Social media impact on personal life

betty ming liu Inspiration, Relationships 5 Comments

Every once in a while, I’ll see a cartoon in The New Yorker that makes me stop — and stare at myself. That’s the power of a doodle that’s worth a thousand words!

Here’s one that made me laugh. And, think. On some level, this cartoon could’ve been set in any decade. But it really says so much about these online times. The cartoon is from the Aug. 27, 2012 issue of the magazine:

It’s sort of mind boggling how much personal information about us is out there. In addition to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, a lot of us are visible on the Internet because of our blogging, commenting, online dating, eBaying and other things we do.

Let’s also not forget the data about us which is aggregated by municipal and business websites. They’re busy culling public records to upload data about our births, deaths, family history, past and present home addresses, telephone numbers, property purchases and sales…is there such a thing as true privacy anymore?

Seems to me that the concept of intimacy has changed too; at the very least, it has taken on new dimensions. Some years ago, I went to dinner with a guy I met through When we sat down, he said he’d been reading my blog and felt like he already knew me — and knew too much for a first date. But we got to talking and by the end of the appetizer and first drink, we had an honest conversation going. We actually made it through Date #2 before I balked at the idea of dating a heavy smoker; I guess that’s another story.

Even though I’ve come a long way since those dates, I do realize that being a blogger has its price. In talking shop with others who share this calling, it always comes down to the same issue: while loved ones do their best to support our blogging, there are moments when the vocation’s time-consuming nature can become annoying or even intolerable.

There have been plenty of times when I’ve stayed up late to craft just the right paragraph or to upload one more photo. It’s insane — even I’ll admit it. But how can I stop? In its own magical, organic way, my blog has created a platform for intimacy with myself, friends old and new, critics and strangers passing through. I couldn’t ever imagine shutting this system down.

Well then, onward into the approaching fall season and the end-of-the-year holiday madness that will be here soon enough.

And if you’ll excuse me now, it’s time to crawl back into bed with the latest issue of The New Yorker and my deaf dog.  :)



Comments 5

  1. LoL Betty! Great post about the times we live in I am happy to have found you online. When I think of the amount of people that I’ve lost contact with and found online through Facebook especially, it’s a blessing because most likely I wouldn’t have ever heard about, heard who got married had children or ever seen again..
    In the respect of technology this is a great time we are living in but imagine what is being developed in a lab somewhere right now and what’s coming next…!
    We’re I’m for some interesting times to say the least.

    Have a great day!!

    * I have to take a look at your older posts as I’ve been busy with work & enjoying this Labor Day off :)

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    Walter, hope you have having a wonderful holiday Monday. I’m taking it easy too; just went shopping for back-to-school clothes with my daughter. Some of these rituals really are fun.

    As for the future, I’ll be out there just like you, wondering about what’s next. The nice part is that we can all sit around in front of our computer screens, wondering together. Have a good one!

  3. Great and timely blog, Betty. I also loved the New Yorker cartoon in the Aug. 6 issue. Wife berating husband, who’s prone on the sofa with his laptop. His response? “Lazy? I’ve been social-networking my ass off!”

    I say — it’s time to stop the insanity and invite a friend to lunch — face to face.

  4. Sometimes I think that the notion of privacy is truly gone and then I still go and e-mail or upload a photo of myself or my friends and family. For that reason, I stayed away from FB for a few months around springtime. Yet after my son graduated elementary school, I couldn’t resist. I thought the whole world (or, at least the hundreds of friends and some strangers I call Facebook friends) would be missing out on seeing my kid grow up. I wonder about the dangers of overexposing him, but then again I overexpose my thoughts with comments on this blog. I know how to balance somewhat, but maybe not enough.

    I could use social media more for its professional benefits but I haven’t done that. With all you’ve shared about connecting and building a brand, I should have already! I have to learn how to keep what’s separate separate. I guess in more ways than one.

    My son tricked me pretty well using technology about a day ago. He had an app on his iPod that scanned fingerprints. I guess it is supposed to reveal your sex or your age or something. He scanned my finger once and it revealed I am a female. It also included my age. I thought that was fun. He came back moments later and showed me his scan, which revealed his name, age and where he attended elementary school. I was impressed. He left the room and came back, only to ask me to scan my finger again. I did, and this time the scan revealed the prior information but included where I attended college. He would leave the room every so often to get a drink or turn off the television, each time askimg me to scan my finger. I made no issue about it, he’s always asking me to do something, try something or look at something with him. The next few times I scanned revealed more details about me. It went from my age, to college, to high school, to middle school and then elementary school. It even said that I had one child. He asked me how could it know so many things about me. I suggested that as a child or adult, I must have been fingerprinted and every school I attended or place I worked was submitted the fingerprints by the Department of Health. It made me wonder if people were accessing my public information for strange purposes or if I were a victim of identity theft (which happened to me once). I told him the DOH had his records too, that was the only way to explain how his last scan even said where he would be starting school in the fall. I called up one of my brothers to share this, I was laughing so hard, this was incredible! We marvelled at the thought.

    A few days later, my little cousins were over for a playdate with my son. I told them they had to experiment with the app. It was too cool! Then, my son (realizing how much kids are smarter than their parents) said that he didn’t want to try it on them. I insisted. He was being very shy all of a sudden. He took me to his room and confessed he entered all of that information. He didn’t want to try it on his cousins because they would know the truth. He told me all the times he was in and out o my room, he was getting clues or asking me indirectly the full names of schools or workplaces and some he knew by heart. I was too surprised (or dense) to notice. While I was thinking that an app is sharing my fingerprint and info with iPod users everywhere, my son was just pulling my leg.

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    Lil B., that’s a good cartoon too! I thanks for setting the bar to a human level. Even social media is so real for many of us, there’s nothing like the simple face-to-face interactions that have been around since prehistoric times.

    Skye, your boy is a genius — haha! But seriously, you raise a really good point. The comments we leave on blogs do indeed count as social media activity that is curated by the Web. So if you left your full name on your comments, they would pop up under a search of your name in Google.

    As for building your brand, I am honored to be a place for you and everyone else who is experimenting with developing an online identity. When you’re good and ready, I’m sure you’ll take the next step to develop platforms of your own. But you will always be welcome here.. :)

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