Things My Mom Has Taught Me About Social Media

I’ve been pondering for a couple of days what to write for my Mother’s Day blog post. I knew it would be something about all of the things my Mom has taught me over the past 37 years or so about life. But this morning I started thinking that many of the things she has taught me apply directly to my experiences with social media.

So here is my list of Things My Mom Has Taught Me About Social Media:

Play Nice With the Other Kids
When I was growing up, my Mom always told me to be polite and kind to the people I interacted with. This meant grownups as well as the other kids around me. She said it’s okay to disagree with people, but always be respectful of others’ opinions.

How do I apply this lesson to my online interactions? Simple. I often disagree the opinions of others. I don’t mind saying so by commenting on their blogs or sending them a message. But lately I’ve been noticing more and more negative discussions hovering around my social networks. Healthy debate promotes positive change. Bashing people and negative talk doesn’t accomplish anything. Play nice and everyone will benefit.

Be Grateful For What You Have Been Given
When I was growing up my Mom always reminded me to be grateful for the things I had been given…a nice family, a roof over my head, nice clothes, 3 meals a day, and so on. She also told me to be grateful to the people around me when they did nice things for me. And to try to do nice things in return.

I am eternally grateful to all of the people who’ve helped me on my journey so far – from my my great friend André who took a chance on me when I was just 19 and gave me my first job in TV, to my brother who dragged me up to the computer room in 1996 and showed me this amazing thing called the “Internet” for the first time, to all of the people (too many to mention here, but they know who they are) who have been mentors and teachers of all things social media. I do my best to do nice things for them too. And I am now passing on what I’ve learned from them, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to do that.

If You Don’t Know How to Do Something, Figure It Out
My Mom is a voracious knitter. Over the years I’ve watched her go from knitting simple potholders and scarves to ultra-complex hooded sweaters and baby clothes. The work she does is beautiful and frankly I am amazed at how she does it. It’s a talent. But if you ask her, she’ll say “I just worked at it till I figured it out.”

Today, I live by that advice. In 1998 I graduated from a college program where they taught us about CD ROM development. All we learned about the web was one class about HTML coding. 3 weeks after I graduated, one of my teachers came to me and asked me to teach a course at the college in HTML and Dreamweaver. I said sure, having no idea how I was going to do it. But I spent the next month learning everything I could. I messed around, messed up, and worked at it till I figured it out. I taught the course and got rave reviews. Today, because of Mom, I get excited when I don’t know how to do something, because it’s an opportunity to explore and figure it out.

Don’t Spend All Day On That Thing
My Mom realizes the importance of variety. When we were growing up, Mom wouldn’t let my brother and I spend too much time doing only one thing – watching TV, reading, playing outside, and even homework. “Take a break, do something else. It’s all about balance.” she’d say.

I spend a lot of time on the computer, but eventually, somewhere in the back of my mind, I hear my Mom say to me “Don’t spend all day on that thing!”. So I shut down the computer after a while, to make sure that there is a balance between my online life and the rest of my life.

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My Mom is a wise woman. The impact and influence she has had on our family’s life is remarkable, and she continues to inspire us daily with her energy, love and commitment. Thanks Mom, for being you and Happy Mother’s Day.

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(Note: My parents are no social media slouches themselves. My Mom is on Facebook, regularly Instant Messages, and my Dad runs a blog at villagesquares.wordpress.com and uses Flickr for all his photo sharing needs.)

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