X-posted to WordPress - not really government related, but Social Media related:
We all remember the pseudo-psychology of the 80s when Self-Esteem issues were identified and the concept beat to death as a crutch for young up and coming emergent adults when we suffered failures in life. As we approach the end of this decade, the first decade of the new millennium, it would be interesting to see what the newest statistics are showing – as far as the levels of self-esteem, especially in the young adult age range.
We are privileged to live in such a well-connected society, that we even surpass international boundaries. I felt the need to take a step back and examine where we are, as compared to where we’ve been.
Many of my co-workers are very cyber-resistant and tasked with the responsibility of examining our established and emerging Social Media tools, and I frequently suggest that they get a Facebook account, simply to familiarize themselves with the topic of discussion. All too often, when I suggest that they look at Facebook, they immediately answer, “But I don’t have any friends.” Well, Ladies and Gents, neither do I. So, let me tell you a little bit about myself, then and now.
I graduated high school in 1990. I have to let that delicate piece of information slip, in order to make my point. In my heyday of teen angst and budding young adulthood, it was easy for not-so-outgoing folks to develop low self-esteem. It was hard to make friends and get out and go places. As I entered college, and had “places of my own,” it was even more difficult. It felt as though one had to constantly reach out and maintain those relationships in order not to lose them. If you were studying hard for an upcoming exam, or writing a paper, or were sick for a week, it felt as though the world moved on without you.
For some of us, those introverted ones especially, it was so easy to sink into the abyss of self-pity, self-doubt and self-hate. “Nobody cares about me,” we’d say. “Everybody is having a good time, and they don’t need me.” With our ever-spreading college choices and career moves, we left home to go to school, then followed job offerings in places far from our home and college towns. We promised our dearest school chums that we would definitely keep in touch, and we did, for the first few months, even years. Then we drifted apart. The self-pity continued. “I’m all alone in a strange town, and nobody loves me.”
In the last few years, Facebook (and other Social Networks) have emerged and offered us the opportunity, not only to create and maintain connections with our new friends, coworkers, family, but also to retrace our lives and pick up some dropped threads from the tapestry of our relationships. I have several hundred friends on Facebook. Are they ALL friends? No, of course not; I have some professional pages, some businesses and public figures. Yet, I have a ton of my high school, college and former and current business contacts. I have also used MySpace and Facebook to dig up some relatives with whom I had lost contact.
I also have a presence on Twitter. Between my posts on Twitter and Facebook, I am keeping all these folks up to date with the minutiae of my life. Thanks to my newsfeeds and followed tweets, I am included in the day to day highlights of all my friends’ lives. I experience such a thrill when a friend comments or responds in some way to something I posted. I have been affirmed; I do exist – I matter. Although I can’t honestly claim that I am bosom buddies with each of my hundreds of friends, I am certainly convinced that our circles are definitely widening and that our world is definitely growing tighter. And I’m right in the middle of it all – how’s that for self-esteem?