I like to watch people. When I’m in public I’ll just sit there and observe people, how they behave, and how they interact with others. I try to figure out things about them and their life.
I do the same thing online, particular as I look through my Twitter feed and Facebook newsfeed.
One thing I notice a lot is how social media has become a sort of support group for many of us. My friend Lindsay is currently in her second week of trying to quit smoking, and while I’ve never smoked, I can tell the quitting part isn’t easy for her. But with social media, Lindsay has her own cadre of cheerleaders and encouragers. Her online friends, many of whom she’s probably never met in person, are good about asking her how she’s doing, encouraging her to hang in there, and sometimes offer tips from their own experience.
The cheerleading and encouragement doesn’t stop there. I have plenty of friends who are runners, some new and some seasoned. The runners get encouragement from non-runners, and those who are new to running get support from the old timers. Plenty of encouragement to go around as they have their own type of bonding.
And then there are the dieters. Those who are trying to adhere to some sort of diet in order to shed some pounds and get in shape. Again, encouragement abounds, as my friends share tips, on top of stories of both success and failure.
As one who could stand to lose a bit of weight, and who needs to get into shape, I see these folks and think,
“Why can’t I do that?”
I just don’t seem to have the drive and willpower that many of them have. But it’s not due to the lack of encouragement. I blame the enablers.
You know, the ones who post that picture of the pie they’re eating, just as I determine I’m going to buckle down. The ones who talk about the amazing bacon wrapped delicacy they are preparing for dinner, the moment I reach for the salad. They are cruel, cruel people.
I’ve tried the Couch to 5K running program, but I gave up. The couch always seems so much more appealing than the 5K.
I’ve tried to eat more carefully, but everything always looks so good!
I suppose I could break my online friends up into two lists: Encouragers and Enablers. I could hide the status updates of enablers, and only look at the inspirational comments from those who want to help me lose weight and get in shape. And yet…I’ll still know that the enablers are there, and in just one click I can be drooling over all of the recipes they are posting, complete with full color pictures in all their Instagrammy glory.
And so, here I am, with encouragers on one shoulder, and my enablers on the other, tugging away at my allegiance, trying to pull me to their respective sides. Right now the enablers are winning, so I’ll just blame it on the power of social media.
How have you experienced either encouragement or enabling via social media?
- Traditional Media’s Role in the Adoption and Survival of Social Media (inklingmedia.net)
- How to Network On Social Media Without Being a Stalker (waxingunlyrical.com)
- Why Instagram will be the next big social media platform (businessesgrow.com)
- Is Social Media a Waste of Time? (dannybrown.me)