Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Social media goes to hell ... in a *very* pretty handbasket sourced from Pinterest.

"Real isn't how you are made ... it's a thing that happens to you."
- Velveteen Rabbit

All I can say is ... what the hell happened? I blinked and now there are social media experts everywhere. Every corporation, every brand and PR agency ... wants a slice of the social media pie. Only a few short months ago, I was still being teased and looked at strangely for having a blog and being online. The next minute, those very same people were standing in line at my local cafe to "pick my brains" about how to set up a twitter account.

(Dear anyone .... you can pick my brains any time you like - I'm flexible! My consulting rates start at $100 an hour, thks.)

I was recently offered a job as a "Web Presence Professional." That's a job description now. After I accepted, the offer was quickly withdrawn .. I suspect it had something to do with the recruiter delving into my blog. (But that's a delicious and passive-aggressive blog post for another day.)

There is something creepy and scary about it - all of it. The facebooking, networking, branding, communicating ... something doesn't feel right. Why? I get close to an answer when I look into the faces of my two young boys, but I can't be sure.

I've been thinking about a follow-up to my Anti-Social media post for some time, but haven't been able to articulate it. Until I saw an television ad last week for a major global computer corporation. The extended family of a newborn are busy passing around the brand new baby, to have a hold. Except, it isn't a brand new baby at all ... it's a laptop showing video footage of the brand new baby. Ending with the grandad finally having a hold and the video laptop baby starts crying .. that goofy grandad making the baby cry!

There's been a sharp tip, with the "media" part of social media now taking over. It's like a big, shiny, ostentatious brass boom band in the middle of town. Even mommyblogging has come of age (or eaten itself .. I can't decide) with the new Babble Voices creating a brand new space for a lot of well-known and popular bloggers to create an extension of their blogs, together.

The information superhighway has now seven lanes, with traffic backed up as far as the eyes can see. Bumper to bumper. Is this the new rat race? The currency is not money, but time and attention. It's too much. It can lead a person to feel quite exhausted, jaded - and very, very overwhelmed.

The future is here. Babies are playing with iPads like toys. Teenagers brains are getting shaped by so much technology. I worry for everybody's alpha waves.

It's hard to know which direction we're all headed .. have you ever imagined what would happen if there was a global blackout with no more computers? I love computers - I love social media. But it's crazy. What are we all doing? Where are we going? Are we being mindful and balanced? What are we teaching ourselves and our children?

Now this is a cool ad ... I love that it's made by the world's leading chainsaw company. I don't understand the correlation, but man there's a great message.

The outside world is starting to resemble a dream. But it's not a dream, it's real. With real jasmine to smell and everything! It's like, those episodes of Star Trek, and whenever anybody needed to clear their heads they'd take a scenic walk in the hologram room made to resemble nature. Because they were on a spaceship and didn't actually have nature.

Last time I checked, Earth still has nature. And real people and warm tea and actual conversations and everything. Sometimes even hugs. And the sky - seriously, how fucking cool is that sky? Have you seen it lately?

Watching video footage of a brand new baby is amazing. Holding one and smelling that smell? That's priceless, miraculous ... but most of all, it's just bloody inimitable.



  1. I need another slap on the face. The online world is hurting me emotionally and physically. I need to get some time off.

  2. Initimable, oh yes it is.

    Thank you for saying it so well.

    Keep doing YOUR thing, and keep it your thing.

    (Though, I'm not convinced that this isn't the hologram room.)

  3. I tried mindfulness. The bitchy psychologist refused to work with me after five sessions. Even mindfulness can be a bitch.
    That being said, I 100% agree with you but I am too addicted to do anything about it.

  4. Clarification: By "this" I do not mean this virtual world, but THIS virtual world.

    All clear now? Yep, I thought so. ;)

  5. I'm going to say it. The internet is the death of conscious humanity and social media is the death of sincerity. Both give the optical illusion of having the opposite effect. It's not until you step away from them that you can see the big picture. Nothing here is real, as hard as we try to convince ourselves it is. Sincerity, in it's true sense, is dead. Step away. Step far, far away.

  6. I'm sort of sad about what's happening lately... shit's getting competitive and I don't like the undertone. Plus it makes people sad and defensive and feel insignificant. I'm so lucky that while I enjoy blogging and the community, it's all happening at the same time my real-life career is taking off... and I'm so in love with it and so passionate and excited and driven, that I just don't pay as much attention to my online life as perhaps I should. But it also means I get to skip over the bad bits. Plus I've just crocheted enough hats for a very small, very cute army, and I have an excellent baby as a distraction, so I've had even more time off from social media and my once-semi-addicted self sort of, kind of, maybe liked it. Online is still incredibly fun though :)

  7. I have a completley addictive personality so I never do things without giving myself boundaries - social media included. Especially as a WAHM. I have to limit myself for fear it will consume me.

    I've only been on Twitter for a short time, but I'm already measuring my self worth off a number - WTF is with that?

    That advert is brilliant. Love it.

  8. My Dad, born in the 1920's, used to tell me that TV would be the death of humanity. Or at the very least, the death of the written word....

    As always, moderation is my key.


  9. I love that ad too. And I agree about everything real being out there in the real world. Except conversations. I don't encounter real conversations in the real world. Perhaps I need to move?

  10. It is scary. But it's a big part of all our lives now and we have to use it all so very wisely. As parents we have the power to lead by example.... So I'm just going to turn my computer off now and play outside on the trampoline with my son while we feel the sun beat down on our skin and smell that Spring floral scent in the air.
    Have a great day Eden :-) smell the roses ;-)

  11. I think we just need to be aware of it.

    I laughed at myself the other day when I got cranky that my local cinema's movie sessions page took longer than thirty seconds to download. It used to take a half hour phone call, listening to a recorded message to find out movie times when I was a kid!

    I always make sure to exercise, cook good food and talk to people. That always helps.

  12. I'm one of the exhausted, jaded and very very overwhelmed. I get on Twitter and hear 'give me give give me time and attention' and within minutes switch off. I started blogging because I thought I had something to say. And I love writing, so I thought I could say it well. But I'm fast realising that the 'blog race' is not something I want to be a part of. And besides, real life gets in the way. Funny about that.

    It's not cool to be a slave to anything, let alone to blogging. I want my kids to remember my face, not the back of it facing a computer screen.

  13. An hour here or there is good but always after everything has been attended to.

    I am such a fucking liar!

    I see bloggers getting fed up and annoyed and writing posts about it and it makes me sad. Your post was fantastic as usual my sweets. Spot on xx

  14. I love the clip! , I have been featuring alot about the sky and clouds in my blog lately, because they have been magical.

    I agree, I tried to bring this issue up at my sons school, at a strategic plan meeting, where everyone was excited to have smart boards and more computers and e-mail for the kids......

    Balance, you have to have it! I said.

    Recently read an article about silicone valley, where the computer heads hang out. Alot of them send their kids to
    a school with NO computers.....(thanks bloodsigns for this link)

    Look at the clouds, they are brilliant and they determine alot in our life, not computers, they can't give me summer rain.......

    Or fill my rain tank!

    Our mountains have a blue tinge today.... So beautiful.


  15. I'm too lazy to be in the race, so I just blog and tweet and write stuff when I want. That's what I have to keep my mind on - I do it because I love it, not for free stuff.

    I love the ad though, hadn't seen it before, I think I'll post it to facebook and then see how many shares it gets. Or, you know, go out side up cut some stuff down with my chainsaw. Or just pick flowers for my kitchen table.

  16. You have such an ability to write with such meaning and clarity. Thank you.

    That ad, brilliant.

  17. Justine Banks Griffith15 November 2011 at 14:32

    That's my friend, David in that ad! :) He is beautiful xo

  18. Fantastic post. I was just walking through the halls at uni today and watching other students (most of them at least 8 years younger than me) and I noticed that almost every single one had either an iPod, some sort of smart phone, laptop or some sort of electronic device that they were paying more attention to than the person who they were engaged in conversation with or where they were walking. I love technology as well, and social media. But when I'm having a conversation I don't ignore the person I'm face to face with and focus on my phone, I don't have to carry a laptop with me everywhere....I love my walks through the woods and honestly I only bring my cell phone because it's isolated and it's a safety issue. I actually turn it to silent and only pull it out if I want to take a picture. People are too connected.

    Sorry this comment is so long but I feel very strongly about this.

  19. The kids and I were actually cloud watching the other day.
    One of my favourite things to do, make stories up about what you can see in the clouds.

    You're right, there is a whole world out there, and we need to be in it. We need to make our kids be part of it.

    It's great to have this online world, but it can never replace the real one, and we need to remember that.

  20. You're spot on. I can no longer compete. There will always be bloggers and social media peeps better than me, and I will always NOT have enough time to read and comment on all the ones I want to, all the ones I want to encourage, and write all the posts I want to. I feel that I can't keep up. It's a never-ending treadmill and I wonder how long I can keep it up. But there is a part of me that is still learning and finding it challenging. But still I worry. Technology is changing so much of our lives. We are so switched on, and our kids are becoming so too. I'm as guilty as the next parent. Even schools are sending info home re the best ipad apps. I don't know where to go from here. I just don't. It's sad when I have to wait for my 10-year-old to come home to sort out my phone/internet problems ...

  21. I try to limit my SM time to the babies nap times so I can focus on her during her awake time, helping her play, learn & develop. However sometimes babies are boring (even when they are as cute as mine is) Twitter is not boring. Twitter reminds me that there is a whole world going on outside these walls & I am often inspired to explore it as a result of what I read in SM.
    IN saying all of the above. I noticed the other day that my 16week old baby was reaching for my iPhone - she sees it in my hand often enough to think that it is my toy, in the same way that her rattle is her toy. What am I doing to my little girl, exposing her to such hands on technology as an iPhone at just 16 weeks old.
    I make a consious effort to restrict the amount of time the TV is on when she is awake - yet I sit & tweet in front of her more regularly than I would like.
    To be honest I originally read this post with the baby on my lap - it was JUST the kick in the head I needed. I put the phone straight down & started engaging with her again.
    So thank you Eden- thank you for kicking me in the head just when I needed to get back into the real world.

  22. Bloody brilliant!!

    and the key - moderation... as with anything in life... moderation.

    we have the choice as to whether we are a slave to it or not...

    I choose not.

    The irony that all of us are commenting via some digital device or another is not lost on me.

    My partner calls the internet "internut" and facebook "fuckbook"... spot on.

    I went to the post office today and brought stamps. to send birthday invitations. I can't remember the last time I sent an actually letter to someone...

    Provocative post Eden. Your've done it again. x

  23. I am a social media tart. Probably a like homemade dark chocolate and salted caramel tart that I love creating and love eating even more. Love your post ... and love taking time out of my tart eating to savour something else too.

  24. Overwhelmed indeed. I have had to step almost completely away from all things internet over the past few months. I have a shockingly addictive personality and found I was so consumed with being everywhere and doing everything that I was EXHAUSTED.

    I've stepped back. I don't care how many followers my blog has. I don't care how many people ignore me on twitter. I don't keep up with my facebook.

    Instead I am investing in my real life. I am moving forward and making real changes.

    TBH, I just dont have the time or mental energy to keep up, there will always be those who are more popular than me, more influential than me etc etc.

    I'm just crawling back into my little corner of the internet and writing what I like, when I like. If that's once a month, so be it.

    Stats, schmats.

    You always seem to say what I am thinking. Love you for it.

    (though I do admit to a passion for pinterest. That's one guilty pleasure that is all mine and involves no outside influence. No comments, no competition. I do love me some Pinterest and I have not managed to step away from it yet, nor do I plan on it :)

  25. Sharron over at http://jewellingtheelephant.blogspot.com/
    had a brilliant post and this youtube link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r1CZTLk-Gk&feature=player_embedded. It's too easy to be less than honest about who we are and less than sincere with our 'friends' on social media unless we really work at it.
    Thanks once again for making us think.

  26. I think you need to remind yourself that this is a bubble. Will it burst? Who knows - but it's insular and it doesn't resemble anything like reality.

    Avoid the people who treat it like it's real, enjoy yourself as much as you can and take 10 minutes every morning to drink a cup of tea in the sun.

    Also, this is why I garden. Because sometimes, I need to get my hands dirty to clean my mind and sometimes, I need to sit in the dirt and breathe.

    That said, I might have missed the point entirely.


  27. I am going to put my work hat on for a minute, the babies on screens, this is important for some people.

    It is not so much a social media thing, but it is a technology that can be used very well. The hospital I am working for (in a brand new position of course as Social Media Manager) had a system that allows parents to have a video camera cot. This allows them to see the baby on the internet - live - or to share it with a few friends who they want to give the special password. For babies in special care, this can be a huge thing. For those that have to leave hospital before the baby comes home, they can see it when ever they like, or express milk by watching it. Many can't have visitors due to the risk to the baby, but they still want to share the babies arrival with family.

    Do I think Social Media is a golden shiny light - not at all, but technology advances, they are different, sadly, we always seem to have to take the good with the bad (or in some cases, really really bad) stuff.


    My blog is tiny, my influence even smaller. I check Twitter only when someone tells me there's something I need to see (I've actually left and re-joined several times).
    I refuse to have an iPhone, and my kids don't have Facebook or net access.

    Having said that, I LOVE the net. A GF and I were talking today about how many amazing, creative women have the chance to express themselves through blogs, and how powerful that expression can be.

    So I think it's a really important tool, and one we have to learn to use wisely. Mindfully.

  29. First thing I did when I read this was go outside and sit in the sun and think for a bit. Then I got distracted by the housework, and now I'm back here.

    I agree with you. If you get caught up in the numbers game, or feel like you constantly have to be a part of the conversation, then you get sucked in.

    A good balance is being able to join in, but also being able to leave when you want.

    I don't think I could give up social media entirely - I've met so many wonderful friends who I'm lucky enough to catch up with 'in real life' on a regular basis - but it does require mindful use.

  30. I´m glad you did a follow up on your anti-media post. It´s like a catch 22, it´s all fun and games until it´s not.

  31. Do you think it's digital evolution? Or technological evolution? Do you think that when whoever invented the abacus (cant be arsed googling it...ironically) the parents of children who used the abacus worried? All I know is that I miss cassingles. And walkmans. But I don't miss having to carry my cassingle carrybag everywhere with me. The iPod slightly better there. I've always been able to step away and watch from afar. It's all about choosing your moments to re-enter the social media atmosphere.

  32. I really like this post. Forgive me if I'm wrong but as I read it I got the feeling that you've really thought on your words so as to be as diplomatic as you can; it isn't a free-flowing post. But it speak-a the truth and I like it a lot. I have felt like an outsider a lot with social media- as a loser on the edge of the cool circle just watching. It shouldn't feel that way, but it does! The whole landscape has changed so much in a short time. I'm still grateful for the technology and having the world at my finger tips nonetheless, but I don't think people should hold it so high on the list of priorities.

    That ad made me sniff.

  33. I'm not very good at social media. It's probably for the best.

    I think much of the interest from marketers in blogs and bloggers is very cynical. I'm yet to be convinced there's a care factor. But I don't claim to know much about such things.

  34. Seriously: the imbalance of virtual and real becomes a matter of choice, and can become scary.

    The real world is messy, hard, small rewards, hard to find.

    The virtual world: you decide where to go, you go where you get smoke blown up your arse and your ego massaged.

    You pick and choose your own adventure.

    Not so much in life.

    I can see why people go online more and more.

    And just as the children of the 70's now have higher emotional detachment rates b/c of the first generation growing up with the rise in divorce, what about the children of the internet..who haven't seen the color of their mother's eyes in 3 days b/c her laptop or PC is always in front of her.

    I think about what that will show in 20 years.

  35. Life changes - and we must constantly adjust to new things. It's great for grandpa to see the new baby via Skype, if he lives 3 hours away. Any closer than that, and he'd better get in the car and make a trip over. The virtual world is no substitute for the real thing.

  36. Dude. all i know is I've known you since 2007 and your words and our connection is real--as was that awful IF struggle. i think of you, deathstar, pale, tb and so many women, too many to write here...and though some of us are only lurkers now on one anothers blogs that support, connection, and care was and is real. i hear you though. success is a trap...outward definitions etc. it is all about what is in our hearts. i am trying to check myself bc i think being online lights up all those same receptors that substances used to.... i try to keep it as a writimg tool amd a lifeline to other moms....support.

    i am writing this on gs ipad while z poured an entire box of cheerios on her tray



  37. I love social media. I love that through blogging I am able to meet people like you a half a world away. However, I agree that there needs to be a moderation. We just had to step back at our house and put the smart phones down and pay more attention to our family. My son is only little once and he deserves my attention more than Facebook and blogs while he is there.

  38. Well said! I think it is a love/hate relationship. Love that ad….so clever!!

  39. Wow. Some seriously great quotes on here. I will have to share these with my gamers at best iphone 4 apps. I will be sure to cite you though. Keep on Rocking! Tim

  40. Oh what a fabulous post! And that video is very cool.
    Taking my baby out for a walk now - Toodles!

  41. I think social media has turned a bit of a dark manipulative corner. I think historically it could be a turning point. 'We're not in Kansas anymore'.

  42. Eden you have a knack of echoing my sentiments so well... I've been feeling guilty so much lately for not dedicating more time to blogging, connecting with bloggers, commeting on blogs, twittering, facebooking etc... But then I think, "how crazy is that?!" What I should feel guilty of is the fact work is taking up the time away from my husband and son, who matter the most.

    I cant keep up, and that's ok. I just do what I can with the time I've got, and that has to be enough. As long as I still love the art of getting the words out of my head and onto the screen, then that will be enough for me

  43. You are the Cassandra of the social media world.

  44. Isn't that ad hilarious - get real, get outside, then chop the bastard down, blow it to hell, and snip it off with a wire of plastic whizzing around so fast it won't know what pulverised it into oblivion.

    Good times.

  45. Well said.

    As someone who is feeling jaded and insecure over all of this social media, I say Yes! I cannot and will never be able to keep up with the competition but then again, it's like that in real life too.

    In real life people are always telling me I am not good enough. I guess that was one of the beautiful things about the internet - there, I was good enough until I wasn't anymore and these social media experts started to tell me that I could never be successful.

    There has to be somewhere in this world that I can be me and feel okay about that, right?

  46. I've pulled back recently and I feel better for it.
    Computers are awesome for business, but for social interaction, they come nowhere near real life.
    Blogs are great for selling, but when they're personal blogs, sometimes I wonder why we're selling ourselves. For all that attention, we pay a high price in time and presence in the real world.

  47. Great post, and by the comments you have received, it seems to reflect the thoughts of a lot of people "out there".

    Personal Blogs are personal, and in my mind can be a fantastic way to connect to people, but we must connect in real life, not just in cyber space.

    Everyone should remember why they started Blogging. It wasn't for the give-aways, paid reviews, or attention, it was a way to connect. To tell your story.

    I really don't like reading all of these comments that say "I can't keep up". Don't. People are putting so much pressure on themselves. Go at your own pace. Be who you are. Blog your personal story, and connect with others doing the same. You don't need to have 1000 comments and a paid review to feel connected and loved.

    You are all wonderful. Thank you for celebrating your story your way.

    Thanks for starting such a wonderful discussion Eden.
    K xx

  48. There's a severely dangerous and addictive side to all of this and I have to say I'm a junkie in urgent need of rehab - What centre are you attending?
    Nic xxx

  49. Just when I thought I must be the only one.... I have let my "stats" drop away, hardly anyone seems to be bothered commenting on anything I write any more. I've stepped away from reading and actually even from posting lately. You have to head where you're needed most - well, I do anyway - and right now, I don't see any real need on or for my blog. It might change tomorrow. But either way, right now, I'm ok with being a bit of a ghost online. xx

  50. Eden, do you know what's so funny? When I answered your tweeted question yesterday about where we're taking followers with "Straight to Hell (in a handbasket)?" I had NOT yet read this post. It was just... I guess great minds think alike.

    (Great post by the way.)

  51. Eden, you know I love the way you write - I also like the way you rollerskate around the house. The 'thing' with social media for me, is that obvious word 'social'. I know many others have written something similar before but I think it's at its best when people are truly being social - sharing stuff, commenting, chatting, respectfully expressing their views, learning about other people etc So on Twitter, when our tweets get too 'broadcasty' or too self-interested, it feels less social. And I feel like I, and many of us, tread that tightrope daily. I teeter and fall off sometimes. I liked your question on Twitter about where we are taking followers - maybe I am getting too serious - but I would love it if we were all mostly taking our followers to the heart of what makes us authentically us - even if it's our website or blog, as long as that's a big enough part of who we are, then that's okay isn't it? Is it? I hope so...

    More bloggers are now writing about their dilemmas with working with brands. If working with a brand helps you do what you love (e.g. writing, or travelling or cooking), and you aren't compromising your values and you are being honest and straightforward - that's okay isn't it? I hope so ...

    But yeah - being more mindful and balanced about why we are here, and what we are trying to do - and remembering this IS our real life whether we're conversing on this blog, or out in the street, it is our REAL life. It'st just that you can't spend your whole time chatting on the street and hope to have a good life elsewhere, same with this blogging, tweeting gig I reckon ...

  52. And that, my dear, is why I could never be a fucking 'power blogger'. Stuff scares me senseless. I go nuts after an hour on social media, my head screams 'enough!!!' My heart just plain screams. It's all More More More and for all the wonderfulness of it all, the hard core side of it just show us many, many times at our plainest and ugliest. Desperation and loneliness. I have to look away. x

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. sometimes I fantasise about there being some catastrophic Dr Who-like disaster where there is not internet, no phones, no petrol for cars, no TV... none of this constant electrical distraction... just me and our ten acres of weeds and work to be done.

    Then I realise how much of a wuss I am and go back to tweeting.


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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