Social Media Zombies

I’m writing something a little different today in the spirit of the month of October.  I was thinking the other day of how ironic it is that I’m an online teacher.  Before entering this new world, I resisted using technology as much as I could.  Computers were overwhelming for me because I didn’t know very much about them and I knew there was so much I needed to learn.  Then I became very frustrated by my lack of understanding once I did start using the computer more often, than just for logging into Facebook.  One time I spent hours just trying to find a way to change my picture on WordPress.

When I decided that it was time to stop resisting the use of technology, I felt like I had gotten into step with the rest of the world.  I had stopped trying to resist the tech zombies and let myself get bit by this disease.  You can only resist something for so long until you realize that it’s just the way of the future.  I could either be one the few resisters of the upcoming technology apocalypse or finally join the crowd of the of social media zombies that seemed to be spreading everywhere.  I don’t normally like to fall into step with the crowd because I like to consider myself a unique individual!  I prided myself on being one the last few survivors of my generation that hadn’t stepped over into the endless crowd of tech zombies, who I thought had lost the ability to communicate socially with each other in person and placed their number one priority in devouring as much technology as possible.

But after I began my initiation into this dark world, I didn’t become a lost soul in the crowd after all.  Rather, I was able to show my individualism even more!  Through blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram I was able to sculpt my tone, style, and persona through these technology outlets as I wanted to.  I actually have been able to discover more about myself since I have seen what I can create online.  I no longer view social media as being composed of mindless tech zombies, but as creative and strategic individuals who are revolutionizing our world.  Using social media, I have been able to see my thoughts and creativity come alive.

I’ve also been able to actually teach again!  I no longer have to spend countless hours trying to put together and implement behavior plans or waste my breathe disciplining students in class.  I can turn off their microphone and chat box as needed and finally teach again.  On the flip side, students who just want to come to class and learn what they need to learn so they can do want they want the rest of the day, can do that to.  It’s a win/win.

So how do you overcome becoming a mindless tech zombie using social media?

First, move slowly.  Keep your eyes on the target and take small steps to get there.  Know that eventually you will learn the ropes, even if it feels like you’re dragging one leg behind you as you take each step.  As you gain more knowledge, you will be able to move a little faster to get to your targets quicker.

Second, take small bites or you might choke.  Start with one area before you move onto another.  Don’t try to engulf everything about social media at the same time.  You can check on statbrain.com to find out which websites generate the most traffic.  The more people who visit a website, the more traffic you have to infect, I mean effect.

Third, there is a strategy behind every bite.  Begin with Facebook or LinkedIn and apply what you have learned by looking at what other zombies, I mean people, have done.  Read blogs and look at other websites to get ideas to apply to your own.  Think about what the pictures you use say about your site.  Are you posting write ups that are easy for your followers to share on their page?  Are you finding pages related to yours so you can give them feedback?

Fourth, move on.  Once you have left your mark on social media, you can watch as your audience begins to spread the word.  You can sit back and watch how there used to be an empty space and now you have brought into creation a page that is uniquely yours and gaining attention.  It’s exciting to see the exponential growth begin to take effect.

Fifth, don’t isolate yourself.  Make sure to still talk to your friends and family face to face or using the telephone.  Even if it’s just one real quick conversation a week, there’s no need to place yourself into quarantine.

Have a safe Halloween!

Hope

Do you ever wish that you could somehow watch your life as it unfolds like watching a movie?  How marvelous would it be to reach into God’s video archives and just watch my life from the time I was born till now?  I could point to my husband and say “See, I didn’t throw away those papers you were looking for!”  Even more importantly, I believe I would be able to see who I am a little more clearly.  It would be amazing to be more of an objective viewer over my life so I could have a different perspective.  I could detach from my emotions long enough to see what God was doing in my life, behind the scenes, to know if the dreams I had were on their way to becoming true.

I suppose I’m glad that I’m not the director of my life.  If I had known if and when my struggles would be over, I may have thrown in the towel too soon thinking that what I wanted was too far away.  My husband and I were married for twelve years before he was completely free from the bondage of pornography and it took us six years and several miscarriages before we had our daughter.  I’m thankful that God is willing and able to carry me through all of the difficult scenes of my life.  I’m very sure that there has been multiple times that God has probably wanted to reach into the world’s stage and tell me to hang on to hope and he did.  Through my family, friends, messages from preachers, his word, and comfort during very difficult prayers.  He was doing a lot of behind the scenes moves sending me hope while orchestrating a way for my husband to finally reach out for help against his addiction.

His strength is revealed in our weakness. I don’t always know what God’s plans are, but  he can see the big picture.  His plans are for our good, not to harm us.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)  God can make this promise because he is the divine director over our lives, if we would trust in him.  Let me give  you some hope today for whatever you may be going through.  Remember the times that he has been faithful to you and helped you through difficult situations in the past and believe that he is still working on your behalf.  I know that I can lean and trust in him for whatever situations I face in the future because he has delivered my husband from pornography and has blessed us with a beautiful little girl.

Hold on to Hope That One Day You Will Get to Dress up Your Own Little Pumpkin

When we first married and Halloween came around the corner, my husband and I couldn’t wait to put up all of our Halloween decorations.  I would joke that the neighbors probably thought we weren’t Christian because we always decorated much more for Halloween than Christmas.  There just happened to be many more Halloween decorations at garage sales.  Decorating was much more fun when we first married and were still very much kids ourselves.  I carried on my family’s tradition of choosing our pumpkins from a pumpkin patch and carving them into all kinds of spooky shapes.  We had fun dressing up to give out candy or going to Halloween parties.  We enjoyed going to haunted houses and watching Halloween movies from our childhood like Beetle Juice, The Adams Family, and Hocus Pocus.  As the years went by and our friends had kids, the parties didn’t happen anymore and we didn’t get invited to any family activities.  After fourteen years of being just the two of us, Halloween had lost it’s fun.  Sure we still tried to put up decorations to make it fun for the neighborhood kids, but we wanted to put up decorations for our own children to see too.

I know what’s like when the beginning of the holidays come around and you want to get excited about all of the festivities to come, but there’s an emptiness that brings you down.  We struggled with infertility for six years before being able to get pregnant.  Before we started trying, it was still a little difficult around the holidays because I looked forward to being a mom one day and to be able to share the holidays with my little one.  Once we started trying to have a child, the holidays became increasingly unbearable.  I wanted to tell every parent I looked at who was holding a baby in their arms, “You don’t know how lucky you are.”  Every baby dressed as a pumpkin, every baby costume I looked at while in the store, every picture my friends and family posted of their little ones dressed up made me smile and want to cry at the same time.

I would like to offer you some hope today if you or someone you know is struggling with having a baby.  You never know when that day will come, but when it does, don’t ever take it for granted.  I’m not taking this year for granted with my daughter, which is why I am writing this blog today.  When I bought her costume for the first time this year, I remembered all the years I could only pick up a costume, but didn’t have a child to buy it for.  My thoughts go out to every woman and couple who doesn’t have a little one to buy a costume for and would like to, to those who are putting up decorations once again for only themselves to see, and who will get to see all of the cute kids dressed up Halloween night and wish they had a little pumpkin of their own.

Don’t lose hope.  It may not happen this year, but there is another year.  It’s not over until it’s over.  I don’t know the “why” behind someone not being able to get pregnant and maybe one day I will be able to look back and see why my daughter needed to wait to be born at the end of 2016.  In the meantime, it’s all right to be honest with God in your prayer life.  He is here for you and during those times of hurt, it gave me great comfort knowing no matter how honest I was with him about my feelings and thoughts, he never would leave my side and he will never leave yours.  Hold onto your hope and one day you will get to be the cheesy family that dresses up alike to a theme on Halloween night.