It’s A Small World Afterall . . . My Love/Hate Relationship

I’m sure we’ve all heard the expression, “It’s a small world after all.” Love the ride at Disney (ADD side note: funniest description I’ve ever read of this ride is in the opening pages of Going Bovine by Libba Bray. Do yourself a favor & click on the link to read the free preview on Amazon, and prepare to really ROTFLMAO!) . . . where was I? Oh yeah, love the ride, not a big fan of the saying. Ever since the invention of the Internet, this world just keeps getting smaller and smaller, to the point where I am afraid for the kind of world my 13yo and 9yo daughters are growing up in.

Family Disney Pic 2007

I miss when my kids were small, and when I was too, lol.

I’m frightened enough that when I took my English 6-12 certification exam a couple of weeks ago (in preparation to teach middle school Language Arts, and you should read the awesome story about that if you haven’t!), and I had to write a persuasive essay about an invention I wish would’ve never been invented, I wrote about social media sites.WARNING: If you’re my 13yo daughter reading this now (b/c she occasionally cares enough to see what her old mom is up to), you may want to melt me with that laser look you’re so good at when I’m done with this blog post. So get it ready now. And remember Mom loves you.

It drives me nuts to see my daughter’s iPod Touch attached to her hand . . . to the point where she challenged herself to a 5 day detox and couldn’t last 24 hours. I walk into a house to pick her up from a party and instead of everybody talking, they’re texting the person next to them on the friggin’ couch! They constantly ask, “How many Instagram followers do you have?” to the point it becomes bullying because if you don’t have at least 1,000 followers then you’re not cool. (Just made said daughter take down her account because she let too many strangers ‘follow’ her). Her ‘boy’ friends inhale violent video games through Xbox Live into the wee hours of the night. Her girlfriends think life can be encapsulated in a 140 character Twitter message or Facebook status update. BUT THERE IS NO COMMUNICATION! To the point where we run into one of her friends outside of school at a Shrek the Musical Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre performance tonight, and they don’t even know how to properly SAY hello to each other.

You see, my daughter lost her iPod Touch three weeks ago, so she couldn’t text it, email it, tag her in a FB status, post a duck face with her friend on Instagram, ect . . . . and by the way, these past three weeks have been HEAVEN without that little Apple. Dreading officially getting her a cell phone before school starts up again, but we’ll need to because of the logistics of my job change Note: this will be her first cell, and I’m proud of that. When I taught 3rd grade this past year, the majority of my class had cell phones and a FB account . . . at 8 years old. Yeah, and we wonder why we have such an ADD problem in this country now. Oooh, squirrel!

But here’s the LOVE part. Yanno that Shrek show I mentioned? I got to meet a publishing sister/blogger buddy all the way from Ohio there tonight. Why? B/c when hubs and I were trying to win the tickets through a, wait for it . . . YEP–Facebook contest, Tara Tyler saw it and said she’d be attending the show. I asked, do you mean in your area or are you visiting on vacation? She answered she was vacationing in Florida and did I live near there? Um, heck yeah! And this is the 4th blogger buddy I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person due to social media. Well, I wouldn’t have any blogger buddies without social media, would I?

Tara Tyler and me

Tara Tyler and me 🙂

The other part I love? As a debut author, I could probably expect to sell 100 books to my friends and family without social media. But the social media frenzy caused my reach to multiply that by 10 so far, and it keeps growing. For the past 3 weeks, 18 Things has trended in the top 100 for Coming of Age fiction on Amazon, ranging anywhere from the 30’s to 100. Why? I haven’t done any real promoting since March. I’m guessing all those people who came across my debut novel through the What Are Your 18 Things bloghop and then the 6 week book blog tour have finally gotten around to reading and recommending it (the book came out in January). That’s the power of word of mouth, and it starts with social media sites, and most importantly, it’s all FREE!

In the end, I love connecting with fabulous people like you and the thought of a couple million people potentially reading my book. But on the flip side, I hate all the murderers and child molesters that potentially  could be looking at my daughters on one of those sites too. It’s a win-lose situation, but I know social media isn’t going anywhere, and I must adapt or die . . . which happens to be one of my favorite quotes from the movie, Moneyball. If you’ve never seen this inspirational true story, make some time to watch it!

What are your thoughts? Do you LOVE social media, or do you love to hate it? Have you meet any blogger buddies in real life yet? Oh, and don’t forget to check out Tara Tyler’s new novel, Pop Travela sci-fi noir, cat and mouse game where the hard-boiled detective is chased across the world, “popping” with teleportation, which has a deadly flaw he is determined to expose. How cooool does that sound?!

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36 comments on “It’s A Small World Afterall . . . My Love/Hate Relationship

  1. I couldn’t do promotions in the real world like I do here. I know what you mean about the kids though. If I had a kid he’d hate me, because he wouldn’t get a cell phone until he had a job.

  2. My 14 yo said, matter of factly, “oh, I only have a minute left on my phone.” the other night… Well, after a looooong discussion about why he has the phone (so we can get in touch with him) and how he needs to call his friends on the (house) phone and have actual conversations with them and not CONSTANTLY be texting, where an entire text is: lol, or ‘kay.

    I feels your pain, Jamie! And then I read about adults who can’t go longer than 10 minutes AT WORK without checking some form of social media, and I wonder what we’ve done to ourselves!

    And then I check out Pinterest for any super cool new pins…and all is forgiven.

  3. I guess I’m not cool. I think I have about 10 followers on Instagram and I’m not even allowed to follow my kids! They’re older though at 15 and 19. Once my daughter started driving the cell phone came in very handy. In the beginning she always had to text me once she reached her destination. One rule that’s stayed constant in our home is no gadgets during dinner. So far so good.

  4. You just described my 14yo daughter. She even FBs while doing her hair before school -at 6:30am. Yep, her friends are up. Guess social media makes for early risers???
    I feel much like you. I’m not sure what I think. A part of me hates-hates-hates all of it, but the other loves the benefits too. *sigh* I’m trying to shoot for the balance. See if I find it 😉

  5. It’s love/hate for me, too. I love staying in touch with a quick note when there isn’t time for more, or sharing pics, but the best is meeting in person! It’s so fabulous to meet the people you’ve been talking to online forever. It’s the way of the future, and it’s not going away, so our children will be learning different ways of socializing that we did.

    Hey, congratulations on your huge success with 18 Things! Woohoo!

  6. Love to hate social media. As you say there are good things for getting your name known. Too bad people bad mouth eachother and kids have no communication skills over a d because of social media. I worry how it will affect my kids as they grow up. I hope I restrict getting them a phone for a long time. It could be all good if humans weren’t so fraud right?

    Let me know how the cell phone thing works out. I can learn from you 🙂 good luck!!!

  7. Jamie, since there is no way to get around it … I think young parents have to think through each decision they make for their kids regarding the internet and how much social networking is too much.

    I have three grandchildren; twins going on 16 next month and a ten year old who is a soccer nut. What I am in awe of is the way my son and his wife have made it their business to read everything the kids read, monitor all the web sites they visit and make networking a family thing.

    Also, I agree with Alex … thousands of authors today wouldn’t make a plug nickel without the benefit of on line marketing 🙂

    • We don’t read everything, but we do check it about once a week and she knows she has no privacy! She’s a good girl, but every day I still ask her if she’s done any drugs. I’m only half-joking! When she turns 16, I guess I’ll have to add have you had sex to my dialogue *vomits all over the laptop* God, I hope she stays on the straight and narrow!

      • Remember when you were a teenager. You wanted to rebel against adult authority … but in the end … it is the strong direction you give her that will keep her safe. Wait until she IS old enough for THAT talk. Boy, is that scary 🙂

  8. You are an awesome mom! It is hard with kids! There is definitely a balance to everything.

    I need to buy your book. No, I’m going to buy your book – right now 🙂

  9. You are so right to recognize that social media is a great opportunity, but also a temptation to waste precious time. It’s tough because there are so many really great people out there!
    Bullying because you’re not cool enough on Instagram? Please tell me it’s not so!
    The world needs more books like yours to set things right. 🙂

  10. It’s cool that you got to meet Tara! I know how you feel about all the media – the love and the hate. My kids had to save their own money and purchase their own ipods, which they both did. They still have to ask me if they can use them, because we limit their “screen” time and try to limit ours too.

    • Both of my daughters had to save up for their iPod Touch themselves too . . . didn’t pay one cent toward it. With my 9yo, I don’t need to regulate it b/c she’s hardly using it . . . think it was more she wanted one b/c big sister had one. With the 13yo, she’s such a perfect kid otherwise, that I tend to allow this one vice, but will need to do something when she gets her phone!

  11. As promised, I’m dazzling you with one of my um, award-winning, highly collectable comments. Cause for celebration, me thinks 🙂

    And to think that you met Tara, who is, incidentally, another one of my adoring fans. And rather wonderfully, I got to meet your amazing self on ‘Farcebook’ via “Daydreamers Anonymous”, where I said I’d check out your posting. In fact, because it’s almost four in the morning, I would very much like bonus points for commenting at such a time.

    Jamie, I’m but another of your starstruck fans! 🙂

    Gary

  12. The Internet is a very double edged sword. It’s amazing what we can do with it to help ourselves but yes, I think in the hands of children it becomes another thing entirely. Be friends with them, see what they’re up to. My daughter hated it but that was the rule to accesses it. Now she’s older I have to trust I taught her well enough about strangers and people not always representing themselves correctly, that she will protect herself and be safe. It’s a difficult one.

  13. what a cute disney pick! we are going in november! i love it there (grew up w/it & now vacation club members =)

    so glad we met in person!! had a blast! and thanks for the terrific shout out!

    you’re a wonderful person!

  14. My boys are dedicated (see how I put the spin on the addiction?) to gaming. They are ,masters of the cyber kill. But they hate social media. One boy broke up with a girl because of her need for incessant texts and <3's on facebook.

    Though personally, I'm as bad as those teen girls you speak of. I take a look at my numbers of followers and compare them with my friends and I'll be a big girl and confess, it can be depressing!! But I pretend it's because I am trying to build my "platform".

    So jealous you and Tara got to hang out. I so want to meet some blogger/writing friends!

    • I’ve been bad these past 2 weeks b/c my daughters have been at an acting camp all day, so there’s plenty of time to ‘waste’ online. But between taking them to their activities, teaching, leading youth group, going to Bible study, writing . . . I just don’t see how people are constantly on social media. I wish I could keep up with everybody else–guess it doesn’t help my cell phone is still a $30 Wal-Mart special, hahaha!

  15. That’s so fun that you’re meeting blogger buddies in real life!

    In terms of social media, I don’t have an instagram account (does this make me prehistoric?), although I do keep up with my out-of-town friends on facebook. I don’t have the time or the energy to be on social media 24/7 like some of these kids, though. I imagine once they get real lives, perhaps after college, their social media consumption might slow down marginally. Who knows…

  16. I keep saying it, we are not going back to 1965 no matter how hard you wish you could. We are not going back to typewriters, or even tower computers now for that matter. Times change. The way we do things change. My daughter spent the 80s and 90s on the telephone, a land-line telephone. She watched cartoons on a tv. She is fine and now the mother of two small children who she thinks gets too much technology. I’m sure my mother, in the 60s, thought I watched too much television. It is ok. Life is a progression. things change. We adapt. Social media, to me, is wonderful.

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