Yes, I'm a blogger, but I've recently had several inquiries as to why I'm not using social media (Facebook - Instagram - Pinterest - Twitter, etc.) to grow my blog or interact with people. I've had conversations with people about social media ever since Facebook first became popular (before I ever had a blog). Some of my reasons for continuing to stay off social media remain the same, but I now have an additional point to consider.
Let me begin by saying that I've never been a big fan of Facebook. I saw some problems with it when people first began using it way back when. Problems? Yes, problems created by the use of Facebook. Let me explain. Do you know anyone who has been involved in a Facebook feud? I sure do. Someone posts something to Facebook and someone else gets upset. They may be upset about the original post or about a comment made by someone else. Feelings get hurt - people feel insulted - folks are "unfriended" - relationships are tested, taxed or even destroyed. Words can sometimes be misunderstood - no matter how many smiley faces or winks you put after a comment. Well, I decided I didn't need any more drama in my life and made the decision to stay off Facebook early on.
With that being said, it seems like the majority of businesses, websites, bloggers, stores, etc. now have their own pages on the various social media sites. I look at many of them, and I'm continually amazed/shocked when I read some of the comments people write. Do we really have to post a negative comment every time we don't like something? And do we have to emphasize our criticism by posting a little "thumbs down" symbol after our words? Really? What's the purpose? When other people try to make that point to the people making negative comments, they often get this reply: "Well, if they don't want my opinion, they shouldn't put this on Facebook." C'mon! If you're walking through the grocery store, does that give everyone else in the store the justification to voice their opinions to you about the outfit you're wearing or the groceries you're purchasing? Should I go up to the woman wearing pajama pants in Walmart and tell her that she should consider a different fashion choice the next time she leaves her house? Should I tell the person in the vehicle next to me in the parking lot that they really should have chosen the gray interior instead of the tan interior to better coordinate with their exterior paint color choice? How about if I add this comment after my negative remark: "To each their own, I guess." Yeah, that cancels the negativity, right? Wrong!
Of course, this is the same chance I take by enabling comments on my blog. So far, I haven't been offended by any of the comments I've received here. It probably helps that I'm thick-skinned! Does that mean everybody likes everything I've posted? Of course not! My readers have been respectful, and I appreciate that. The comments on this blog are moderated, as I want to maintain a family-friendly site. That means your comments are sent to me via email before they show up on the blog. When I read your comment in my email, I can choose to publish it or delete it. True confession: I've only ever deleted one comment in 5 years and it wasn't due to content. The comment was actually nice, but when I clicked on the link to that person's Google profile, I saw several extremely anti-Christian sites that he/she was following. In fact, I wouldn't just call them anti-Christian - more like pro-Satanic. My relationship with Christ is of utmost importance, and I didn't want anyone else visiting my site to check out that person's profile and follow it through to any of those ungodly sites. This is my blog, and that was my decision. I must add here that I don't check the Google profile of every person who leaves a comment, but I happened to check that one.
Next confession: I would be on Instagram today - IF I had unlimited Internet. I've decided that Instagram could be especially useful as a blogger, and I even set up my own account, but it uses up way too many of my gigabytes - at least more than I'm willing to sacrifice for that purpose. As I've said before, we live in the middle of nowhere. We can't get cable TV, cable Internet or cable telephone here. When we moved into our new house, it was "Goodbye to the Bundle!" We can't get Internet through our landline telephone company either. After extensive research, the most cost effective of our limited choices was home Internet broadband through a cell provider. It requires a little gray canister mounted on the exterior of our home. When the power goes out, the Internet is down. And, it's still not cheap. I now get 20 GB/month, but you would be surprised how quickly I can burn through those on my laptop or Android tablet. That's been the problem this week. My gigabytes had me up against the ropes. . . again! Unlimited isn't a possibility. Netflix, podcasts, live streaming, YouTube, Skype, Facetime? Nope, not options for us. I would be out of GB's in a matter of days. I do compress the photos I upload to my blog, but they can still eat up a lot of data. Since we don't have TV, we rely on the Internet for most of our news, and I'm kind of a news junkie. I rarely click on a news video anymore, but even the news articles will often lead to pages loaded with video advertisements. That's frustrating; I can see my gigabytes flying right out the window! We use the Internet to check the weather forecast and weekly fliers for our local stores, and I do like to visit other blogs and link parties. The blogs with lots and lots of large, ever so gorgeous photos? Yeah, huge data hogs.
I know what some of you are thinking? Why don't you just drop the canister and use the Internet on your smart phone? Can you imagine how long it would have taken me to write this post with 2 fingers instead of 10? Yikes! We have one cell phone in this house - have no need for more than one. Mr. Cut Off normally has it with him or near him, and here's a third confession: It's a flip phone, not a smart phone! Don't judge us; it's very cheap. Here's a fourth confession: We've disabled the texting feature! OK, OK, stop screaming in horror! Now we've gone too far! How can we live without texting? That texting feature drove Mr. Cut Off nuts. He didn't want it and had no desire to learn how to use it. He figures that if you want to talk to him. . . talk to him. . . or leave a voice message. None of this, "How R U?" stuff for him. No way. And, when I say "we" use the Internet, I really mean "I" use the Internet. Mr. Cut Off has no desire to learn how to use that either. He has more than enough other things to do with his time, but he does like me to read things off the Internet to him. A typical morning conversation usually includes, "What's in the news today?" or "How much snow are we supposed to get?"
Thankfully, we do have friends who have unlimited cable Internet available at their house. When we were visiting them on Sunday, we took advantage of their unlimited Internet and Skyped with family in lower Michigan. Gotta say, we sure enjoyed that. After all, Max is the cutest and smartest little almost-3-year-old grandson on the planet!
All is well in the Keweenaw.