I have mixed feelings about social media. Social media can be terrific. It is valuable to me in my work and in my personal life. I am an adult. While I struggle to find balance, I am responsible for my use of social media tools and the consequence of my actions on it. As a mom, I question my kids’ ability to realize the possible impact of their actions on social media, despite my lecturing.
I enjoy Twitter (follow me @momandprofessor). I use it as a way to share and receive information. I recently added Twitter manager to the list of hats I wear at work. At first I thought, GREAT, an excuse to spend more time on Twitter! After a couple of days, I am realizing that tweeting for work is different than tweeting for fun. I have a lot to learn about Twitter and how to use if effectively as a way to promote our writing center. I need to really figure out HootSuite. I am trying to learn the difference between using social media for personal and professional use. Maybe the differences aren’t as great as I think they are. I spend a lot of time on Twitter. Like everything else, maybe the answer is balance.
Instagram, on the other hand, is a social media tool I don’t use. My three kids and my dog all have Instagram accounts. My dog has 96 followers! He's cute, but really? Instagram seems innocent enough. The kids post photos and share them with their friends. Here’s the catch. My daughter DOES NOT have 419 friends. She DOES have 419 followers on Instagram. As a mother, I find this disconcerting. I watch what she posts and try to keep up with the comments, but I am still not comfortable with it. Why do twelve year old girls and my dog need to be on Instagram? This may be old fashioned, but couldn’t they just call each other?
My youngest two children are not on Facebook. That is okay. Their fourteen year old brother spends enough time on Facebook for all three of them. I understand Facebook is a way to feel connected. But is it a way to BE connected? I see my son sprawled on the couch, staring at Facebook. I can’t help but wonder if he should actually go somewhere and BE with other kids instead.. I know “everyone does it”, but you know what your mom told you about what everyone does, right? I don’t care what everyone does. I only care about my kid, who only cares about the other kids. This is the essence of the conflict between mother and son on Facebook. I am not on Facebook. I manage a page for my department at work, and have a profile in order to do so. I do not use Facebook personally. Facebook serves a purpose for my department. It is a vehicle of communication and a means to share information. I’m undecided how much value Facebook holds for teenagers, or others who spends enormous amounts of time on it.
Social media certainly holds value for both personal and professional use. The question I struggle with is how much is too much. There may not be an answer to my question. Perhaps the answer is different for each social media tool. Perhaps it is different for professional use versus personal use. I’m not certain, but I am giving it thoughtful consideration. Maybe that is the first step towards an answer.
What do you think?