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Sunday, 28 December 2014

Social Media and its impact on us all

 Will Shakespeare asks, "What do you read, my Lord?"
Susan Obijiski

You are reading this blog, so it is safe to assume that you are a regular participant in the social media world. You are not alone. The world has embraced the social media phenomenon as a means of communication and sharing. As an author, I share my thoughts through my books, and comment on life, purpose and the world, in hopes of connecting with kindred spirits and offering hope and insight to my readers. I also maintain a number of blogs (Common Sense, Legacy of Dreams, etc). These blogs provide the opportunity to express myself, and to focus on my interests and on writing. I can engage other authors and aspiring writers, and share my interests and opinions with people who browse blogs and participate in social media.

BN | Amazon

It is true that social media, blogging and other internet sharing provide value to the world, but that value does come at a price. There are a number of things that concern me about the world of blogging and social media, and I will share a few concerns with you here.

First, I believe that those who come after the Millennial generation will suffer the consequences of being raised on social media. Already, we see the results of social media fever, in the form of arm's length socializing, poor social skills and shortened attention spans. Our children are less able to socialize face-to-face and less likely to get out there and exercise, or discover the world on their own terms. We play games online and even select prospective romantic partners. How many times have you gone out to dinner and watched the people at the next table texting or looking at their phones instead of talking to each other?

Then there's the problem of anonymity. We no longer have to face the people we talk to, so we can remain anonymous when we snipe at others and revel in character assassination. That anonymity has blossomed into intolerance for other people's opinions and polarized the world, rather than showing us our commonality.

Reading blogs, getting news online and browsing through social media sites also creates a crowd mentality that suppresses the natural human tendency to think for oneself. We read something and assume that the person expressing an opinion is an expert, or they have more information about the topic than we do, and therefore we should listen to that person. In many cases, that is a rash assumption!

Lastly, social media and blogging has accelerated the decline of grammar, spelling and good writing. We always seem to be in a hurry to express our opinion, so we don't bother to choose just the right word to describe how we feel. Our vocabulary is shrinking, and our spelling, punctuation, capitalization and grammar is appalling! That might not seem to be a big deal, but exposure to good writing and a good turn of phrase creates thought-provoking debate, and conversation. Eloquent writing and speech encourage independent thinking, and expression, and nurture the next generation of writers, artists, poets and thinkers.

So, get out there in the world and experience life for yourself, rather than seeing the world through the filter of social media. And, the next time you jump online, take the time to think about what you are reading, and form your own opinions. Then, think carefully about what you want to say, and express yourself with eloquence, maturity and respect. Blogging, social media and mass communication do not have to contribute to the downfall of civilization. Rather, these tools can be used to encourage intelligent thought, rumination and eloquence of expression!

Susan Obijiski is the author of the 'Legacy of Dreams' metaphysical, fiction book series, including, 'Dreams of the Many', and 'Dreams of the Few', as well as a contributing author for 'Sedona Awakenings'. She lives in beautiful Sedona, Arizona with her husband.
  Introducing DREAMS OF THE FEW
the second instalment of Legacy of Dreams series
 Renowned New York stage actor Brody Murphy must put aside his life and career, and step into a dream world to rescue Casey Wheeler. After seven years of sobriety, and a new life with his wife and son, Brody is faced with the prospect of returning to the nightmare world he once escaped.

Once again, renowned New York stage actor Brody Murphy must put aside his life and career, and step into a dream world to rescue Casey Wheeler. After seven years of sobriety, and a new life with his wife and son, Brody is faced with the prospect of returning to the nightmare world he once escaped. But this time the stakes are even higher; without Brody's help, Casey is likely to die.

This journey will be the most challenging of Brody's life. No one can help him find Casey and return the boy from the desolate landscape of the dream. While his friends and loved ones attempt to support him from afar, Brody grapples with sobriety, repressed memories, and a lifetime of fears and demons that threaten to sabotage Casey's rescue and the very fabric of Brody's sanity.

Can Brody find Casey before it is too late? Can Casey and Brody emerge from the nightmare, whole and unbroken?

Dreams of the Few is a story of friendship, love and devotion. It is a reminder that our purpose in life is to learn, and that we learn best from our trials and challenges.

"Remember, it is not the destination, but rather the journey that is the lesson and the prize."

Amazon | Smashwords | Publisher site

Excerpt - Dreams of  the Few

Michael held his breath, and waited. By the time he identified the sound, it was too late to run. The wolves emerged from the shadows, their fur illuminated with an iridescent glow that seemed to come from within. The pack leader was a massive beast, with eyes the color of charred steel. The animal stepped forward, and his pack lingered in the shadows. Michael stood his ground, and met the animal’s gaze with resolve. The wolf moved forward with stealthy purpose, never taking his eyes off his prey. His lips drew back to reveal razor sharp teeth, and he issued a low, guttural growl that raised the hackles on Michael's arms. The wolf turned his head slowly to the left, and then to the right.

“He’s communicating with the pack,” Michael thought.

The covey of brothers assembled around the pack leader, and looked to him for a signal. The pack leader dipped toward the earth, and rested on his front legs, ready to lunge. He glowered at Michael, and ran his tongue over his exposed teeth. It was probably his imagination, but it seemed to Michael that the wolf’s eyes had turned from gray to scarlet. He watched as the color of the wolf’s eyes shifted and spiraled, morphing with a glassy madness that threatened to pull Michael into the abyss. The animal lifted his chin, and glared at him, its teeth bared in a hideous smile.

The broad muscles in the wolf’s shoulders bunched and tightened, and he lifted off the ground, and lunged with terrifying precision. Michael stared into the open maw of the beast, and wilted from its burning breath. He spun away, narrowly avoiding the first snap of the wolf’s jaw, but the wolf circled to the left, and cut off his escape, grabbing at his outstretched arm, and locking its jaw around the bone. Michael fell hard. The pack closed around him, and the world stalled. The wolves moved in slow motion, descending on him with bared teeth. Michael waited for the pain, but there was none. The pack leader climbed onto his body, ripping at the flesh on his hip, with violent abandon. Still, Michael felt nothing. He was tumbling - winding into a kaleidoscopic tunnel – where the earth was no longer solid. He rolled onto his back, and fought for his life. He could feel it coming. His muscles failed, his arms fell to his sides, and his breathing slowed. Michael opened his eyes, and fixed the pack leader with a determined glare. The wolf hesitated, then pushed his snout closer to Michael’s face, and cocked his head, as if he was about to ask an important question. The animal’s fur glowed with an alien brilliance that defied description. The massive muscles in his shoulder girdle rolled and tightened under the skin. The wolf curled his upper lip, and bared his large fangs. Between the seconds, Michael had enough time to wonder at the animal’s pristine dental hygiene. The wolf’s eyes turned blood red as he dove to the right, and fixed his iron jaw on Michael’s neck. Michael rolled into the dream, and knew no more.

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