Saturday, 27 April 2013

Confessions of a Social Media Addict

Hi, I am Helen and I am addicted to Social Media. I have Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course Blogspot.

I am the first to say I love social networking... the advances in technology have allowed me to stay in touch with people in ways that I haven't been able to before. Moving away to uni, this has been particularly helpful... Skype for my friends, Facebook chat, texting, it's all been amazing to help me feel a little less lonely. So that's all good you say... why is there an issue with social media? Well, like many, I feel like it can distort one's thoughts and expectations of life.

I spend a lot of time on Facebook, I upload photos, share statuses, generally just telling people what is going on in my life. I love to see what my friends are up to, how they're getting on and I know for a fact my mum uses it to check on me sometimes... though I am not sure how willingly she'd admit to it! All of this is good stuff, but what about the times when you feel down and alone and just plain rubbish?

I sit scrolling through my news feed, seeing photos and statuses about my friends having a fantastic time at this party, or finishing that essay or getting a brilliant mark for some piece of coursework. I see photos of them out with friends/boyfriends/girlfriends etc and they look amazing. I then look at myself, sat at home in my pyjamas, not having done brilliantly in that essay, having had a rubbish day and feeling particularly hideous and then I just feel awful. This is swiftly followed by the familiar pang of envy and I just want to crawl into bed with a jar of nutella and a spoon and remain there forever.

But one thing we always forget is that Facebook/Twitter etc are not real representations of day to day life. They are like the lifestyle equivalent of airbrushing. You only show people your best side. You only post the things you want them to see. You don't post a photo of yourself when you have a red nose from the winter cold, or pale sweaty skin from the flu. You don't post statuses boasting about the low mark in that essay, or those cupcakes you burned by accident. Facebook is the side of you you're proud of. And honestly, it's not a bad thing to be proud of who you are, but it's important to keep some perspective: Facebook does not constitute "real life".

Honestly, even on here, where I aim to be as honest and up front as possible, I show my "best work." I post what I am proud of and have spent time thinking about because I care, because I want to be the best person I can be. I don't post the rough drafts from my notebooks or those rants which almost culminated in a blog post... because I am not proud of those. I don't like them. And I don't think the world needs to see them. In fact the world doesn't need to see this but I want it to. I want the world to see what I can do... not what I can't.

I also write this blog because I wanted a way to tell people that life isn't rainbows and buttercups and fairies... it is pain and sorrow and suffering too. And no matter how many social media accounts you have, you can't just air brush that out of real life. But remember, you are not alone. Everyone has felt that way at one time or another and it is those around us who get us through, whether it's a simple word of encouragement or a cup of tea/coffee and a chat, you never know how much of a blessing you can be to someone, because we all need that sometimes. Sometimes we all need an encouraging smile, a cup of tea, a shoulder to cry on to get us through those rubbish days.

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