March 21, 2016

Social Media Circus … by Jocelyn Faire

Social Media, is like managing a three ring circus.

Between the blog, Facebook, tweets, twittering, linking in, linking out, podcasting, Instagram, webinars ... The jugglers throw so many balls in the air, I am kept in constant activity of spinning wheels, needing to add one more hula hoop while maintaining the balance of a tight rope walker. My father used to get anxious watching the trapeze artists fly through the air without a safety net. He thought they should just lock them all up and put them in prison. He did not want to see anyone plunge to their death while he sat on the bleachers with his popcorn. Social media has moved the circus from being a spectator sport to a participatory one

Social media experts say the blog is 20% about what you write and 80% marketing. (Stats vary with site) You may write well, but if the marketing is not put in, few will read what you wrote.
And how can one person manage all the acts? The novice writer is a one man show. Social media appears the way to go.
At a job interview, I was asked if I found large projects overwhelming, and how did I manage them. I cannot remember my exact response ... although I went over it for a few days, kicked myself for not seeing that question coming. My response should have been: “I break big projects down, and do them one step at a time. And I relegate tasks to others as well.”
As a mother I learned to do many tasks, I was chief cook, bottle washer, domestic engineer with a flair, social worker, encourager, therapist, buyer and seller of goods. Who could argue that I have not managed three ring circuses before.
But this business of Social Media seems like another game.
Perhaps I don't have to buy into the whole package. I need to focus on the aspects of what works for me, and be willing to move and grow in the other areas.
I also believe this world needs more genuine communication as opposed to more noise. Social media often adds noise without adding value. In my travels, I have picked up a few foreign language greetings ... that led me to pen the following lines.

Guten Tag, wie geht es dir?
Danke es geht mir gut.
La Bess? Bon Jour,
Konichewa, Salemm alla Kum
And you? How are you?

We learn the greetings by rote
And the answer is all the same
The universal language
of that familiar greeting game.
'How's it going? It's good'
Needn't bother to listen
the answer will be the same
Cover up with pleasantries
Just add a different name
With all the new technology
Everyone can keep in touch
In touch without touching.
A smiley face symbol
And a texted XX
Meant to let someone know you care.
But can we care enough to
hold a hand, give a real hug, pick up the phone?
When the going gets tough
I'll take someone who cares over a
Forwarded message of hope.
Chain letters of encouragement
oft veiled with a threat
if you don't pass it on
something worse to expect
The sea of faces have blurred with despair
All wanting to know, someone does care.

The more time we spend interconnected via a myriad of devices, the less time we have left to develop true friendships in the real world.”
Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe

The traveling circus I grew up with may have moved out of town, but Cirque du Soleil is the Social Media version—great ideas taken to a new level. And many are running away from home to join the circus, while I'm still munching popcorn, like my father. 

Jocelyn blogs at:
She is author of Who is Talking Out of My Head- Grief as an
Out of Body Experience


  1. Wow, wow and wow... on so many levels. Your poem is stunning in its message, hitting home with such clarity and impact. "Everyone can keep in touch - In touch without touching" and "Chain letters of encouragement oft veiled with a threat - if you don't pass it on
    something worse to expect." Like I said, WOW! This is such a powerful poem, Jocelyn. I think what yu said about social media often adding noise without value i so true. We are trying to do this juggling act - some succeeding better than others, but sometimes I wonder... is anyone REALLY listening?

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful and thought-provoking post and poem, Jocelyn. Although I am someone who loves social media, I agree that too often we allow social media to take over our lives instead of using it as a tool for good. May God give us all wisdom!

  3. Thank you for this post Jocelyn. I'm happy to hear I'm not the only one who feels the whole social media promotion thing is a big circus and I'm not equipped to perform the acts!

  4. Amazing, amazing poem! You hit it on the head. I'm not into much of the social media. It is quite a circus. Sometimes I think I'm missing out on the social connections of it and other times I'm glad that I'm not caught up in all of it. "In touch without touching." So true. I'll take the real hug any day.

  5. I'm with you and your Dad eating popcorn, Jocelyn. But I'm learning slowly about Social Media and it's game. I've chosen to stick with only a few and see how that works for me - reminding myself that it is a tool and doesn't have to be so overwhelming. It's a big learning curve. Thanks for your post.

  6. "Social media often adds noise without adding value." I agree with that, Jocelyn. And your poem says it so well. Right now I too am pretty content to be munching the popcorn, but feeling the push to join the circus (at least part of the circus). I'm not going to step into that until God tells me to so for now I am content.

  7. I related to your post on quite a few levels Jocelyn. I get how tough those job interviews are and the answers that come after the interview is over :( I get the just needing someone to pick up the phone...Jesus with skin on as they say. Recently I practically begged my sister for a phone conversation and she pretty much said she doesn't do phone conversations anymore...just texting. She's 8 yrs younger than me so perhaps that's why but it made me sad. Sometimes I yearn to hear a human voice, especially because I'm home all day right now (maybe I should stop saying right now since it's been 4 years). I also get the whole social media circus thing. Sometimes it feels better for us introverts to be able to hide behind the screen but I think it is also true that since we are introverts the screen can just make us even more so which probably isn't good for a lot of us. I am introvert but I don't want to be a hermit!! And yes, quite the circus and I often get caught up in the worst part of it (wasted time without touching) rather than learning to market and publish my work. A lot to think about in this post. Thanks

  8. Thanks to all who replied … I posted this and then travelled to N Africa to visit my family … truly one of the benefits of technology, is that I can stay in touch, although I would much rather be touching … which I am doing at the moment.
    Blessings to all … this is the new age, and trying to do the circus acts … only so and so many we can accomplish!

  9. Your image of social media as a three-ring circus resonated with me, and I love your poem. I participate in Facebook and communicate by e-mails, but I also like hearing a live voice on the phone. I do enjoy the online conversations on ListServe and on our InScribe blog. We can learn so much from each other.

    I am also skeptical of forwards that weasel a compliment or make people feel guilty if people don't give a hug by forwarding a certain post. If I pass those on, I make the next person feel guilty or obligated in the same way.

    Time constraint and technical challenges limit my participation in more social media.


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