Saturday, March 7, 2015

Social adeptness: Digitally

I often find myself thinking about online communities and how I use them. I cannot be the only 30-something who considers herself digitally savvy but cannot find what she's looking for in social media.

I have Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Goodreads, Ravelry, this blog. Some of them are anonymous and some of them are public and some of them have been associated with work, and I don't feel affectionate toward any of them right now. I want to keep in touch with friends and old colleagues, but I haven't found a way that satisfies me.

I end of voicing these thoughts on social media, which may explain why I get virtual blank stares in response rather than "Amens!" But I want to feel a sense of community that I can tap into anytime, anywhere. Do I need to post more? Or do I just need to post more openly? How much time do I need to put in before I actually want to get online and post and read and respond?

All this may sound crazy to you, and it is driving me crazy because I am not digitally inept. My job involves creating digital content. I get ebooks and digital audiobooks from my library, and I track my sleep and exercise with an UP24. I have 8 devices in my one-bedroom apartment connected to my wifi.

I am not an early adopter, but I'm an adopter. The social aspects are my hang-ups.

The Sims Freeplay on iPad (which I devoted a good few months to) would have been way more enjoyable if I had neighbors, but it seemed Facebook or my email contacts were the only way to connect with other players. I would have been all about anonymous, random neighbors, but there wasn't an outlet for me to meet them (unless I got really hardcore and started posting in the forums, but that was more time and energy than I wanted to spend).

Part of my issue may simply be screen time. After 8 hours a day of chatting and emailing and creating digital content, I don't find the practice enjoyable anymore, even if it's related to my personal hobbies and interests.

Dear absent readers, am I alone in this? At 31, can I learn online social skills? Is it just a matter of putting in time upfront before it becomes enjoyable, or am I destined to be a social pariah in the digital world?

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