Keeping It Real

Whatever did we fill our time with before Facebook? In recent years, keeping track of people on our newsfeeds has become an obsession for many of us—and an incredible time sucker. What is the deal?

First of all, there’s never an end to the things we can discover on Facebook—and on the World Wide Web for that matter. It’s exhausting. But what does it all mean, really? And more importantly, what are we sacrificing when we spend hours a day online?

Fresh air and exercise, for one thing. Facebook not only makes us manic as we seek out more information! more interaction! more memes, photos, likes, friends! It also is contributing to our laziness and poor health habits. Get out of your chair and move, people. Stop sitting at the computer and/or staring at your phone. Life is passing you by.

Selfies are the perfect metaphor for this weird era we’re in. Of course, I’m guilty of taking occasional selfies, but posting them for the world to see seems so self-congratulatory. “Hey, everyone, look at me! I’m having fun!! Are you having as much fun as me?”

I think we all know we are caught in a monsoon of information. The question is what can we do about it? Can we go back to the way things were BF (Before Facebook)? Peter and I talked about it recently, and he thinks not. Once we have gotten used to this never-ending stream of information—useless as it may be— we will always want to stay in-the-know.

But honestly what are we learning? Are these random bits of information making a difference in our lives? I think not.

Personally, I wonder where this is all going. I like Facebook, same as everyone else, but I find myself feeling more and more manipulated when ads and sponsored posts come up in my newsfeed. It’s like subtle brainwashing, isn’t it? I don’t like it.

You might think it’s funny that I dislike Facebook ads since Tidewater Women is also an advertising platform. But there’s such a difference between the two. First, TW is a locally owned and operated business. Facebook? Nope. When businesses choose to advertise on Facebook, those dollars are headed to the West Coast. The other thing that concerns me is that everyone likes the “metrics” Facebook delivers, but how accurate is that information? What is a “reach” anyway and, more importantly, does it translate into business?

Recently I ran into a friend in Norfolk. We hadn’t seen each other in a while and spent a few minutes catching up. At one point she said, “Everyone I know reads Tidewater Women.” Why? TW is a feel-good magazine that helps women make sense of this crazy world. Plus it’s quiet, reflective, and non-intrusive. Reading TW is a choice people make, not something that’s crammed down your throat.

OK, enough ranting. Sorry, but sometimes it seems like we are losing touch with what’s real. Maybe it’s time to take a moment to go outside, feel the sun on our faces, and breathe.

Thanks for reading Tidewater Women and have a merry month!

Love, Peggy

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Peggy Sijswerda

Tidewater Women Magazine, Editor & Co-Publisher.

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