I really need more time. But, I guess, who doesn’t?
Of necessity, I spend a lot of time at home, and not as physically active as I have been in the past – or would like to be now. Yet I like to feel useful and productive. So, like many others who are mostly homebound (I’ve found), I have turned to the internet.
Even when I was active, I always spent some time – usually evenings – online. Even before I was a mom, I enjoyed CompuServe, then AOL, then local BBSes and IRC before there was a web available. (The web may have existed somewhere, but I’d never heard of it or seen it – everything was unix!) I lived my active life all day and then, when most people sit down in front of the TV for a while to unwind, I sat down in front of my computer. When I became a mom in 1991 my time online – like everywhere else – was curtailed of course, but still during that time it was a nice form of entertainment during down times; and it did take a back burner when better things came along.
Fast forward to 2008. I’d had a stroke that fall and, for the first time, I turned to the internet to fill idle time…again a few years later after my daughter moved out of town with her 4YO son who was with us for the majority of the time since he’d been born while she finished school and worked 2 jobs…then again after I retired….but by this time the disease processes I had had for years were taking their toll, and my physical abilities became more limited. And now, feeling at a loss and praying for renewed purpose in my life, I started to look for more from the internet in general, and social media in particular.
And I did find purpose in sharing and learning about the things that interested me most, putting my testimony out there every chance I got, seeking out opportunities to be an encourager to others, and lifting spirits by sharing jokes and cartoons everywhere, all the time! A few years ago I put together this website to break away from the online places that were starting to bring me down, where I no longer felt the call to serve. I made the above purposes my goals in putting together the site, and, as the world seemed to become a more troublesome place to so many, have worked hard to make it a happier place for people to visit and take a break from the negativity.
BUT eventually, as I had to spend more time at home and starting to feel useless, I decided to get social again. How I ended up where I am now is all documented in earlier blog posts but that’s not important. What IS important to this post is that I’m not sure how I got from happily building this site, to struggling to make time to enjoy it all! And that, finally, is the point!
A year +/- ago I offered to help out the then-owner of a small Christian instance on Mastodon with moderation. And I still love doing it! It has grown from almost an hour a day to 3-4+ hours/day (which could EASILY be more if I made more time for it!); these are among the best times of my days. Because Mastodon is federated, each instance – or group – can see and communicate with every other instance through a federated feed. Our feed is populated by all of the people that our members follow, or are connected with. My contribution to the ministry is to keep an eye on those posts; because the majority of those posts – or “toots” as they’re known there – aren’t posted from a Christian heart, there are many that contain profanity, vulgarity, sexual content, bigotry, and even porn; these are the posts I have to catch and delete. As you can imagine, since our little group has grown and grown and GROWN, so has this feed. And so have the number of inappropriate toots. I know I can’t catch them all, though I read through the newest few-hundred multiple times/day to try to keep up (and for the worst repeat offenders I also go back through their most recent toots so I can catch any I’ve missed). This is very fulfilling to me and I truly love every minute I spend on this task! AND every minute I spend reading the toots from our group members and responding to as many as I can – that’s a big thing I love also!
Now…I need more time. I want more time to enjoy on Gab – my other favorite site. I love the people there! Through subscribing to certain groups of interest to me, and maintaining a list of those members who are uplifting, funny, clever, artistic, godly, informative, etc. I’ve tried to spend my time more efficiently. But it still isn’t enough…so I’m thinking I will need to make some changes. I’m in a whole lot of groups that I love to scan – but too many to participate in. So I think I’m going to cut WAY back to maybe my favorite 4-5 and start participating more in those…and actually interacting with the people on my list rather than just clicking “like” all the time…
Social media is about enjoying relationships first and foremost. And, while my IRL relationships always come first – ALWAYS – I enjoy the variety of interesting people I meet and learn from and listen to too much to keep letting that part of it take a back burner. This site is always my #1 priority when I’m enjoying time online…and of course my moderating duties…and after that, until there are more hours in the day, I’m going to be making time for the fun part of socializing again, which is actually being social.