I had a conversation the other day about online schooling and screen time and how all this stuff has affected the kids, especially here in Ontario where schools have been closed for longer than any other place in the world when suddenly, she said this:
“Well, you’re always on a screen.”
She’s not wrong.
I have to admit I got immediately defensive and really had to reign it in. I was in the mood to rant and lash out, not at her, but at all the misunderstanding that prevails for many people in my age demographic and older.
I was in such a state that I walked away, but came back later and JADE-ed myself.
Exactly the thing I don’t want to do anymore.
Here’s the thing. She didn’t mean it as an attack. She was simply making a correct observation, as had other people in my life. Hockey and ringette families for instance. In some cases, they don’t say anything but their body language or facial expressions are telling enough. In other cases, they come right out and ask me why I’m not mingling or talking with the other group but sitting there staring at my screen. (I don’t stare mindlessly…I read or I type. There I go again with the JADEing.)
It’s not that I don’t socialize. I do, at times. But I don’t at other times. So, yes, I stare at my screens. A lot.
Because I DO things online.
- I WRITE things. Notes, stories, reminders, ideas.
- I PONDER the things I write.
- I NURTURE my online community.
- I ENGAGE with my followers.
- I EDUCATE myself academically.
- I READ and LEARN which in turn propels me to CREATE.
All of this has gained me an online tribe, here and on other platforms, which has encouraged and supported me in ways that I simply do not get from my IRL (In Real Life) environment.
The reasons I spend a lot of time online are varied but the result (my creative output) is part of my If Not Now, When movement:
- I wrote my first book. I self-published it and sold copies.
- I launched a jewelry business and opened an Etsy shop to sell my hand-made beaded necklaces and bracelets.
- I experimented with online income streams and have a slow but steady increase urging me to keep doing what I’m doing (Medium Partner Program, Amazon Affiliate Program, and a few other interests that may or may not result in the desired outcome and are ongoing).
As I reflected my irrational reaction, I realized that sometimes people simply don’t understand the difference between being an online creator and being an online consumer.
The key difference is that I engage with my community online. I may not have thousands of followers on Instagram but I create content that tells a story, often supplementing what I discuss here on the blog. I get likes, sometimes comments, and there is some back and forth communication with people who take time out of their day to acknowledge something I created online. Sometimes, I make a sale on social media because you see, I sell my creations online: my book, premium content, jewelry…
All of this JADEing is simply reinforcing that I enjoy being online, not just for the social aspect, but for the creativity aspect.
I enjoy my screens because it is a creativity outlet for me. I don’t sit and stare at my phone the way I used to sit and stare at my television back in the day.
Which brings me back to my rant.
I may spend a lot of time on screens, but my family is fed, the housework is done, the meals planned, shopped and cooked, the dog walked, the dentist appointment booked…
No one needs to remind me to take a break from my screens because people are starving or the dog peed on the floor or we ran out of milk.
Can people who consume social media but don’t interact, engage or create any themselves say the same?
Can they say, with their massive amounts of followers and zero posts on their instagram account, that they have spent valuable time online?
As much as memes may be part of our collective online existence today, they do nothing besides give us short-term and easily forgettable entertainment.
Do this instead:
Invent a meme and write an article or create a youtube tutorial.
Welcome to content creation. You are no longer a
lazy ass consumer-only of social media.
Anyway, that’s my rant today. Thank you for dropping by my blog. I have to head out to shovel the driveway again, the snow is past my knee!
See you in the comments.