Conflicted social media advocate

The Wonderful leader and editor of Spokane Faith & Values, Tracy Simmons approached me as she was preparing to launch this site, “Would you consider being one of our writers?” I gave an enthusiastic YES.  A few months later, my first post was published introducing me as a “Social Media Writer.” That was last March. Then I went dark! I have written nothing since. Why? What is wrong with me? Why can’t I get motivated?

Maybe I am too hard on myself. I did write a book review. I have weighed in — as Spokane FAVs writers are asked to do — on a few of the weekly Viewpoints questions. I commented on posts from other writers and have been involved in some back and forth dialogue on the site. Yet, I still feel bad that I have failed in my commitment to be a Spokane FAVs writer concerning Social Media.

After months of self-analysis and with some loving probing from my family, I think I finally understand why I have not been able to write. Spokane FAVs readers expect a Social Media writer to advocate for social media as essential tools that must be utilized well for success in business, non-profits, faith communities, and even in our personal lives. Social Media is an essential part of our communications and community infrastructure in the 21st century. This is a dramatic claim. As a social media writer should I not be an unapologetic advocate? How then, can I write with such ambivalence?

Because …. I feel bombarded sometimes. The channels of communication are coming at me from all sides. So many people, so much news, so many opinions flying by me, so much to respond to, so many causes promoted for me to support or not. How do I decide every day — every hour —what to pay attention to, what to engage, what to ignore? What do I need?  Who am I in the public sphere of Facebook, Twitter and more?  How do I want to make connections with other people and groups?  What do your responsibilities require of you?

I do not view social media as a savior. That has been taken care of. You can have a happy life without social media. However, you cannot walk out of your house with your body or through social media without encountering other people. You might be a private person. However, if you choose not to live as a monk or a hermit, you must choose to maintain connections and communicate with other people and groups. The channels for communication and connection in our world have exploded in recent years.  Each of us must make choices related to quantity and quality in our personal and professional communication strategy. In this culture, you will get blown away by the wind to places you don’t want to go if you fail to make some clear choices. Then you will need the disciplines to live by the choices.  You will need the willingness to once in a while reexamine your choices. 

If you have chosen to live a spiritual life, you will need to work your communication strategy into the development of your spiritual life. The purpose of the spiritual life is to help each person to find their center and their grounding. The purpose of the spiritual life is to understand the spiritual realities of this universe or multi-verse and our role in it. If you agree that you cannot live a spiritual life in isolation then how do you do it well in communication and connection? This is a theological question for me and that is why I decided to write about social media for SpokaneFAVs. 

I am an enthusiastic advocate of the potential to positively enhance our ability to live well and live toward our spiritual purpose in this world. I am also one who sees the negative potential of all this spinning our lives even more out of control. I hope my writing will help you to find your way through the right choices for you. I am weary of extremes. Those who advocate through word or action that the best hope for a better humanity is full immersion into social media — don’t listen to them.  Those who will never get a Facebook account and speak of the destructive nature of social media — well, respect their personal choice but not their preaching. As I said in my first writing those many months ago:

My writings will explore the ways we can strengthen our connection with each other, even when we are not in the same room. I hope to hear your stories and learn of areas you would like me to address.  Strengthening our connections one to another and building our spiritual communities can bring hope to a hurting world.

If you want to consider some possibilities for utilizing the tools of social media to live well and spiritually in this world, then I am writing for you. We will explore issues around the quantity of our communication and connection. We will explore ways to improve the quality of our online communication and connection. 

Maybe you feel called to be an influencer and to have some “Klout” in this world. Here is one read on my Social Media Klout.

Check yours out at http://klout.com. Let me know your score. Tracy, I have emerged from the “dark”.  Are you satisfied?

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Tracy Simmons

Thanks Jim! Yes, I am happy you’ve emerged from the dark 🙂


what is klout?

Jim CastroLang

Go to Klout.com and read about it. It is meant to gauge your online influence on other people in the use of Social Media. It looks at the number of posts on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Then it looks at how many comment on your posts…how many like what you post…how many share it with their friends…etc. Hope this helps.

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