It seems like every time I checked my reader this month, I found a couple more blog posts or articles to add to my favorites list. As I was preparing this post, I had a hard time whittling it down to a manageable number. Here are some really great reads about social media, the March for Our Lives, writing, and China. Take a look . . .
The effect that social media has on community and relationships has been on my mind a lot lately. Apparently others are thinking of it as well because there were a number of posts in my reader this month dealing with the topic.
Rusty at his blog More Enigma than Dogma discusses the addictive nature of social media platforms and the self-imposed limitations that the creators of these platforms are putting on themselves and their families. He then lists four recommendations to help you and your family minimize the negative effects of social media.
Pearls and Pantsuits—a fun, light-hearted blog I love—posted a list of do’s and don’ts for behaving on social media. As I read her post, I was nodding and agreeing with all her points. The thing is, these suggestions are so simple, and yet there are way too many people who don’t follow these rules. Everyone’s social media experience would be so much more pleasant if we all followed these guidelines.
And then there’s Regie’s blog. I listed his posts before in my list of favorites, and for good reason. Regie has a way of taking an issue and making readers think about it in a new way—of challenging them to see it from all sides. When talking about social media, he recognizes both the good and the bad. Here’s a quote from his post:
I’m constantly amazed at how much passion, anger, vitriol and indignation is regularly spouted on these platforms. As if no one is looking. As if no one is taking notes. As if no one is putting you in column A or column B. As if you’re not giving away your prejudices. There’s a fine line between standing up for what you believe and branding yourself as a one-track thinker.
To read what else Regie has to say about social media, check out this link.
The March for Our Lives
While the March for Our Lives was happening in Washington, I happened to be reading a book called Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones. I was already well-aware of the opiate epidemic in the United States and the relationship between the increased use of prescription opiates and the rise in the number of heroine addicts. I had watched the documentaries American Addict and American Addict 2, both of which were informative and infuriating. But Quinones’s book went into so much more detail.
In 2008 “drug overdoses, mostly from opiates, surpass[ed] auto fatalities as leading cause of accidental death in the United States” and has remained so. Even though, as Quinones explains at the end of his book, progress has been made in trying to overcome the crisis, this is still a crisis.
So I was reading Quinones book while these marches were going on. I’d read the news at night and it would be filled with articles about the March for Our Lives, and then I’d open up Quinones book and continue reading. I’d read the horrifying statistics and the history behind the drug issues in the U.S. and couldn’t help but to ask why no one was marching for this. Statistically speaking, every single one of those kids would have a greater chance of having their lives directly affected by the crimes perpetrated by the pharmaceutical companies and the epidemic of addiction that they caused than they would a school shooting. Why weren’t they marching in protest of the power that the drug companies have in Washington? Why weren’t they saying anything about the money given to both Republicans and Democrats by those companies? It’s all a mystery to me.
I know I’m digressing here, but I was having all these thoughts run through my mind when I ran into Regie’s post on the marches happening in Washington. Like usual, he has a way of taking an issue and spinning it around and encouraging his readers to look at in a way they may not have before. I appreciate his thoughts on the marches in Washington. You can read what he has to say here.
Running and Writing
Marie at Live Like it Matters published a couple posts this month that really resonated with me. She is a Christian, a writer, and a runner (all things I have in common with her), and her posts are usually easy for me to relate to. The short posts she puts up on her blog always seem to encourage me and brighten my day. In her post “Hope Has Feet,” she says that “hope is not an idle wish for things to get better” but it “compels us to move forward.” It gives us a reason to work hard, and with perseverance we move forward bit by bit. Take a look at Marie’s the full post here.
As a writer, I always find Jane Friedman’s blog to be incredibly helpful. This month she announced she has a new book coming out, and I’m giddy-excited to read it. Unfortunately I have to wait until the summer when I can pick up a paper copy while we are visiting family in the States. Yes, I usually read e-books these days, but this book is one I know I’m going to want to write in and put tab markers in and use as a reference for later . . . so I’m getting a paper copy. You can read her announcement for her new book here.
Donation—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Please don’t send your used clothing to Africa. I’m all for helping people less fortunate, but too often I see people trying to help in the wrong way. I could go on and on about this, but Rachel Pieh Jones, writing for a life overseas: a mission conversation uses clothing donations to Africa to make a much larger point. She also provides several links to read for further consideration. You can check out what she has to say about the topic here.
When people think of China, one of the first things that comes to mind is the one-child policy. In fact, when my family decided to move to China, my darling niece asked which child I was going to take with us “because, well, you know—that one-child policy over there.” I got a good laugh about that at the time. In truth, this policy for which China is so well known has changed. A couple years ago it was changed to a two-child policy. And now there is talk of abandoning limitations altogether. The problem now is that in China’s “rapidly aging society” couples don’t want to have more than one-child “despite propaganda campaigns that have even encouraged ‘young comrades to lead by example in birthing a second child.’” You can read the full article from ThatsBeijing here.
Image: Tree Networks Structure Social Media Internet by Max Pixel