous blog that lasted for about 7 years. It also never got more than a modest number of followers.

When I’m paying attention to what I’m writing about, it may not get any views but I get more satisfaction from writing them. I do my best writing when I’m just having fun doing it. I get a kick out of writing. But then I wonder why I’m not getting any views.

I think the see-saw aspect of paying vs getting attention is normal. So, I should pay more attention to Mrs. Edelson.

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