Does anyone find being connected constantly useful? Does it ease the stress in your life or add to it? Both, I think. I often contemplate if I ought to be more connected…you know, spending 6 hours of my day checking Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, email, and posting my daily activities every four minutes.
A few months ago I got a ‘smart’ phone, whatever that means. For people whose disability affects their dexterity, tapping and touching microscopic buttons can be quite exhausting. In fact, my favorite feature is the speech-to-text function. I use it constantly. But that has its own frustrations: you have to know exactly what you want to say, enunciating every sound and without pausing. Really, how useful is this function if you have to go back and change the words you supposedly spoke? Even the word recognition feature is frustrating. You practically have to text out the whole darn word, anyway.
Well, I am getting carried away here. My point is that for someone like me who has fine motor issues, texting can be quite tedious and tiring. And don’t get me started on the games where you tap to earn points and money. Those “carpal tunnel” games aren’t as fun as you think when your hand starts shaking uncontrollably.
So, I must always be texting or talking to my phone. Is that living a real life? I avoid being connected as much as I can, without neglecting my online responsibilities, of course. There are negatives to not being connected…you don’t get to see your family’s cutesy baby pictures, you miss all the kitten memes, you miss what your friends had for dinner and the pictures of that vegetarian lasagna. You miss people making rude comments about their jobs only to have their employers read them on Facebook, you miss your friends’ wins on Zynga games. You miss the tweets about what your favorite music star wore yesterday, and you miss spending pointless hours figuring out what your friends’ friends are doing. No thanks.
Yes, I wonder what I am missing. The hype? I don’t think I want to know all this useless information. On the other hand, I find it frustrating that I can’t have friendships without social media. I mean, how else am I going to find out my best friend got a new job, my three cousins are all pregnant at the same time, Starbucks is having a $2 drink special today?
My boyfriend is more connected than I am, and that’s good, since he maintains his blog and is trying to get published. He always gives me updates on how my friends are doing, what is going on in the latest cute animal world, our friend’s new hair color and the latest parties we are invited to.
It’s difficult for me to understand why I must be connected in order to maintain and form relationships. There are good reasons for being so connected, and I’m trying to remember those things. Being the editor for ILWAD, for instance; I wouldn’t be able to have accomplished that unless I was connected, given that Ron lives on the other side of the country and the other writers live in other countries! Can you imagine the commute if we worked in the same office?
If I wasn’t connected, ordering from Amazon would be impossible, since there is no actual store. Promoting ILWAD and my boyfriend’s business online, of course, would be meaningless. I wouldn’t be able to see baby pictures of my cousins who live in Japan. I wouldn’t be able to read reviews of hotels so as to avoid the dives. I couldn’t afford to take cheap online educational classes. I wouldn’t be able to know when my friends were doing something exciting. I wouldn’t have gotten such amazing experience building WordPress websites.
So, I guess like anything else in life there are pluses and minuses. I can’t live with or without social media, and it’s here to stay. Slowly, I am getting used to it, and finding more positives each day.
Readers, how do you handle the information overload with social media and being connected? How do you keep your sanity…maybe you can offer me some tips!