BOUNDARIES – HOW DO WE NAVIGATE THEM IN TODAY’S TOPSY-TURVY WORLD OF SOCIAL MEDIA
What I will endeavor to do in this short article is to highlight and share some of my experiences thus far in the ever-changing world of social media, and hopefully share some insights into how to navigate these shark infested waters of the 21st Century. Now, you are probably wondering, what in the world does this have to do with boundaries? Hold on, and fasten your seat belts! We are not quite on a roller-coaster ride, but then again, that begs the question, are we?
In today’s world of Social Media, there are a plethora of platforms to choose from: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and PinInterest, to name a few. Then there are the more specialised business platforms such as LinkedIn and Xing and I’m sure many more.
The next question we need to ask ourselves is: do we use these tools/applications or do we opt out? And if we opt out, are we cutting ourselves off from others who are using and participating on these platforms and are we missing out? At every turn, technology is making inroads into our daily lives. Where do we draw the line? Burying one’s head in the sand like an ostrich is no longer an option; even my elderly Aunt of 83 has a computer and yes, dare I say it, a FACEBOOK page. Thank God for remote applications, now there’s one for the books…..the blind leading the blind, but then how can one refuse one’s elderly Aunt assistance when she calls transatlantic (still digesting the Skyping concept) and is thoroughly frustrated with the help desk we all know and ohm, love, or in this case, NONE!
Where do the boundaries lie, how do we define them for ourselves as women, wives, mothers, sisters, business people and friends! That is the burning question? Each and every one of us has to define these boundaries for themselves. For that matter, where do you draw a dividing line between you on a personal level and you as a business entity? It is almost like writing up a personnel policy consciously or unconsciously, something akin to what companies have to do today, which they relegate to their human resources departments.
How do these communication platforms affect us, and how do we as a society use these relatively new technological tools to effect change in our communities, whilst maintaining some degree of privacy? This raises an interesting conundrum.
The main question is no longer do we participate, but how and where we participate, and in what manner. How much do you want to allow others a glimpse into your world, or for that matter, how much do you want to share and at what level?
Here are just a few questions to ask yourselves when deciding which platforms you want to be on, and how you want to use and participate on them.
- What do you want to achieve with these tools/applications and how?
- How much time and effort are you willing to put into learning how to use these tools/applications?
- How will you track and monitor the impact of using these tools/applications?
- Once you understand the basics of using these tools/applications, do you continue to do it all yourself, or do you outsource it or part of it, to someone else?
Remember, all of the above tools take time to learn, master and monitor. It’s a brave new world out there….scary, exciting, overwhelming are just a few adjectives that spring to mind.
There are endless questions to be asked and answered. Where does one stop and start. This in of itself forces one to define a boundary. It’s not just the use/application of these tools you have to take into account, but the impact they will have on you as a person. Once you head down that road, there is no turning back! The minute you put something out there on the web, it’s stays there – forever. Unwittingly or not, you’ve invited others into your space, not just those you know, but those you didn’t know existed. And now the world of privacy rears its head…that’s a story for another day!
Now you are asking yourselves what has this to do with boundaries. Well – in fact, quite a lot! All these delightful technological tools are encroaching on your time, time you would have set aside for yourselves a decade ago. This brings me to my next point. Boundaries are not set in stone, they shift with the changing tides; however, there are some that are sacrosanct, and others that you have to decide on for yourself!
One of my favorite quotes from “Pride and Prejudice” comes to mind when I think of Social Media, – “What are we here for, Mrs. Bennet, but to amuse our neighbors!” Even the 18th Century writer, Jane Austen, understood the need to participate in a community, but she also understood that a code of behaviour, which was far stricter then than it is now, must be followed. I wonder what she would have made of our brave new technological world?
Thank you Ladies and Gents for your undivided attention, I hope you were enjoying a delicious latte or a dish of tea whilst reading my article.
This article was written for the English version of Pink Pumps Global. Applause to the editor-in-chief, Gabi Schendl-Gallhofer. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section.
Copyright © 2012, Agatha C Melvin. All rights reserved