Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Numbers Game

I'm a fan of social media.  I enjoy connecting with friends through Facebook.  I love getting news and learning from others on Twitter.

But, I approach social media with a weary side eye at times.  In my role as a middle school tech specialist, I've seen social media go terribly awry. When things go wrong it's because kids (and adults) don't realize the reach of their words.  They think they are talking to just one person, they forget how many people can actually see what's happening.   They forget about the numbers.

Kids are, by nature, collectors.  Just pop into any kindergarten room and ask about collections!  That's why games like Pokemon are so popular.  They tap into that collector instinct.  So, kids carry that collector mindset onto social media.  They collect followers without much thought as to who they are letting into their world.

{I'll pause here to say, that's why kids don't need social media too early.  They aren't mature enough for some of this stuff.  Most platforms require kids to be 13 for a reason.}

Personally, I have different standards for friends and followers.  Facebook peeps should be my actual friends.  People I'd like to talk to in public.  Twitter, at times for me, is a little less personal so I cast a wider net.  I follow people I don't know personally.  On Twitter, I follow people I want to learn from as well as friends I want to hear from.

All of this brings me to our B-man and his YouTube page.  B is a huge YouTube fan.  He subscribes to lots of channels and loves to watch a wide variety of videos.  We do restrict him to YouTube kids in an effort to filter what he sees.  You may recall that last week B made some stop motion animation videos and put them on his YouTube channel.

He was so proud of his work and wanted people to see the videos.  So, I took to Facebook and asked my friends to check out his videos, like them, comment on them and subscribe to his channel.  Oh my goodness! He was so excited as the comments, likes and subscribers flowed in.

Actually, he became a little obsessed.  "Momma! We have 11 likes, no dislikes and 10 subscribers!"

"Momma! How many subscribers do we have now?"

Last night from the bathtub, "Sam, can you look on my YouTube page and tell me how many subscribers I have now?"

This has led to a discussion about the numbers game.  And it's a tricky one when you a putting something you have created on social media.  It's a little different from the collecting followers race at times.

When you create something, it's almost always for an audience.  I write this blog to share my thoughts with you. If I didn't want you to read it, I'd keep it in my head. I like it when people read the blog, comment on social media and share it with their friends.  It shows me that my words touched someone's life.  Same for B's videos.  He enjoys making them so much that he wants people to enjoy watching them.  It's part of the joy of creating - getting to 'see' people enjoy your creation.

B, Ryan and I have had a few conversations over the past week about posting the videos for the right reasons.  Posting them because you enjoyed making them and you want people to enjoy them.  Not posting them purely for likes and comments.  Remembering that our identity is in God, not in the numbers of likes and comments.  God sets us apart, not the world.  I'm sure it's a conversation we'll continue to have.


Unknown said...

I love your heart

Unknown said...

That is a conversation we should have with every kid. Great words!