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via Daily Prompt: Overwhelming

I enjoy these daily prompts, particularly on those days when I either have too many ideas or too few ideas about what I would like to write about. I write every day and will either post here, or work on one of the many book ideas I have. My primary project will deal with technical recruiting and provides me a way to give back to the profession that gave so much to me. The word overwhelming could be applied to so many things today. Social media is overwhelming, particularly if you are a member of more than one of these sites. I enjoy Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook. When these media sites are at their peak during the day, it is amazing how many things are being discussed, posted, and reposted.

Like email, I limit myself to a few visits to these sites each day, this blog included. On days that I am absolutely bored and unmotivated, I’ll gravitate from one board to another, clicking like, retweet, etc. During these days the time flies because we become so mesmerized by the blur of activity, funny videos, pictures of our friends, and so on.

As a way to provide some value to my readers, I’ll get to my point. Social media is “virtual” life. It is not real. Sure it’s fun to have someone give you a like for a posting, just like it is a real treat to get likes on my postings here, but frankly, the people you consider your friends in these mediums barely scratch the surface of what true friendship and family are.

These sites are fun. They are interesting and allow us to connect with people that in the past we would have had no access to. I treat the people in my networks as pen pals. Pen pals were something I learned about in elementary school. Our teacher got us to sign up and we each had a friend from another country that we would write to and so forth. After a few years I lost track of my pen pal, but today I have thousands of them.

I’m in America and have friends in Indonesia, the Phillippines, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, India, and many other places. It is so interesting to see what other people find funny, sad, or even how they celebrate. You can see it all on social media. Now, it may not be an exact representation of what you would consider traditional, but it is so heartwarming to see a friend put up pictures of a newborn, or pictures of a far-away place they’ve visited.

Spend time with your family. Spend real time with your family away from the social media, the mobile phones, and really listen to them. Control the amount of time you spend on these sites. They will suck the life out of you and minimize your ability to do anything creatively, pursue your dreams, or accomplish your goals.

I treat them just like I do email. I review my email 4 times a day. I visit my email mid-morning after my morning ritual, I visit again after lunch, evening after dinner, and during my evening ritual. When I’m going through my email I’ll also check my sites, sometimes only for a few seconds if no one has responded to my postings, I have no new friend invites, and so on.

Social media is here to stay. It is fun, it is interesting, and it is definitely entertaining. It is not a substitute for life or real relationships with your friends, family, and loved ones. Now go hug your wife, your kids, your mother and father. That is where our time needs to be placed.

Until next time…