Saturday, March 16, 2013

Living in Real Time. . .

Last year, I touched on many topics about Social Media—the do’s; the don’ts; how it may enhance your business (whatever main or side hustle you have going); the real advantages it can offer by reaching the masses and taking your business abroad far reaching your imagination of possibilities.
Unfortunately, as a result of realizing all of this, I found a huge problem hanging around like a person extended from a bungee cord—where the hell is my life?  Do you remember how you used to obtain information?  If you didn’t read a newspaper, nine times out of ten you watched the news on TV.  Or, the old-fashioned way of hearing news spread from neighbors or some other third-party.  By the time the story reached the entire neighborhood, it began to take on a new shape and variations and more often than not, the story was so diluted, you could no longer decipher fact from fiction, but nonetheless, this is how you learned of things going on in the world, or in your own little world.
Do you remember having real life face-to-face conversations with your family and friends—hanging around shooting the breeze, discussing the latest news, talking about school, local government issues, hood drama or whatever topics popped up?  Remember doing that?  Do you remember all the kids you went to school with and thinking how many friends you had because your school was large and kids were plentiful?  Making friends for most of us was a pretty easy task.  Remember putting your friends into categories to be used at your discretion depending upon your current situation you found yourself in?  You had your good friends; your best friend(s) and/or many acquaintances you’d hang around—people you could confide in and tell your secrets too—or someone to share that good cry with because they were down for you and understood your pain.  Remember those days?

After becoming an author my life changed in ways I never thought possible—some for the greater good and, well, some not so great.  I accept what I’ve been given as part of my blessing from God for He makes no mistakes and knew exactly what He was doing when He created me and bestowed writing as one of my many talents.  I give honor to Him for that, and in no way am I complaining, but I realized with this blessing came a larger curse—where did my life go?
God gave me a mind to think and a free will in order to do it.  I never abuse my talents nor throw my talent in the crapper like so many people do with the presents they’ve been given, so because I’m a learned person and have the ability to think, I began to put my life in perspective.  I was sucked into that vortex black hole called Social Media thinking that it was my cure-all and life line for all things possible.  By being involved in this black abyss, my life was going to become richer, and I bought into that whole idea, just like many of you reading this post right now.  You feel you must be a part of this larger-than-life media beast or you’ll get left behind—Right?
Yes, there is something that gets left behind, but it’s not what you think.  I was slowly and surely losing my life to this vortex portal hole known as Social Media.  I was so engrossed on thinking I couldn’t get anything done without it, that I forgot to live my damn life.  One day after getting off of Facebook, I was sitting alone in my work room writing, and I observed my surroundings and listened to the quiet peace of my home, and it hit me like a ton of bricks, where the hell am I?  My home felt like a foreign land to me.  It had felt like forever since I actually sat in my house and did something useful, other than having my laptop be the extension of my life, or my Smartphone not attached to my fingertips.  Literally, I sat there and didn’t have a f*cking clue what to do with myself?  I finished writing and reading one of my novels, and I was lost—completely and totally lost.  I had no clue what I was supposed to do.  Of course, my brain said, “Get on Facebook that will give you something to do.”  I’m shaking my head, yeah, I’ll see what everyone’s up to!
This is when I realized I had a problem.  When did I stop paying attention to my own home?  I mean, I know what my family and I possess, but I stopped seeing it?  I hadn’t turned on the TV in so long, when I finally turned the news on, there were new reporters I hadn’t seen before and I wondered when the hell did they come on board.  It had been forever since my husband and I had actually sat down together and watched TV.  He’s off doing his thing in the house and I’m off doing mine, but we were no longer ‘together’ like we used to be.  So, one day, I finished my writing work, refused to pick up the Kindle and I sat in my living room with my husband and we began channel surfing—trying to find something to watch.  It suddenly donned on me, I didn’t care if we found anything or not, just spending some quality time with my hubby laughing and bitching about paying all this money for cable and can’t find a damn thing to watch, we busted out laughing.  But the thing is, I was in his space and he in mine, and we were together.  We hadn’t done that in so long I can’t remember when?
My mom and I love to read, so often when I visit her, we’re both reading and then we’ll take breaks and she’ll tell me about her book and I’ll tell her about mine.  I felt my heart palpitate thinking, Oh God, I need to check my emails!  Oh sh*t, I need to see what’s happening on Facebook.  I wonder how many retweets I received on Twitter?  Did my publisher email any revisions or updates?  I was in need of a fix, and my drug of choice was literally at my fingertips, but something held me back from my cure.  A voice rang out and began telling me a story I was sure I’d heard before, but couldn’t quite place it.  It was my mom eloquently telling me stories about the past—of days when life was so much richer and sweeter.  She spun family tales and funny stories about my grandparents of the wild and crazy things they used to do.  Taking a break from the story, she’d smile looking like my grandmother come back from the grave—shot a warm feeling through my heart, as she reminisced about better times and missing her parents so much.  What was so weird about all of this is that I clearly remember hearing my family’s history and the funny stories that accompanied them, but it had been so long since we actually sat down and conversed with one another.  Here, my mother was spending quality time with me ensuring that I soaked up as much knowledge as I could and my dumb ass was about to ruin a great mother-daughter moment all for the sake of logging onto the web to check up on my dealer—the Social Media monster.
After realizing that there were things going on in ‘real life’ that I had been missing all for the sake of getting my media fix, my life was just zooming by, and I wasn’t living it at all.  Sure I’m breathing, but that’s half the battle of living, where’s the quality of your life?  For me, there was none anymore.  It’s a damn shame that we’ve bought into the idea that in order to survive you have to have some type of technological connection to stay in contact with the world.  That’s what is so sad!  It’s one thing to stay connected to family and friends (real family and friends) not the ones you friend on Facebook or Twitter, but with Social Media, you’re connected to the world wide web (hence www.)  There is so much information to taunt and tease us weaklings that we become so dependent on this bitch that you just can’t help yourself.  The devil works in mysterious and calculating ways!  If you ever wondered what the destruction of Man would be, well, you’ve just read it on this blog.  Don’t get it twisted people—it’s understandable that Social Media is the best sources for business purposes and staying connected to those that live abroad, but that’s as far as it should be taken.  When you stop spending quality time with loved ones, and stop taking care of yourself and becoming a junkie of the Internet, trust and believe, it’s not helping you, it’s killing you, and you’re too hooked to see it. 

I became a victim of that monster early on, but I’ve learned to adjust my time spent with that drug.  I check Facebook every two to three weeks, and Twitter about the same.  I turn off my Smartphone every night without the guilt.  You may read this and think I’m crazy, but let me give you a news flash—if you are blessed to still have your grandparents, one day you’re going to look around and they are going to be gone, and ask yourself how much time you spent with them, and how much time you spend with your Social Media dealer?  I bet you post more on Facebook than you spend time with your own children.  Hell, you and your children are probably on some social network together—not paying one iota of time to what is happening in your personal life, but I bet you know all the latest unimportant stuff on Facebook though!

Are your parents living?  Have you talked to them in person, or online via their pages?  Wish a good friend happy birthday, in person, or did you do it via his/her page?  One day you’re going to wake up and the things that matter most to you will be gone and you’ll be too ‘net’ induced to notice your life has wasted away all for the sake of your Social Media fix.  And the biggest tragedy of it all, when your ‘real life’ family and friends go away, your dealer won’t be there to pick up the pieces.  That bitch will sit in her vortex pulling more suckers into her black hole and not giving a damn about what you’re going through.  When she loses you, there are millions more to take up where you logged off.  Is she really worth losing yourself or those around you?  Do you think the world will stop because you’re not connected in some kind of way?  The problem being, you’ve become so damn hooked you forgot that the world wasn’t always like this.  Once upon a time, we were forced to see each other, converse with one another and made to see the reality of our living up close and personal.  There was a time we couldn’t hide who we were because you were right there in the flesh for all eyes to see.  In order to know what was happening in the world, we used to have to work for it to find that information, but why do that now when you have Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask at your little fingertips!
You know you’re a Social Media junkie when you have to text while driving or talk on the cell while driving.  What is so important that you can’t miss?  We’re letting this bitch destroy our lives and for what?  Do you realize all the medical problems that heifer has cost us?  Doctors are seeing an increase in carpel tunnel of the ‘thumbs’ from all that damn texting.  They’re also seeing an increase in chronic dry eye for one keeping his eyes opened for extended periods of time staring at our poisonous dealer because we’re so afraid we’re going to miss something.  You probably hadn’t even noticed you don’t blink enough to keep your eyes moist.  Tears are necessary for the overall health of your eyeballs, but you junkies aren’t even aware of that fact?  You may be social online, but when it comes to face-to-face interaction, most of us shy away from personal contact.  Did you know we’re designed to have physical contact—not online contact!
I know what I’m saying means nothing to many because, I, too, used to be just like you—thinking I had to be online 24/7 to sell my books and to stay connected with the world.  But I found out by logging off of the world, my books sold, nothing of essential urgency happened, and the world got along without me quite fine and dandy.  Once I realized that utilizing my entire precious time online didn’t change one damn thing, that’s when I woke up and my Social Media hypnotic ‘net’ induced allure had worn off of me.  The trance was finally broken.  Now I find myself pissed when I have to get online to check my emails.  My mind goes blank when I try to think of something to write on my status updates.  So, most times, I say nothing.  If I feel I have something of worth to say, I do it, when I don’t feel anything, I don’t do anything.
I now receive my high off the contact of living life.  It feels good to get back to the world I used to know.  That life online is a mere fantasy and it’s not real!  Now there’s a reality for ya.  Get a ‘real’ life people!  Social Media isn’t that serious!  Who kneeeeeeeew?

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet
Live YOUR Life!