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Social Media: Put yourself out there

It feels like social media has always been a part of my life. I may not manage it well, but I am connected EVERYDAY to EVERYTHING and EVERYONE.
Like many others, I was very reluctant at first to join the social media craze. At 29, I felt like I was too old to join MySpace, is it still around? Does anyone even remember MySpace?  Anyways, back to how my social media addiction began.
I have a few younger cousins, who were in college at the time that pushed me into joining. I reluctantly complied; it was the only way I could keep in touch with them. I had no choice but to accept that the days of calling your loved ones on the phone or sending thoughtful letters were long gone. I really didn’t want to lose contact with my little cousins who are like sisters to me. After about a year of contemplation, I reluctantly joined.
At first, I did not really like it.  It felt weird and kind of silly but I did like being able to find music and I loved all the cute page layouts.  I really got into making my page a second home with pretty backgrounds, music, and photos of my kids. Within a relatively short amount of time, something amazing happened. Not only was I able to see what my little cousins were up to but I began to get messages and requests from long lost family members and friends who could see my adorable sons for the first time online.
As you may or may not know, I was a very young mother and by 21, I was raising my two sons alone. This means I had NO time at all to connect with friends. I had already lost contact with many people when I got married and everyone went off to college, then things got rocky in my relationship. I avoided contact with most people because it was hard to talk about what was going on and I was a little embarrassed.  But now at 29 my diaper changing days were over, I was comfortable with the life I was living, I had become a pro at balancing my personal and professional life (kind of)  and I was finally ready to reach out to the world. Social media made it so easy!
I found a dear friend that I often thought about but didn’t know how to find.  She always had a very special place in my heart. I saw her a few times after High school and before my busy single mom adventures began. If she was so great why did I lose contact with her, you ask. Well, you have to remember, there was a time when not everyone had cell phones and you couldn’t cyber stalk your closest friends just yet. When I messaged her (or she messaged me I do not remember who found who first) I was so excited and happy that I cried. A road to trip to Fresno followed shortly and the rest is history. Now, we get to see each other in person from time to time and I get to watch her adorable little ones grow up right before my eyes on Face book.
I have also connected with other friends, cousins and even meet a few new people using social media.
Fast forward to today, social media is still coming through for me! This past Friday I was having dinner with my parents when I realized I was so busy at work actually working, that I had not checked face book ALL DAY. So I took a quick peek at my fb app on my phone. The very top story in my feed was a check in from a cousin on my Dad’s side of the family (we don’t see them much). It was short and sweet, “ALONE” -In –N-Out, Sacramento, CA.  I quickly commented back and sent her a private message with our number and whala (I have no Idea how to spell that but you get the point) within an hour she had joined us at my parents House. We will be having dinner with her again this week when she comes back into town for work. This time she will hopefully get to see my brother too and meet his family for the very first time.
I know it can be scary to announce your presence to the world. Just remember, almost everything in life has some level of risk attached to it but the risk here, in my opinion, is very low. The payoff is so great that it far outweighs any “risk” that may exist. If you haven’t given social media a chance yet (what the heck are you doing?) you may want to check it out. 

Still worried? Here is a pretty good article about staying safe on social media sites. It’s not too lengthy but covers all the bases. Enjoy.

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