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Social Media – friend or foe?

Back in 1994 I went to Australia and spent 12 amazing months working and travelling there.  There was no social media, emails, texts and I don’t remember the internet.  So the only way I communicated with family and friends back home was via the phone and letters.  Travelling around so much I didn’t have a permanent postal address so would tell people to write to me at poste restante at my next destination.

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I can remember being really excited about collecting my post when I arrived.  So how did it go from this sporadic communication to people feeling that they have to tell everyone what they’re doing every second of the day? I read recently about an unfortunate British model who died whilst taking a selfie on a dangerous cliff in Sydney and she wasn’t the first tourist to die in that way at that spot.  This really is totally tragic to risk your life to get that perfect picture for your followers.

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I’ve heard of a few people lately who have taken a break from social media because they felt like they were comparing their life to other peoples’ and it was affecting their mental health.  This too is very sad and has made me think about my own social media activity.  I would hate to post something negative that would upset someone but equally what if my happy posts of holidays, travelling etc make people feel bad as they aren’t able to travel for whatever reason?

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It’s a tough one, as we all like to share our good times and being a runner that has more than one meaning! But maybe we should be a bit more balanced in what we post, as we all know that the sun doesn’t always shine on holiday, so we shouldn’t be afraid to post those rainy photos, it’s reality after all.

I recently woke up to the fact that I can unfollow people on Facebook, which has been liberating.  I wouldn’t spend long with someone who talked constantly about themselves, so it makes sense that I don’t want to be subjected to a constant stream of social media activity from the same people.  I can find out what my less prolific Facebook friends are doing now and it has become a bit more balanced. 

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I think ultimately we all need to think about what we want to achieve from social media.  If our social media use is making us unhappy we have control.  In our everyday lives, we choose to spend time with certain people because they add to our lives, we wouldn’t dream of spending time with someone who make us feel worthless, so why would should we allow it on social media?

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