Life can get in the way sometimes. Do you know what I mean? It’s hard to keep up with work and family responsibilities sometimes, let alone keep up with a blog or a twitter account or a Facebook account actively. Then throw in the foul weather the mid-Atlantic states in the US have experienced in the last month and the general winter season which can also set set the mood.
Here’s my dilemma: it’s been a rough winter this year in Central New Jersey. We’ve had record snow and cold, which have affected my health. No cold or flu, but aching sinuses and asthma, and I swear I’m getting arthritis too. Work has generally been busy, but I’ve hit a lull just before a holiday weekend and two weeks before going to a conference for a week. I’ve dealt with more snow days and two hour delayed school days than I can count, which stresses me out when my son is home while I’m working. In other words, I’m beat physically and mentally.
And all this while, I need to keep up with this blog, and try to keep up a presence on social media–at least on Facebook and Twitter–so that people don’t forget that I’m still here. But to be honest, I’m just feeling anti-social right now, although interacting with people other than my son, my husband, and my chiropractor would probably do me some good. It’s the dead of winter, and I’d like to simply hibernate for a while. But I need to try to get my articles out, even if it’s just curating some cool articles here and there, but I almost don’t have the energy for even that most of the time.
It got me thinking… How does one be anti-social on social media? I mean, there’s the obvious way of being totally obnoxious and being a jerk online. But how does one become know in the social media world as being anti-social? It seems like an oxymoron, I know, but think about it. Social media is named as such because it’s all about engagement with others and interaction at its best. But what do you do when you just don’t want to engage, but you’re perfectly fine with simply “listening” for a while? Is listening or reading anti-social, especially in social media? This brings back my thoughts on being a lurker. Nothing wrong with being a lurker, but the idea of being involved in social media and being a participant in a particular culture–in this case, the culture of technical communicators–means that one needs to speak up now and then. But what if there’s not a whole lot to say, or nothing that is very motivating at the moment? Therein lies the rub.
So, how does one get out of such a funk? I think the answer is that you have to force yourself to be out there. Yes, it’s easier to hibernate, but it’s a lot more work to push yourself to do what you have to do. I do enjoy my blog, and I do enjoy social media, but there are times that retreating is not such a bad thing. Sometimes I just don’t have a whole lot to contribute to a conversation. Sometimes I do. I try to make time to curate at least one or two articles if I’m not up to writing. I still want to share and discuss–don’t get me wrong. But now and then, I feel a need to retreat and pull back a bit.
I’m sure that once I get out of these winter doldrums, and get out for a bit (especially with a conference coming up), that feeling will change. But in the meantime, pardon me if I’m anti-social. I need some quiet time to read and absorb information.
What do you consider to be anti-social behavior in social media? Write your thoughts in the comments below.