In the last 10 years our lives seem to have been totally taken over by social media. There are hundreds of networking sites and blogs, most of which I have never heard of, but then I am not today’s young generation.
I do admit to using Facebook, which for some reason is rather addictive and I occasionally use Twitter, I also write my blog of course. But why? Facebook upsets me, and there have been many studies that show Facebook causes depression and jealousy.
As someone who spends most of the day alone, Facebook appeals as it connects me with others, but at the same time it makes me feel I am missing out on normal life. It can help to connect with people in the same situation, but then I find it gets a competitive about who is the hardest done to and who has the worst symptoms.
I find it hard to be part of a group face to face due to hearing issues, lack of confidence, poor self esteem and poor concentration. Online groups enable me to be more confident and speak up more than I would naturally do, but more and more I am finding that people still want to put me down or pick on me and many of the groups become dictatorial, with a few people who rule the roost and others who are not able to say what they want and have to toe the line or be pushed out, therefore there is no chance for exchanges of ideas or discussion and freedom of speech gets lost.
The main feature of Facebook and Twitter is to post what is currently on your mind, a status update, which is how you know what people are up to. On several occasions Emily has been picked on because of something I have written, I never post really personal stuff, but things I think are of interest or a bit of fun. I also sometimes use it to post current frustrations, but I have been told to stop feeling sorry for myself, or that what I have written can’t be true or that I am always negative. This puts me off writing a status and again I find my self being controlled by others, when the whole idea is to say what I feel. “Character is always lost when a high ideal is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity.” Charles Spurgeon
As with any group of people it seems some people can say whatever they want and will post lots of comments and try to make out they are better and more important than others.
Last week I decided that I would leave most of the groups I was part of as I couldn’t cope with the tension and bad feeling even if it wasn’t directed at me. I also decided to only post positive comments. Consequently I have no one to share concerns or problems with. Many of the discussions I had were in small private groups related to health problems or interests not on a general Facebook feed. I also deleted a large number of people from my friends list as I had no idea who they really were, but I just seem to accumulate vague acquaintances who then feel able to comment and judge me. I don’t mind differences of opinion, but what makes one persons life more important than anyone elses?
I began writing a blog to share my experiences of having ME and to share my craft interests, but again it feels that it’s a big competition to see who can get the most reads and most shares and it’s not really about what you write. I have very few reads and that shouldn’t matter, but I do get upset when others people say they have hundreds of reads and what they have written is nothing special or even of great interest. “Truth can’t be judged on the basis of popularity.” Woodrow Knoll.
Today my daughter is upset because they had an Easter Egg competition at school and she didn’t win. It’s hard to explain that not many people do win and that it’s about taking part, especially when it seems the same people win all the time, or someone who has seemingly put less effort in get rewarded more. I wondered if it would be better if it wasn’t a competition and no one won, but I guess most wouldn’t bother then, as it’s the chance of winning that is the incentive. Emily did find it difficult as she wanted to take part and wanted to win, but she knew she wouldn’t win, but also felt that she would be left out if she didn’t take part. Social media doesn’t help with this either. it’s a fine line between sharing what you have done and showing off or bragging and we all get caught up in it and many are upset by it.
Most days I think I would be better if I left social media and that I would be happier and feel less got at and picked on. But at the same time I would become more isolated and lonely. It also feels like the only way you find out information about what is happening to people is through social media, but if it’s not important enough to tell you about personally then you probably don’t need to know.
When I write my blog I want to share what I have been making or get some of my thoughts in order. There isn’t really a reason why it needs to be done publicly though, except we all need some appreciation and feedback at times. I had hoped that having the blog would make me feel more organised and that I would be able to have discussions with like minded people. The only comments are get are Spam and have to be deleted. If I read someones blog I try to leave a supportive comment, it doesn’t take much, but again I think it all comes down to fitting in and being the right person.
You would think that after 45 years of being an outsider and not quite fitting in with anyone that I would accept it and stop trying, but there is always the hope that something great will happen. Perhaps I need to adopt this strategy;
When I hear my daughter saying she feels she has no friends and doesn’t fit in, it’s so hard to comfort and help her as I feel just the same and I don’t know how you do fit in and be widely liked. Like many other things it probably happens when you stop trying and don’t worry about what others think or say.
Living with a Chronic Illness means that you stand out for all the wrong reasons and are judged on what you are unable to do rather than what you can do, social media often reinforces these things even with people in similar situations.
So why do I spend so much time online and scrolling through Facebook? I don’t want to be lonely, I want to be normal and fit in. I am unable to work or get out of the house much so it’s a connection with the real world. Sadly the real world does all the things I want to be able to do and I spend all my time seeing what others can do as they are more physically and financially able than me. I try to make friends, but the goals seem to be to just collect as many people as you can even if you don’t really know them and then you have to like or comment on things they say in order for them to like what you say. I get fed up of posts that use emotional blackmail to make you like and share someones post and being told that the person who made the posts knows who cares enough about them to repost. Then there is the other extreme where you repost something someone has said because you like it and find it interesting and you get told off for sharing a post without permission or acknowledgement. It’s like being back in the school playground, I am to old for that sort of pettiness and I never liked it at school!
People seem to have lost the art of being together and conversation. You can be in a room full of people and everyone is on their gadgets playing games or using social media. talking to people they hardly know, how sad is that.
I am dreading the day that Emily is old enough to use Social Media; like me she is very sensitive, gets picked on and worries about what people think about her. Telling her she can’t use it would instantly make her feel left out and not normal.
I have cut down the things that show on my newsfeed and tried to keep the positive things and things that interest me, rather than focusing on being ill. I use Facebook as I spend a lot of time on my own unable to do much due to pain, fatigue and poor concentration, but I am unable to relax and rest properly so need something that requires little effort, but is Facebook really the answer?
I write a blog to sort out my feelings and express myself, this can actually be quite draining and a post can take days to write, again is this the best use of my time and energy? Once I have published the post, I then get hung up on how many reads it gets, but it shouldn’t matter. You get more reads the more places you share in, but then there are places that don’t allow blog posts and again it gets stressful and I wonder if I have shared in the wrong place. Some people I know gets hundreds of reads, I get about 10, why is that, what do others have that I don’t? Why does it matter?
Another social side of Facebook is finding out about events going on. I like to know if there is a local craft show or sale or a charity event, but then I have to decide if I am well enough to go and if there is someone who can take me and if they will get anything out of it. If I can’t go I feel I am missing out and or letting down the person. It’s got to the point now where I hardly attend anything, so maybe it’s better if I don’t know what I am missing?
I like seeing what other craft people are up to, but then I feel that my things are not good enough or wonder how they can make so many things and run a business, when I manage so little. I often wonder if crafting is the right thing for me, but I do enjoy it, I’m just not very productive. Trying to share things on my craft blog and in my shop doesn’t really seem to be working and I wonder what I am doing wrong, but I guess it would be the same if I was standing at a craft stall and no one was interested. If I do sell my items to a live audience I am not there so don’t know what interest there is and what people think, but again it is a disappointment if most of it comes back. I think the old adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know” a lot of the time.