The Creative Heart Wants to Learn

Between the puppy, who is now three months old, 19 pounds, and very active, and company from Ontario arriving today, I haven't had much time to write. But this thought occurred to me the other evening - ha, ha, don't even remember which evening! - and with the puppy away with husband, and the house clean and tidy, I thought I'd write the thought down on my tea break. 

So, social media.

This is not a counter-argument to what I wrote earlier, but rather the other side of the coin. 

I should write a book titled that because so much of my life experiences and observations seem to revolve around two sides of the same coin (ie: grief and gratitude). 

The other side of the social media coin -- the positive, inspiring, even creative side -- is how much I have learned from being able to access people's thoughts and ideas. I don't interact a lot on Twitter, I simply don't have time to have conversations like that, BUT its value to me is reading the real-time life experiences of other people, particularly Indigenous and Black people, and people who are transgender.  I have learned so much from reading the tweets and threads of people who are traditionally, and vigorously, kept away from mainstream media. I have learned so much from a friend who happens to be trans -- because, really, that is only one aspect of his identity -- by reading his tweets and understanding his experience. 

Facebook gives me a lot of connections to other progressive Christian writers and thinkers. Instagram does the same but the mood is more fun; curated but fun. I tend to follow animal rescues exclusively on Instagram and it's amazing I don't have a house full of animals -- rabbits! -- right now. 

So as a writer, social media is a two-side coin: one side is the demand to create a brand and produce the kind of content that gains you thousands of followers; the other side is the education it provides and the information that can increase knowledge, understanding and empathy. In that way, social media is a great thing. It makes me a better writer, it makes what I write more interesting. It also exposes me to writing and ideas I might otherwise never know about. That's very important to me. 

It's the whole internet thing: there are good things -- email! research at our fingertips! -- and bad things -- porn, online bullying, trolls. Two sides of the same coin. I choose to focus on the positive, on what social media content has to teach me and how social media content can make me a better person. 

~ SJ 


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