Find, Develop, and Maintain Balance Online

In this day, many people have friends online that they have never even met. It is not near as strange as it once was. I remember back in 1995 being appalled that my 14 year old cousin  was talking to some other teenagers she did not know on a bulletin board. I fussed and ranted about it, but these people have ended up being some of her long-term friends, that she has even met in person!

Social Media Water Cooler of the 21st

The days of watching a TV show and then discussing it at the water cooler the next day are long gone.

You can now do it in real time. And that opens up a slew of opportunities for you, the viewer, your communities, advertisers, and, who knows, the TV show itself.

Mobile phones, in conjunction with social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, enable us to communicate in real time without the need for a large computer. You can now have a real conversation about TV shows with all of your friends at the same time, using a portable device small enough to fit in your pocket.

Through blogging, we are able to find people who think like us, or at least complement how we think. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook are the water cooler of the 80s and the quilting bee of the 1800s. We are meant to connect with others, and while we need connections PHYSICALLY with people, there is nothing wrong with having online relationships in the mix. Of course, always be safe and don’t do anything stupid!

Connect with Likeminded People

Say that you are passionate about attachment parenting, or eating organic, or even scrapbooking. Maybe you love to read certain author’s books. One of my current topics of interest is minimalism. Well, as we go about our lives, we won’t just ‘find’ people that share our interests. We may have to look for local groups or clubs to share in our interests.

The internet, and even more specifically, social media in the form of Facebook, Twitter and blogs, to name a few, has opened up the doors for us to find people who like the same things we do. Even large GROUPS of people who share our interests. Some of these may still lead to meetings in person, but most won’t. It is just nice to find others who love their dogs as much as you, or really get into how to get the best roses to grow, or what kind of motor their Mustang has.

Online Social Support

I think this has become an even more important opportunity for women to connect. I read a post this morning from a mom of a 4 month old who is going stir crazy. Her daughter won’t take a bottle, cries if she leaves her with anyone else and she feels it is too much work to go on outings. She needed someone to confirm that it is normal for her to feel the way she does. She also needs somebody to give her encouragement to let her daughter cry and to GO get some alone time. Otherwise she will burn out. Her online friends were giving her the support that 150 years ago would have been given by close friends and community.

Also, consider people, who due to physical disabilities, are less mobile than others and are at home more. Online connections allow them relationships they may have never otherwise had. Not to mention that they can connect with others who are in similar situations, helping them to not feel so alone.

Is Online Connecting for You?

Not everyone will feel the same about this. Some think it is even stupid. It is really, to each his own.

You need to be sure that you are balancing your online connections with your in-person connections. You need to make sure the needs of your family and spouse are being met. And you need to find the right places to connect with those likeminded people.

If you are pushing your physical friends and connections away and leaning towards your online friends, you might want to take a step back. Give yourself limits as to how much time you will allow in your online arenas, whether that is 10 minutes a day or 2 hours a day, only YOU can make that decision.

How have you made connections online? Do you see it as a good thing or a bad thing?

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