By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Recently, a long-time twitter friend of mine, Paolo, sent me a link to an Italian video you YouTube. As I began to watch the video I thought, “Oh great. Another Facebook or Twitter promotion. Who needs more of that? We all know how much Facebook and Twitter have done for social media and small businesses. We don’t really need another reminder, do we?”

 

I was pleasantly surprised by the video ending. In fact, I loved it. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve written my fair share of social media posts, praising what SM has done for my own businesses and professional relationships. However, I recently stepped away from social media to work in a classroom again, after being gone from the mainstream workforce for several years.

It’s different. While I’ve found great contentment in my Online work since 2007, and I’ve enjoyed cultivating my Online friendships and business relationships, there is something irreplaceable about eye-to-eye contact. There is something unmatched about hands-on experience in a real life setting, coffee with colleagues, round table discussions about methods of practice and brainstorming sessions between employers and employees.

In a world where text messaging, Skype sessions, YouTube videos and screen time have begun to dominate our lives I encourage you to step back now and again. Perhaps you need a fresh perspective on parenting or small business ownership, teaching or customer service. Maybe you need to make a lunch date with an old friend, join a chamber of commerce group or visit a senior center to chat about days gone by. Conversing with a neighbor over tea could do your body and mind good. Taking a side job away from your computer or volunteering in a soup kitchen or classroom may be just what you need in order to feel motivated again.

Resent research suggests that many people are suffering from depression after becoming addicted to Facebook. Teenagers watch their friends posting fun and interesting photos of trips or new clothing only to wonder, “Why isn’t my life that interesting? What’s wrong with me?” One study in 2011 (The New York Times) actually stated that people are “in love” with their iPhones – that a chemical reaction happens when our phones ring or vibrate.

The articles states:

“But most striking of all was the flurry of activation in the insular cortex of the brain, which is associated with feelings of love and compassion. The subjects’ brains responded to the sound of their phones as they would respond to the presence or proximity of a girlfriend, boyfriend or family member.

Here is my suggestion: walk away from your Online and digitized world now and again. I’m finding new perspective lately, with fewer hours Online and more time spent in eye-to-eye contact with others. I fully understand the need to be Online if you run an Online business. I’m simply encouraging you to remember that the best social media network, in a nutshell, is LIFE.

Shara Lawrence-Weiss has a background in education, early childhood, special needs, freelance and marketing. She owns various websites including: Mommy Perks, Personal Child Stories, Early Childhood News and Resources, Emergent Literacy and Weiss Business Solutions (co owner). Shara actively assists with children’s charity events and currently works as a Special Education Paraprofessional (K-5th). Learn more about Shara and Rick. You can view additional Guest Posts here.