Walk The Talk

Rant

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a words person. Words are more powerful than people realize. I mean, we’re the only mammals with language abilities—that’s amazing, people! But over the past year I’ve realized something that has altered my opinion of words: words mean absolutely nothing if not backed up by actions. Yes, this is a simple concept. But people seem to have forgotten that it’s necessary to support what you say with complimentary actions. You can’t just say you’re a writer if you never pick up a pen. And you can’t say you’re an athlete if you don’t go on the field. I’m sick of hearing people say that they’re pro-whatever, when they don’t actively support it. Or that they subscribe to a certain belief system, but you couldn’t tell from their lifestyle.

photo 2

Our society is full of wannabes and empty-statements. 140-character long identities that don’t last more than a second. We spend so much time cultivating our Pinterest boards and building our Facebook persona and tweeting our Buzzfeed quiz results, but we fail to live our lives in a way that really means something. We live in a world where it is more accepted to boast your personality type than your personal beliefs.

photo 3

It’s time that we as a society find our voice, and not one that is an echo of someone else’s. I don’t care if we agree on everything or can’t agree on anything. But I will respect you if your life reflects what you claim in your sociopolitical Facebook posts. If you think everyone deserves love, then show everyone love. If you think we need better care for the poor, then start sharing your own finances. If you think that health care is an issue, then start caring about the health of the people down the street. Don’t just stand up for what you believe in. Do something about it.

photo 1

It has been said that actions speak louder than words. But they do more than that. They don’t just change the black and white to color; they bring them to life in high-definition. Actions substantiate words; they give them power.

So stop saying things that you aren’t willing to live. Your words are more than just audible reflections of your thoughts. They should be reflections of what you do now and promises of what you will do in the future.

Social Fasting

Advertising

The first project for my Social Media Marketing course was to go without any form of social media for 24 hours. I groaned when I read the assignment, thinking about everything I’d miss out on by not checking my Facebook or Twitter. Thoughout the day we were supposed to keep a log  describing if and when we were faced with the temptation to use social media and how we reacted. Our professor said that it was okay if we cheated, but we had to log why we did and what we felt. Of course, being the professor-pleaser that I am, I vowed to go cold-turkey – that lasted about 3 mintues.

I began at 10 am by sending out warnings to my Facebook friends and Twitter followers that I was going on a 24-hour hiatus – as if the world would stop without me. Immediately, I found the need to access facebook on my iPhone to locate the phone number of a person I was supposed to be meeting to work on a project. It blew my mind that it took only that long to realize how much I depended on social media for day-to-day activities. Then, I felt compelled to tweet about my inability to locate my partner’s contact info and the insecurity I felt waiting outside the cafeteria alone (I overcame that desire). During the day, I faced similar situations: the desire to tweet about the fact I was fasting, the guilt of leaving my words with friends opponents hanging, the frustration of hardly being to check my phone without an alert from Mashable popping up.

I’m ashamed to say that the first half of my day was consumed with thoughts of the social interactions I was missing by giving up social media. At one point my sister even shoved her phone in my face saying “did you see this tweet?” and I had to remind her that no, I had not.

Then something happened. I got bored. Normally when I get bored I’ll surf the internet and check my various social media outlets. But that day I decided to hunker down and finish reading that book I’d been meaning to. And that’s when I discovered the value of this fast – I wasn’t distracted. There wasn’t the pesky thought in the back of my brain urging me to constantly connect or the need to check to see if anyone had reached out to me, waiting for messages and notifications and distant interactions, because, well, I couldn’t. It was just me and my book. I was alone. I finally realized the simply truth about the impact of social media on my generation: we are never alone.

Although I have gone back to using all my social media outlets, I have definitely gained an understanding of how social media alone has and will continue to change our world. It makes a small world even smaller and yet distances us from eachother in a way that no other medium has. We can connect with anyone, anywhere, at anytime, all from the safety of seclusion. We may be surrounded by connections, but we have disconnected ourselves from what really matters.

Social media shouldn’t constitute the entirety of our social experiences. It should act as a tool to engage, not the only means of doing so.