I mean, just how sociable is social media?
Does it help connect people or does it provide an unsociable disconnect?
Does having a social media account increase isolation and anxiety or does it provide valuable help support and advice to people who otherwise might struggle to go out and meet people or does it serve as a bleak reminder that other people are enjoying a life that some can only wish for?
Take a look around when you are out and about.
How often do you see groups of people together at a table all on their ‘phone or tablet?
How often are couples out together and each looking down at their phones?
Parents picking their children up from school and the child is chatting away to a rather distracted parent who is tapping out a message to someone in cyber world (and please be aware I am not criticising as I too have been that parent!)
Many years ago before the birth of the internet, if we wanted to find answers to questions we would head to the local library, check out the reference section, take out a book on loan or ask the librarian.
We would ask other people and, depending on the answers we needed, we might make an appointment to speak with someone whether this be legal, medical personal or consumer advice!
Newspapers were often a reliable(!) source of information, as were the hourly news bulletins.
But these days, whilst we still have the choice to visit the library, read a newspaper or listen to the news it is often far easier to pick up your ‘phone, tablet or laptop and use a search engine to find the answers to your questions, solutions to your problems (do ensure that you check out the validity of your results as there are so many fake news and information articles) or to share your latest news on one of the many social media sites which many of us are so very familiar with.
Have we turned into a generation of lazy learners?
Are we so hungry for information that we need to be connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot wherever we go?
Or has anxiety and the fear of missing out (FOMO) just gone too far?
When did it become more socially acceptable to be commenting on a social media post or tweeting the latest news than catching up with a friend over a coffee or popping into a relative’s house to offer a hand or meeting up for dinner and a drink to converse face to face!
It is often down to our individual perception!
The internet and social media are and will always be an important and informative part of how we live in the 21st century and beyond.
Where once it may have been impossible to find other families whose children had a life changing medical condition, a support group for a rare disease or funding for a family or individual who need additional help and support, the power of social media can be life changing for some people.
For others it can have the opposite impact!
Social Media can increase the sense of loneliness, isolation, guilt, fear and inadequacy being experienced.
Most people when uploading their pictures and updating their status’s will post the positives of what has happened in their life, the equivalent of social ‘chit chat’ and a snapshot view of what is actually going on their life.
If you were having an actual conversation it would probably go something like this ‘Morning, how are you’ ‘Fine thanks, you?’ ‘Good thank you, lovely day?’ ‘yes isn’t it’… the conversation might then continue onto what you are doing that day, whether you are going on holiday, that sort of thing.
The interaction is then often forgotten about within minutes. With social media however the status or the photograph pops ups as people like and comment and is evident much.
It is that which is perhaps often overlooked and then adds to the difficult feelings being experienced about how we perceive the life that other people are living.
Comparison is the thief of Joy
The key to helping to combat this perception is to avoid comparisons of our lives to each other.
Tricky because often that is how we measure our success or perceived failure, however who said we have to keep up with anyone…ever! The truth is we don’t.
Social Media can be a great way to connect with people, to dip in and out as you wish, or avoid it if it isn’t your cup of tea, but don’t take it as truth or representation of all that is happening in other people’s lives or that your life is worth any less because of what you see in a news feed or timeline.
Be kind to yourself and if social media is causing you to feel unhappy then deactivate your account or take a break until you feel stronger.
Get out of the house if possible and go for a walk or a drive, a run or a swim or a coffee with a friend.
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