Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reality Blogging


Human nature is a funny thing.  We seem to live in a constant state of comparison.  We compare every aspect of our lives with others, either feeling superior or inferior, depending the circumstances.  We compare our spouses, our children and ourselves.  We compare our clothes, our cars and our fences.  We compare ourselves with our friends, with people on television, in magazines and we even compare ourselves with fictional characters.  And more often than not, we don't measure up.

I'm sure that people have measured their lives by the perceived successes and failures of their neighbors since mankind populated the earth - but our modern technological age has created a plague of discontent that is eroding the soul of our nation.

I have never indulged in social media.  I don't have a Facebook account or Twitter (I'm still not sure what that is) or Instagram or any other social interactive site, and I haven't missed them at all.  Over the years I have had friends tell me that I just had to sign up, however, I have a couple of serious problems with our social media culture.  The first issue I have is that you can be anybody you want to be on the internet!  There is no accountability, no truth.  People only post what they want you to see.  You see the successes only - rarely the failures.  You see those few shining moments when a persons life measures up to their own standards of success.  You are inundated with EVERYONE's success and pretty soon you can see nothing but your own failures. 

And we wonder why we are nation depressed!

When I blog, I share snippets out of our lives.  You get to hear about Master Hand Grenade getting his first job and Miss Serenity dropping a buck with 1 shot.  You hear about Maid Elizabeth delivering babies and Princess Dragon Snack riding her first motorcycle.  You see pictures of Master Calvin decked out in his "Gentleman Adventurer" gear and Sir Knight testing tactical equipment.  You read accounts of lessons learned and prayers answered.  But there is so much I don't write.  I don't write about children with bad attitudes or baking projects that end up feeding the dogs.  You don't read about marital difficulties between Sir Knight and I or the bitter disappointments that seem to visit our home with reliable frequency.  You don't see the mess or the failures or the really rotten parts of life that I would be loathe to share.  You don't see the messy stuff. 

I only show you what I want you to know.

But there is another reason I'm not a part of the social media frenzy.  Quite frankly, I don't want to be a busybody.  For a while I "spied" on people via Maid Elizabeth's Facebook account.  I would check on them every week or so, just to see what they were up to.  Maid Elizabeth didn't have many "friends", but I found that often they would post things on their account that I would not have known any other way.  But then, as I was wandering through Elizabeth's "news feed" one day, I suddenly realized that I was like the "busybody" that the Bible talks about!  I was checking in on other people's lives, reading all of their gossip, when I would be much better served by taking care of my own life!

I think blogs, Pinterest and a whole lot of other sites on the world wide web can be wonderful - if they are used with discretion.  There are so many things to learn and so much encouragement waiting for us online, but we have to be discerning.  Remember, behind every website is a real, live, human being that isn't perfect.  Their spouse isn't perfect, their kids aren't perfect and their house isn't perfect.  They don't have the "perfect" survival location, the "perfect" survival plan or the "perfect" survival skills.  They have good days and they have bad days.  Whatever you do, don't look at the lives people present online and assume that your life is in the toilet!  We are all in this boat together - success, failure and everything in between.

Believe it or not, the world is not populated by people that have a perfectly decorated, spotlessly clean home, as they cook organic, homemade meals, while raising 8 impossibly polite children and being the quintessential Proverbs 31 woman (oh, and the perfect wife, of course!).  It is filled with people just. like. you.

Welcome to my reality.  Imperfect. Messy.  Just right!

About the photo --  A snapshot of our imperfect life.  The window is broken (an accident two years ago).  There are little buggy's, dead, between the two panes.  The window can't be cleaned (the dirt is between the two panes) and we can barely see through it.  Such is life!  Someday....

18 comments:

  1. I'd never really considered how social media has made us more envious of others even though I found myself becoming jealous of others successes. I finally turned a corner where I am happy for them instead and realize that everyone's life is different, no one's life is perfect. For me, Facebook has become a necessity, but I've found my happy place and it no longer bothers me the way it once did. Most of the time. :)

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  2. How boring life must be for those perfect people who lead those perfect lives.

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  3. It was refreshing to read this as I feel the same way. I don't use social media or FB, etc. and I see the whole busybody thing too, that is what it is for. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  4. I am one who rarely envies and I am certainly imperfect. I do have a Facebook account and I enjoy touching my extended family thru that. I do use it to extoll my victories and failures as I shape my life to learning to eat and live as I lose 175 pounds. I think that there are lessons for myself in failure as much as success. I see many who want to share way too much of their lives and they are quickly deleted from my account. It is a great tool to stay in touch in a busy world. It is not my entire world but for me it fits a need. I don't want what others have, never have. God keeps me centered.

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  5. I wholeheartedly agree. I also see the whole social media thing as a time and life waster. How can one truly enjoying living life when they are spending so much time reading about how others are living life? I take a look on my daughter's facebook and twitter pages. I still haven't figured out the whole twitter thing. But again, seems such a waste of time and life that could be lived. Blessings, Kat

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  6. I too, have shunned social media other than my homesteading blog and blogs from others that are similar to it: No Facebook, or twitter or anything else for me. You are absolutely correct in all that you write, but it is the consequences that have turned me off from social media. While I know good and well-intentioned folks use Facebook and the like to 'keep up' with each and their too-busy lives, I have seen too often the results of hurtful remarks posted in haste.

    Often, as you say, the things posted are partial accounts of events or observations from a single point of view, and while not intended to be hurtful are taken out of context in some fashion by "friends". The result is an immediate, sometimes biting, response made in a way that would never happen if you were speaking face-to-face or had to take the time to hand-write your words on paper, and this in front of the whole electronic "community"! The escalation that results from a simple misunderstand is not easily capped off and damaged relationships are not easily restored.

    I have also been in the periphery of discussions that started with "Did you see what she posted on Facebook last night?", and quickly devolved from there into gossip, and more speculations on things that are better left unsaid. Once these speculations are voiced they are not simply forgotten and become the source of rumors and more hurt feelings.

    I know that, at its core, social media is no more than a tool whose usage determines the result: I get that. But too many folks swing the social media tool in way that is akin to carelessly waving a sickle around in public with no less damaging results. No, thank you. I'll pass on that.

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  7. I didn't notice the broken window until you mentioned it. I had to go back and look again since I was preoccupied with the deer rack, candles and oil lamp the first go 'round. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and life .

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    1. +1 to Marilyn for an awesome observation!

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  8. I have stalked your blog for a long time. You are an impression to me! Love the windows you open into your lifes. I saw the picture on this post with the window an didn't notice it was broken, I saw the oil lamp an thought of the happy family that used it, saw the candles an thought how sweet to have them burning at night. The memories you are making. God bless you an your family!

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    1. gonna have to +1 to Anonymous above for the same awesome observation!

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  9. Enola - thank you for your thoughts on social media. one of the things that i have read here on your blog is the incredible successes that you and your family have made, as well as the struggles that your family has dealt with and how you handled them. do i think that you, or anyone else who has a blog, or i, for that matter - share everything with the world on our blogs? no. some people have blogs where all they do is whine and complain - those blogs leave you feeling depressed after only reading one post! some blogs are filled with such perfect lives that all of us come away feeling like miserable failures.

    i don't use facebook or twitter or pinterest or any of that - just not interested. but i love checking my daily read blogs - because the blogs i love to read are people sharing a bit of their lives. not their entire lives - but a bit. and those blogs, like yours, always have something to remind me of, or teach me.

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  10. The internet-and everything that goes along with it, is a useful tool, but poor replacement for getting out and meeting real live hoomin beans. There's nothing wrong with social media as such, but it's easily misused ( no, I don't have a Facebook account. My life isn't all that interesting. ). I didn't notice the broken window-I saw the candle molds and kerosene lamp first...
    I read a few blogs, a few web comics, and use email to keep in touch with friends. The Intertubes are great for finding old and odd parts...

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  11. I joined Facebook in order to keep up with the county 4H program and activities, but never did anything with my account until recently. My parents are in their 80's and have FB accounts that they use to keep up with the far flung lives of sons, grand and great grand kids. I put my foot into the water and began using my account. It's fun to share my journey of learning to run the backhoe at our new place or to post pictures of my men working on the shop roof, but certainly not a replacement for the real life companionship of my family and friends. My parents get to see, as often as I remember to or have time to post, reports and pictures of the progress we've made, the funny things that happen along the way, and when appropriate the setbacks. I am not techie enough to, nor do I have the time to set up and blog. I was a person that said I would never facebook. I am happily eating crow, as I enjoy hearing from friends and family almost 2000 miles away, seeing pictures of littles growing up, parents growing old (even though I was just there in September and October).
    It's a tool. That's all. Just one of many.
    I think many of your readers, myself included, did not see the broken window because we aren't looking for the broken...we are looking for the beauty of what you share, even the posts that do discuss your hardships and your challenges. It's like when you visit a friend and don't notice the dust or the unfolded laundry because you are there to see your friend and you just sit down and talk and fold laundry and laugh and love.
    sidetracksusie

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  12. A recent news report ( I can't remember where I read it) said that Facebook had admitted to manipulating the news feeds on Facebook. The purpose was to see if the manipulation could cause people to feel a certain way. The result was a lot of people posting thoughts of jealousy, depression, and sadness that all their "friends" were posting amazing stuff in their lives and they were not living such a great life themselves. For instance, Facebook profile, Mary gets news feeds from Charlie showing only amazing things in his life, won a lottery scratcher, picture of dinner at a fancy restaurant, his daughter was "student of the month"etc. but doesn't show the post where Charlie is sad because he is missing his dad who died 3 months ago. Now Mary feels depressed because her daughter has never been "student of the month" or whatever.
    These manipulations were done to millions of FB users without any notice or apology on the part of FB. In fact, there is no way to know if you were one of the manipulated ones. I know of people in our church who get really depressed and upset after reading their FB page. I try to remind them that everyone has bad day but like you said, no one posts those kinds of things.
    I love FB because I live hours from my family and this way I stay in contact and get to see pictures of all the kids. I am from a larger family and we also spend a lot of time on the phone and texting. But I think FB is our favorite way to stay connected. We have rules in our household that if you haven't met the person in real life previous to meeting them on a social media site, then you cannot be "friends" with them in cyberspace. I think that has really cut down on being fake with people.

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  13. Again, you hit the nail on the head!

    I recently went to visit family (aunt/uncle/cousins) in another state - over 1000 miles away. Everyone was really excited to see us (the first day).

    After that.. out came the tablet, the cell phones, on came the TV. My parents don't have smart phones and I don't play video games. We sat for days on end while the family that we love so much and drove so far to see - played hours of Candy Crush on their computers and phones as we all sat in the living room together. Even the mothers with children present checked out from all conversation choosing instead to play candy crush during family meals. One cousin's children only came to see us once even though they live right next door to the house we were staying in. There the kids and my cousin stayed connected to their computers, laptops, phones, video games, TV's - mere steps away from family who lives over 1,000 miles away and who were only there for a few days.

    My parents, who don't have smart phones or tablets were left sitting in the living room while the playing of candy crush, watching of my uncle's favorite TV shows, and facebook browsing happened. We all looked at each other often in disbelief. What has happened to our family?

    I can honestly see how being connected to these devices is completely destroying my own family members.

    SO SAD.... but they will never see it and I would never say it.

    I have since limited my facebook browsing to just viewing my family's pictures, when I am home alone. I too love to see the pictures of little ones dressed up for halloween, new babies, family gatherings. But, if I am in someone else's company, the gadgets go AWAY - as they should ALWAYS. The gadgets are great for what they are capable of, but not if we become addicted to them. I encourage everyone to put them away. Pick up a hobby like sewing, knitting, crochet, cooking. These hobbies bring people together instead of driving us apart.





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  14. I, too, have everyone trying to get me on facebook, twitter and all of that other stuff. No, No, No. I don't want to, so I'm not. I think it is sad that so many people feel the need to put their lives up for the world to see. mail pictures, send thank you notes, and at least an occasional real live snail mail letter, just for fun:) I've had an old friend tell me that she looked for me all over the internet and couldn't find me. She finally called someone with the same name, who just happened to know my family, and told her how to get in touch with me. I do think the person with my name should have taken the other persons name to give to me, or asked if it was okay to give my info before giving it out, but not everyone thinks like I do:) The old friend said she had looked all over the internet for me and couldn't fine me. Yay:)

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  15. I just want to say that for everyone, including Enola and family!, that are sharing journeys with us, teaching us, allowing us to learn from their journeys, efforts, etc, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Faith, family, wisdom learned along the way, is all a blessing shared with those of us looking for help and guidance from Christian minded people. I love sharing paratusfamiliablog.com with people I love and care about, that want/need a Christian minded bit of help in learning about many things. I especially like sharing with people who might not necessarily be practicing Christians, but I know will gain lots of good just by reading the blog.

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