Man vs. Social Media: Who is in Control?

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I did an experiment throughout the summer by deactivating all my social media accounts (except the HopeHouse International® accounts I manage).

Things I have learned and experienced from deactivating my accounts:

  1. I didn’t let social media control me.  Instead, I controlled social media.
  • When I didn’t have my head in my electronics, I realized there is a huge world outside.  I believe that everyone should LOOK UP!  It is not until we put down our phones, switch off our computers and look in each other’s eyes, will we then be able to touch each other’s hearts.
  • The few times that the world really comes together on social media is when there is a natural catastrophe. . .and that’s a good thing.
  • So many people text or do social media while at the breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It saddens me that when I go somewhere to eat, there are people who constantly text or are on social media instead of having a conversation with each other.  I believe that family and friends are sacred and we shouldn’t take them for granted.  Sabrina Carpenter once said, “There is no connection that we can make with any screen that compares to the moment we understand every human being has a soul.”  When we put down our technology, we talk about things that are important to each other, we listen, we encourage and we connect to one another.
  1. I got closer to God.
  • When I was on my electronic devices, it was keeping me from spending time with God.
  • God doesn’t communicate through social media or technology.  He communicates with us when we read His word and spend time in prayer.
  1. I got closer with my family.
  • Engaging with our family is more important than spending time on social media.
  • I enjoyed my family in ways that only personal interaction could allow.

It’s a very sad fact that we don’t connect to, or with, one another very much anymore. With the exception of those from generations before the smart phones, it’s rare to see people looking up and interacting with each other.  It is like we can’t exist without technology.

Also social media can be dangerous.  According to Jean Twenge, “The more time teens spend looking at screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression.” USA Today has an article called Social Media Raises Fear of Teen Suicide Contagion on depression of social media.  In my opinion, it can be the devil’s playground.  Once social media has a grasp on us, the devil can lure us away from family, friends and God.

Social Media serves a definite purpose in business, marketing, awareness and as a means of keeping in touch with others.  But it will never replace the infinite value of connecting on a personal level with those around us.

We should take back what social media has stolen from us…our personal connections with families, friends, brothers and sisters.

Who will join me and the Techno Moderation Team in this Disconnect to Connect Challenge?  For more information visit our site: www.technomoderation.com

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The Un-Social Media Addiction

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Do you find yourself checking your devices the first thing when you wake up, last thing before going to bed, in the middle of the night, at meals, while walking, and while driving or stopping at a traffic light? If you have answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then you probably have some degree of screen addiction.

Adam Alter, a social psychologist, was asked by a reporter, “How do you define ‘addiction?’” It has to be something you enjoy doing in the short term, that undermines your well-being in the long term — but that you do compulsively anyway,” Dr. Alter continued, “If a person is in front of a slot machine, their brain will look qualitatively the same as when they take heroin. If someone compulsively plays video games — not everyone, but for some, the minute they load up their computer, their brain will look like that of a substance abuser.”

Several articles report that, “For every 100 hours that you spend talking on the phone, you drastically increase the risk of brain cancer.” I might recommend for all of us to at least talk on the phone in moderation.

I found it fascinating that an article in Psychology Today tells us that 40% of the American population suffers from this addiction. On top of this, 58% of men and 47% of women suffer from Nomophobia, i.e. the fear of being without a smartphone. To me, this is a sad statistic. This article goes on to say that, “44% of the people have stated that they become very anxious when they lose their phones.”

Many people who are screen addicted whether it be to phones, computers, internet, social media and/or gaming become less and less connected to the real world. Many articles talk about how relationships with family and friends suffer because they spend less time in face to face communication.

What can we do in order to be less addicted to our devices

1. When you have meals with friends, put away your phone and politely ask them to do the same.

2. When you have family meals, put all phones in another room so there are no distractions.

3. Dock your devices in a different room before you go to sleep.

4. If your device is tempting while you drive, then throw it in the back seat and enjoy a peaceful ride.

5. I would like to challenge everyone, including myself, to replace at least one text a day with personal contact.

     We are losing the art of real communication. Parents, if you want a real relationship with your kids modeling this is key!

Please keep in mind that interaction on devices isn’t live conversation and touch. Let’s not lose opportunities for joy, laughter and love through enjoying real life interaction.

Analytics for Dummies

Dr. Jeff Salyer, Marketing and Media Manager at Lee University came to our Social Media Class on Wednesday, October 18, 2017.  He talked with us about the importance of social media and how to analyze data that can make it more effective and more far reaching.  He uses a platform called Sprout Social to help him analyze all aspects including reach and engagement, etc.  It is a very expensive platform, so I’d like to tell you about a free but effective alternative.

In my social media position for a non-profit, HopeHouse International®, I was taught to use analytics through Hootsuite, a social media dashboard that I use for the organization’s platforms.  It has thorough analytics for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, those which I use to tell the HopeHouse International® story.

Hootsuite analyzes Facebook’s new Likes, new engagement, hours and days of engagement, weekly total reach, daily post feedback, per-post metrics for top 10 posts, Likes by region, and Likes by demographic.

Hootsuite analyzes Twitter’s engagement, mentions, and retweets.

For Instagram, I am able to analyze as the Administrator. I look to see our demographics (gender and age), top cities, hours and days of most engagement.

Sayler explained that the most important thing to have with our social media is community and engagement with them.  I have learned that when I study and follow the patterns of analytics, I am at my best to help the others engage with the organization.

We’re Not Alone

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     In the first season of The Flash, Barry is remembering a conversation he had as a little boy about the dark. Barry asked his mom if she was ever afraid of the dark. Barry’s mom replied with a question. She asked, “If I turn this light off now, would you be scared?” Barry replied, “No.” Then Barry’s mom exclaimed, “That’s because I’m here with you. See you’re not afraid of the dark, Barry. You’re afraid of being alone in the dark. That goes away when you realize something…you’re never really alone.”

     We are often afraid of the “unknown.” Our unknowns could be:

  • Getting out of our comfort zones to meet new friends
  • Going back to school
  • Applying for a job
  • Sharing the Gospel
  • Exercising
  • Eating healthy
  • Quit drinking and smoking

No matter what our unknowns are, we can definitely be sure of one thing that Jesus is, and will always be, with us. Jesus is omnipresent. That means He is present in all places. Jesus already knows what we have been, and will be, going through. Jesus knows what we are going through right now.

     I imagine Jesus wonders, “Are you scared of the unknowns that prevent you from all I created you to be?” Even though we might be scared, we can always know that He is with us as our lives tell the world of who He is and how great He is. 

     I want to invite you to listen and reflect on this song called, “I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe. 

The Pros and Cons of Exercising

I’m pretty sure that a lot of you will strongly dislike me after this blog about exercising, but I have to say that we spend more time on our stupid, mesmerizing electronic devices than we do exercising. I love to exercise. I exercise every single day walking to class and playing tennis. Exercise is so important throughout life.

CDC reports that, “Prolonged sitting time (as a specific instance of sedentary behavior), independent of physical activity, has emerged as a risk factor for various negative health outcomes. Study results have demonstrated associations of prolonged sitting time with premature mortality (1–3); chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer (4–7); metabolic syndrome (5,6); and obesity (5,7).”

The National Cancer Institute, who is apart of the National Institutes of Health, recommends:
Adults ages 18 to 64 engage in regular aerobic physical activity for 2.5 hours at moderate intensity or 1.25 hours at a vigorous intensity each week. Researchers found that life expectancy was 3.4 years longer for people who reported they got the recommend level of physical activity.  People who reported leisure-time physical activity at twice the recommended level gained 4.2 years of life.  In general, more physical activity corresponded to longer life expectancy. The researchers even saw benefit at low levels of activity. For example, people who said they got half of the recommended amount of physical activity still added 1.8 years to their life.

This findings got my attention when I read this over and over again. I cannot stress enough that if we don’t exercise then we are decreasing our opportunity to live longer.

You ask, “How does exercise effect us?” Here’s how it effects us.
When we think of exercise, the number one thing that comes to mind is weight loss. But what if we thought about exercise from a different perspective? What if we looked at all the ways exercise effects our mind and body and not just at the calorie-burning aspects. Exercise is so much more than calorie burning. It can increase our energy, improve our mood and focus as well as help us lose weight. But if we’re not careful, it can also have some serious drawbacks. So discover the pros and cons of exercising and how we can determine if exercise is right for us.

Pros:
* Increased Energy
Many people mistakenly believe that exercise will drain their energy for the day, leaving them dull and lifeless and unable to meet the demands of their busy day, but this statement is exactly opposite. Exercise has actually been proven to increase energy levels throughout the day. Recently, researchers at the University of Georgia found that “sedentary, otherwise-healthy adults who engaged in as little as 20 minutes of low-to-moderate aerobic exercise, three days a week for six consecutive weeks, reported feeling less fatigued and more energized.” We’ll be surprised at how much more energetic we feel.
* Better Memory
Feeling forgetful? Keep misplacing things that are essential to us? Can’t seem to remember where we’ve parked or what we’ve had for lunch today? It could be that all we need to improve our memory is a little bit of exercise. Research has shown that only 20 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, performed three to four times per week can improve memory function in all populations, including the elderly. So, if we’re feeling a bit forgetful, maybe all we need is a quick walk.
* Look Younger
Did you know that exercise is really the fountain of youth? That’s because the increased blood flow and oxygen that we intake makes our skin look healthier. With all of the wonderful things exercise does for us, it also helps us sleep better, move more easily through everyday life and create stronger, healthier relationships. It also burns plenty of calories too. We need to keep in mind that exercise has a variety of benefits, but can also come with some drawbacks.

Now the cons…
* Increased Risk of Injury
If you’ve never exercised before, go to a gym, walk, run, swim, etc, you may not know how to perform certain exercises properly, which can lead to injury.
* The Halo Effect
Exercise is known to suppress appetite; however, many people use exercise as an excuse to indulge in unhealthy foods or big calorie splurges. When beginning an exercise program, be careful not to allow what’s known as the “halo effect” to derail all of your hard work at the gym. Keep in mind that you’re exercising to improve your health, not so you can eat more.

I hope I have enlightened us about the benefits of exercising. I really hope this helps us to stay active all of the time. Thank you.

Why Exercise is so Important to the Mind, Body and Soul

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Exercise is so important for everybody. For so many people, exercise can seem like a hassle even though they know exercise is good for them. For other people, they just exercise because they know that when they exercise, their mind gets sharper, their body is healthier and more fit, and their soul is more in tune with God. Like it or not, our bodies are the Temple of God.

The reason I should exercise my mind is because when I do, my mind is focused better.  Dr. C.A. Stilwell, ADHD specialist, teaches that after exercising for 30 minutes, the next two hours our minds are able to focus at peak levels. I have ADHD and for me when I exercise my mind, it increases my focus significantly. Sometimes I get moody, but when I exercise my mind it improves my mood. Exercise improves my brain wave muscles. Brain wave muscles are what keeps my creative juices flowing.

The reason I should exercise my body is because my body is rejuvenated. My muscles tense up when doing a lot of homework and straining my eyes on a computer screen or studying for an exam all day. Exercising my body is such a stress reliever for me. When I don’t take walks, runs, or do anything active outside, then my muscles tend to lock up on me, and my mind is totally exhausted. I don’t feel like doing anything for the rest of the day. But when I do exercise, I feel alive and ready to take on what’s next.

The four ways I exercise my body everyday are through walking, running, playing tennis/sports and doing Relax Muscle Therapy. All of these things help reduce my risk of having high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Walking and running helps me burn calories. After walking, running, playing tennis/sports and doing Relax Muscle Therapy, I sleep better at night. I know that there is a huge subcategory in exercising my body which is eating a balanced diet. Granted, I don’t always eat healthy. The best meals I  have are dinners at home. There are times when I don’t have time to eat lunch or it is rushed. A lot of times, I can’t eat until 2 in the afternoon on Tuesday and Thursday because I have class right after chapel. When I don’t eat, I get cranky, my blood sugar starts dropping, I can’t think as well or focus as well.  Healthy foods are really important along with exercise.

The reason I should exercise my soul is because when I exercise my soul it calms my spirit and I can meditate, pray and hear what the Lord is telling me. 2 Chronicles 29:5 says, “Hear me, Levites. Consecrate yourselves now and consecrate the temple of Yahweh, the God of your ancestors. Remove everything impure from the holy place.” Everyone’s body, including mine, is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. To exercise my soul, I listen to Christian music. That’s why I love chapel and Convocation at Lee University. Through Christian music, prayer, sermons and quiet times I fill my soul with what God has to say and I love to listen.

Brian Koslow said, “If you nurture your mind, body and spirit, your time will expand. You will gain a new perspective that will allow you to accomplish much more.” Exercising our mind, body and soul is a very important discipline. It’s not easy, but it has to be intentional.  It helps us become the best we can be physically, mentally and spiritually.

Unfiltered Journalism

Brian Graves, a professional journalist and staff writer of the Cleveland Daily Banner, came to talk to our class about blogging and social media on September 13, 2017. Brian told us that he was “old school,” but he has been working for the Cleveland Daily Banner for 37 years. That is a really long time.

Graves told the class, “Blogs and social media are more opinions/observations…blogs can point you to a story, but it can’t be the story.” These blogs are made up of facts. Graves also referred to Commentary in blogging as “just facts and opinions.” Then, that just makes everyone and all of us reporters of our opinions.

Graves prefers to not support the new journalism side of social media and blogging because the way the world uses social media and blogging these days is mostly destructive and harmful.

Graves exclaimed, “When we start Facebook, blogs and social media, it can be helpful and point us to a story or idea.” This is so true, but it can also be harmful and destructive if we don’t do this correctly. Social media is nothing but “unfiltered journalism.”

Blogging and social media can be:

  • promising
  • deadly
  • destructive
  • helpful some times
  • makes a statement about them
  • scary but manageable
  • useful

There are good and bad blogs and posts on social media. Everyone knows that all the bad blogs and posts on the internet gets the most views and comments. Blogging and posting should ethical. Blogging and social media is about promotion and promotion is propaganda. It should be about positive promotion, not negative promotion.

Things people should know about blogging and social media:

  • Everyone’s perception is not always misleading.
  • You shouldn’t take one source to be reliable.
  • Everybody is a commentator.

Steps to knowing if what you are blogging and reading are reliable:

  1. Is it realistic? This means that we should keep our story real and true to today. This means that we should not write or report things that are full of baloney like CNN and MSNBC does everyday.
  2. Who is posting these blogs and social media posts? This goes hand in hand with knowing your source. If you don’t know who wrote those blogs, then how do you know if they are a credible source? most of the blogs and social media posts are not reliable because it is stating someones observations and opinions.
  3. Know your source. When reading a blog or post on the internet, you should get 1 to 2 more sources as well because it’s then easier to figure out who is telling the truth.
  4. Ask yourself, “Can I take what I said and know it is the truth? Do I know what I am writing is true?” No one likes being lied to. People are skeptical until they know what you are writing about and who you are. That is why people have trust issues today. We go out and report and blog and post on something that might work for the writer, but doesn’t work for the people who are reading.
  5. The last thing you ask yourself is “Can I trust that writer?” It takes time to build your reputation. Graves told the class, “Don’t play your audience…just play you.” If we play our audience, then they will think that what we are doing is wasting their time.

In conclusion, I believe that blogging and posting on social media is a privilege if we blog and post responsibly.