I hate to break it to you people… but I have a bit of a confession to make. I… Alan David Ronberg… known to most of you as Al… am an EXTROvert… There I said it… may the sweet, soothing balm of freedom now descend upon me. OK… so that wasn't exactly earth-shattering news or anything… but I wanted to get that out there in the hope that you will understand the way my insides are all topsy turvy at the moment.
You see… I have been working in intensely people focused roles for pretty much my entire working life… most of them in a pastoral capacity and as a result of this, behind the numbers, my Facebook is a story of lives with whom I have shared some cool times (and not so cool). I really appreciate EVERY person that chooses to allow me to stay connected with them on Facebook. However… I kinda cop a lot of flack from people for being too chatty or too willing to share stuff… To be really honest… I don't know how to keep everyone happy!? If I post less – people contact me to ask if I am ok… to tell me how much they appreciate me living out many parts of my life in an authentic and open way. Many people I have on my friends list don't let just anyone contribute to their life, so it is a real honor to be involved! There is however a bunch of people who vote with their "unfriend" feet and find me a bit "too much"… there are many that are probably still there, but are too polite to "unfriend" me.
I have to really weigh all of this up and work out what role Facebook/Twitter/Google+ will have in my life… I think for many people, there is a kind of fatalistic resignation to the world of Facebook and social media in general. It is big, and everyone is on there… so I should probably be involved. I don't EVER wish to have a large American Server controlling my life and my decisions. I LOVE people, and being around them is something that truly energizes me… but there are times when the triviality of it all weighs heavy on me. I can't understand why people spend time and money growing farms on a server, whilst people in the real world go without food and clothing. I don't understand why so many of my friends click on links of a completely dodgy or voyeuristic nature. I can't understand why anyone would want to know what happened to the girl when she forgot to turn her webcam off? Imagine sitting with your father-in-law and clicking that one!?!?!?
I think in all of this I truly have become a little unstuck. If I delete my Facebook account, I know there are a hoard of people I will just never see or hear from again… and that would actually suck! I would never have gotten to bump into an old school friend at Auckland Airport at 7am on a Sunday morning if it weren't for Facebook… I never would have been able to have gone to the US for a conference without the generosity and support of my Facebook and Twitter friends… I think that I have to admit COMPLETELY – that my life is better because of Social Media – but it sucks if I let Social Media replace real-life tangible relationships.
There are dangers for me in this new-world of Social Media. I am an extrovert, and as such – give me a crowd and I will be in like a pair of flares and platforms in the 70s. It is when the conversation starts to take me away from my family, and from truly sharing life with them, that I will know have overstepped a mark. This is always going to be a struggle for me methinks.
So what am I going to do about it (TRANSLATION: What brash reactive decisions am I going to make that I will renege on within mere weeks?).
- Facebook involvement will be limited to ONE update per day. I am still free to comment and say happy birthday to people, but my photos and status updates will be less about broadcast, and more about engagement.
- Twitter is still an enigma to me. I have nothing to sell, not really anything to say that can't be said better by other people – but I have some great chats to people. SO I will keep my account methinks.
- Google+ Still not really sure I have gotten my head around how I can contribute, and what I can get out of G+… the jury is still out.
- Find more cohesive ways to share stuff and talk about things! Ways that make me and those around me… more engaged in the world we live in.
This whole world is still a work in progress for me… I value people, and I hope that you understand where I am coming from. I never seek to share anything to be boastful, or to be preachy – I just love to live life and hopefully that is something that makes a mark on the world in a totally positive sense!