My Fall 2018 ReConnection Crusade
cru·sade | \ krü-ˈsād \
Definition of Crusade
2: a remedial enterprise undertaken with zeal and enthusiasm
I’m going dark. On social media. For a month.
I have had a year full of profound changes in my life. A year of Growth. Excitement. Fear. Risk. Surprises. Rewards. Immense Challenges. Yes, it’s been one of those years. All of those things combined into one crazy year.
I have been so excited to fulfill my dream of being an entrepreneur, an author and a keynote speaker. That dream has grown beyond my wildest imagination. For that I am so grateful and overwhelmed by the confidence my many new clients have placed in me. It means so much to me that I can roll a 27-year career as an economic development practitioner and all-around rabble rouser into a boutique firm focused on training, workshops, planning and dynamic presentations.
But it has not been easy. As a new entrepreneur, I have experienced many challenges that are not unique to me. Time management, business development strategies, targeting the right audience, a new system of budgeting, networking issues, just to name a few. I have felt like a young student learning things (the hard way) all over again. It’s been exciting, frustrating, overwhelming, liberating, lonely and invigorating.
One of my most popular and in-demand keynote speeches is called “An Hour in the Day”. This is a thought-provoking, humorous and inspirational presentation about how we, as a society, spend our precious hours. Are we spending our time productively? Are we nurturing our relationships? Are we contributing to the betterment of our communities? Or are we wasting our time on Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Fortnite, Monster Strike and Candy Crush Saga? Are we going through life with regrets about what we haven’t done? I have spent years researching this topic and the entire presentation is supported by hard data and case studies.
Recently, as I began to customize the presentation again for several audiences scheduled for this Fall, I realized that I was not practicing what I was preaching. With more time on my hands this year I have found myself becoming more of a slave to social media, to my phone…to any connection to the outside world. I realized that while I could give an effective presentation, backed by science… that I could give a much better presentation if I actually tested the theories and concepts I have been sharing in this speech for years. And I realized that I am the one that needs to hear the message the most.
So, I'm taking a break from social media for the month of October.
One disclaimer…I need to stay on LinkedIn for business reasons (I’m crazy, but not stupid!). I need to stay connected to my clients and up to date on current business news, plus I have several great events coming up! But I AM taking a 31-day sabbatical from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. And although it isn’t considered social media, I’m taking a break from that ever lovin’ biggest time sucker ever…Netflix. And don't even wonder about Snap Chat since that is a leap I never took.
Don’t get me wrong. I like these programs, but I’m at a tipping point of high growth in my business and it needs my full attention. I have family members that deserve my full attention. I have good friends that I haven’t spoken to (except by text or email) for months and sometimes years. How did this happen? Am I paying more attention to everyone’s else’s families on Facebook than my own? Am I dedicating more time to binge watching Netflix than contributing to my community? How can I go 35 years without keeping in touch with high school friends that I have enjoyed since childhood? Or 30 years without seeing my college friends who helped to shape me into the person I am today? Or maintaining contact with the special friends and colleagues I have had the pleasure to work with over the last three decades? Or thanking the mentors that helped me reach my personal career goals? This year, more than ever, I realized not only the importance of these people in my life, but how easy it is to lose my connection to them.
Consider just a few current social media statistics for perspective…
59% of adults use Instagram
1.57 billion YouTube users watch 5 billion videos every day
Of the 2.1 billion total accounts on Facebook, 270 million profiles are fake.
92% of teens access the internet every day, 56% several times a day, 24% constantly
Instagram: 500 million daily users, more than 40 billion photos shared to date
Facebook: 1.368 billion desktop daily users, 1.57 billion daily mobile users
Twitter: 100 million daily users, 500 million tweets sent per day
Pinterest: 2 million daily users, 81% are women
LinkedIn: 500 million users, daily users = 40%
Snap Chat: 187 million users, ave. time spent daily 30+ minutes
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. And this is why...
What I love about it:
I love seeing my extended family’s photos of their everyday lives. We all live apart in distance and it has allowed me to watch them grow. It’s easily my favorite thing about Facebook.
I love seeing my good friends’ families, children, grandchildren, pets, trips, projects etc.
Selfishly, I love to show off my offspring. I’m pretty proud of her and enjoy sharing her adventures.
I have a wicked sense of humor, so I think many of the memes are funny. And if you know me well, you know that the ones about sports, dieting, exercise, tacos, funny signs and birthdays are my favorites.
I love posts about history, travel, inspirational thoughts, etc.
But…what I hate about social media is just as profound to me.
I hate chain mail, cut & paste requests, share requests, game requests, etc. My page is filled with them and it is drowning out the good stuff.
I hate fake news. If you ever take the time to check out Snopes you will be shocked at the amount of fake posts, companies, products, stories, reviews, etc. that get shared.
I hate opening my page to an abundance of political opinions. (from all political persuasions). I believe everyone has a right to their opinion. And you have the right to post it. But I also have the right to not spend my time reading it, worrying about it, debating it or giving it one more second of my precious time. I’m an equal opportunity political post hater.
I hate graphic images.
Too much oversharing. I don’t need nor want to know what is going on behind your doors unless it is cute kids, birthday parties, awesome food, puppies, kittens, sports, new jobs or Throwback Thursday funny photos of your choice of apparel from your embarrassing childhood. Exception: sometimes sad news is important to share. I just believe it's important that sad news come directly from someone connected to the family....not hearsay, gossip or scoop.
Finally, I want to share what studies say about how social media affects our lives.
It changes people’s minds about us. People form their impressions about each of us based on what they read, hear, references, experiences, etc. We can’t build relationships based on common values, common interests and good old- fashioned experiences because we now we know way too much about each other. Pre-opinions of us can be formed based on what they read on social media and it’s hard to change an impression after that! That includes potential clients, employers, customers, supporters, allies and those who may not mean us well.
Social media is a confusing factor when when one uses it to determine self-worth. Studies can directly relate feelings of depression, jealousy, artificial euphoria and instant gratification to numbers of “follows, likes and shares”. What??? Crazy, but true.
Social media is not always safe. For example, my family has been a victim of identity theft three times in the past ten years. During the last saga, fake drivers’ licenses were created for me and my daughter and they utilized pictures from our Facebook accounts. Burglaries are planned based on social media posts. Fifty million users were just hacked this past week and they can’t tell us how our private information was compromised. Social media is the number one tool for child predators and human trafficking thugs. Something to think about.
80% of social media users say they only participate because it’s free. If any or all of them eventually become fee or subscription based, then social media activity will drastically decline and new forums for connecting to others will emerge.
Social media has done more to connect us to new and old friends and associates than any other platform. It’s done more to promote business, enhance business relationships and marketing products and services than any other platform. Social media has done more to connect us and educate us globally than any other avenue in the world. We should enjoy and utilize it in ways that enhance our lives. However, it has also provided an artificial shield of anonymity for comments, bullying, and negativity that studies say would never happen if people were speaking to each other in person. It is considered a dangerous new addiction and can hamper a person’s ability to form normal relationships outside of the realm of “the cloud”. It is especially harmful to young children who are developing unhealthy attachments to phones and gaming apps.
When our days on this earth are over, it will not be the number of likes we get on a post that will be remembered. Our self-worth is not dependent upon how many shares we get. Our legacy will be how we made people feel. How we lived our lives. How we treated others.
Social media has helped to rejuvenate and solidify many friendships and relationships in my life. It has even reconnected me to two long lost cousins that have been a huge blessing to me. For that I will always be truly grateful. But it has also been the enemy. The enemy of how my time is spent, how I feel about myself and how I feel about others. And it has made me a slave to my phone.
My life was pretty dang good before Facebook, Twitter and Snap Chat. And I’m about to spend the next thirty-one days reminding myself of why. I’m going to personally reconnect with friends and family, old and new. I’m going to go outside. Learn from the wisdom of others. Say thank you to those who deserve it. Put down my phone. Spread some kindness. Take my time back. Own my life.
I suspect that by November 1st, I’ll be ready to get back on social media...but it will be with a clearer heart and a calmer soul.
I’m not asking anyone else to go dark with me...that’s a personal choice. But I do encourage you to join me in my Fall 2o18 ReConnection Crusade. Spend the next month with me checking things off of the Fall 2018 ReConnection Crusade list. There are 40 items on the List....I assure you, even if you only choose to do 5, 10, or 20 of the items....it will be worth it. At the end of the Reconnection Crusade, we can celebrate and share our stories of how we reconnected with others during the month of October and promote inspiring ways that we can carry it forward.
If you would like a copy of the ACCELERATION by design's 30-day Fall 2018 ReConnection Crusade, send me a note on LinkedIn, Messenger, email or text me and I’ll send it to you!
I adore my family. I cherish all of my friendships. I respect and appreciate all of my business associates. I am grateful for everyone who has made my life richer, smoother and happier. And most of all, I thank our veterans and service members for providing me the freedoms I so greatly enjoy.
But I am asking myself...when was the last time I told them? Any of them? Have I EVER told them anything? I’m not going to waste one more day on Netflix or Facebook when I should be connecting to those who mean the world to me. Not only will this crusade make my special keynote speech even better but will hopefully make my life more meaningful as well. One month, one day or one hour at a time.
I hope you’ll join me in my Reconnection Crusade.
See you in November!
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