30 December 2013

Social Media


Jan Grapeby Jan Grape

As 2013 ends and 2014 begins, I'm finding myself in a somewhat melancholy mood.  Maybe even a bit vulnerable, tinged with sadness. The 29th of December is the eighth anniversary of the day my whole world changed. My husband, Elmer Grape, my first reader, my love and best friend of almost thirty nine years died.

Not using this as a plea for sympathy but just asking the question that occurs to me, every now and again. What and why are we telling people our personal information?
Young people are only now realizing that sending nude photos or sexting information to their heart throb can get them in serious trouble. Of course, adults have been guilty of it too. Think that man in the political arena in NY who recently ran for office again. Yes, I know his name, and so do you, but no sense naming him. Just as soon forget him.

People recently have sent messages over Twitter that they wish they hadn't almost immediately. Sometimes managing to get fired from their job in the process. It's also possible to lose out on getting a job because the person doing the hiring, checks out the applicants social media page. How about your lawyer checking it out when you're getting a divorce? Or your parole officer when you're out of jail and on parole? Not to many good reasons here to broadcast your innermost feelings to the whole world.

Yet I find there is much good that happens when you tell everyone that your pet is sick or has died. Other pet lovers send you encouragement, healing thoughts and reminders that our beloved pet awaits us just over the rainbow bridge. That we'll be reunited with that furry child one day. Or mentioning an illness of your pet, you may learn of a different or unusual treatment. It may be nothing more than helping you feel better until you can report your pet has recovered.

How about discussing with social media when there's an illness in your immediate family. Or a divorce? Or a death? Many writers are basically solitary people who actually don't like talking much to outsiders. Others don't think anything about sharing what's going on in their lives.

Honestly, I think sharing and getting positive responses from others, friends, family or even Facebook friends can be helpful in my times of joy, sorrow or stress.  Sometimes just discussing how you feel, helps you handle whatever is going on in your world. To me that's the good part of social media. These "out there" forms of everyone knowing everything about you is certainly something to think about and discuss.

Let me hear how others feel about being reticent or opening yourself up in this manner.
I'm hoping to reach a middle road… not telling everything I know or feel, but certainly not above asking for a hand of friendship when I feel I may need it. How about you?

I had an awesome Christmas and visit with part of my family in Pigeon Forge and Nashville, TN and am looking forward to seeing more family in the next week or two. And I'm certainly looking forward to what this bright NEW YEAR of 2014 has to bring. Look out Texas, here I come.

10 comments:

Leigh Lundin said...

Very evocative article, Jan. Hugs to you.

I tend toward the ultra-private (which seems normal to me) and when I do release information, it's usually innocuous. A corporate VP once said "Leigh keeps a tight seal but once in a while he lifts the lid and we get a peek inside."

Oops, I just revealed something.

Happy new year!

Fran Rizer said...

Jan, hope you're home all snuggled up and recuperating from your trip. I have little to say about social media and try not to post anything too personal. I do, however, have a comment about the anniversary of your husband's death. My brother was killed in a car wreck the morning after my eighteenth birthday. For a long time, I didn't want to celebrate my birthday because of the association. You may have had that same feeling about Christmas after you lost your husband. Now, I celebrate my birthday and on the date of my brother's death, I devote myself to celebrating his life. I have lunch somewhere he would have liked and when possible, visit with others who loved him. Instead of mourning our loss, we celebrate the blessing of his life. It works for me in helping relieve the sorrow of that loss.

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for the article, Jan. I'm glad you got to visit family in Pigeon Forge. I love it there & especially love Dollywood!

My niece bugged my husband till he finally joined Facebook. I look at it with his ID every now & then (he knows, he sits right there with me). I won't join Facebook myself, because I'm leery of being cyberstalked again.

Louis A. Willis said...

A thought article, Jan

Like Leigh, I'm a very private person and and when I do reveal myself it is usual to a relative. Yet, I think sometimes we need to open up to someone, a good friend preferably, to ease our minds.

Since you visited Pigeon Forge here in my part of Tennessee, I hope youall'll come back.

R.T. Lawton said...

Jan, in my past world, agents quickly learned that talking about their problems showed a weakness that could be taken advantage of and therefore had potential repercussions, so most stayed private. If something serious happened and the agent clammed up, ie, "everything's fine," then he or she got no help.
To counteract these situations, the agency came up with the Trauma Team (consisting of other agents) which responded to shootings, accidents and other life traumas in order to get the affected agent to open up and get appropriate counseling. The agency would then pay for the counseling. The catch was that depending upon your problem or mental state, you could then also end up out of a job based on what you admitted or said during the counseling. Those who were aware of this catch, such as Trauma Team Members, kept their own problems private and kept on going until they managed their own personal problem, or it became so obvious that it affected the job, in which case supervisors took care of the situation and the agent had no choice.
Me, I was a member of the Trauma Team, but never got called on someone else's serious situation. Even so, from time to time,I've probably let more information loose here than I realized. It's the nature of the human element.

Jan Grape said...

Thanks all for revealing a bit more of yourselves here. Many women were taught for years to NOT ever speak up. The saying was a lady's name should ever be in print in your birth, your marrige, your death. But I wasn't taught that and besides for my personality...you can forget that sh*t. Now at my age, I sorta laugh. I'm old enough not to care what others think, I'll say what I please. And wear a red hat and purple dress...lol

Jan Grape said...

Fran, thanks for your comments about celebrating the life of your brother rather than grieve. I try my best to do something different or be someplace different and that helps. It's just hearing of someone's else's sadness often hits me, too.

Jan Grape said...

Elizabeth & Louis, a chalet in the mountains for Xmas with friends and family was a blast. It had been forty plus years since I'd seen the Smokey Mountains so it was a treat. I think our cabins address was Sev'ille, and we actually walked around Galatinburg shopping and getting Old Tyme Photo made...I'll post later. It's a beautiful part of the country for sure.

Fran Rizer said...

Jan, your mention of doing as you please and wearing a red hat and purple dress reminded me of a long ago incident when I was in my mid-thirties which was before the club got going.

I changed schools and one day received a gift from the faculty of my old school. It was the red and purple poem with a note: "For you, because you didn't wait until you grow old."

Jan and Fran, the cozy reps on SS are, indeed, a lot alike.

Dixon Hill said...

Well, Jan, it sounds to me like you got your stuff "wired-tight" and good -- i.e. you addressed a difficult period by engaging in a nice time spent with loved ones in a place of splendid beauty. What more could a person ask for, that could reasonably be expected to occur? Glad you're with us.

--Dixon