15 Apr Social Media – The Cruel Mistress
“How many likes did my last blog post get Mum?”
Her little eyes looking up at me suddenly huge and expectant.
Niamh had asked to start her own blog so I had built her a Facebook Page on my profile that is 100% moderated by me.
She had enjoyed sharing tales of her day and picking images to go with them.
We had had to teach her a little more about cyber safety when she tagged herself in the exact location that she was in but besides that it had been a nice little project for her…..however:
“Did I get more than the last one?”
It suddenly struck me that writing the blog wasn’t giving her the confidence and the warm sense of achievement but rather the response to it.
She was experiencing social media the same way that we do as adults and that’s sad because that’s the ugly side to the big shiny Facebook juggernought.
Just as we do, she was putting her heart on her sleeve and standing in front of a panel of judges and asking……is this worthy of your ‘like’?
Am I enough?
I’ve been thinking a lot in these early hours about how cruel social media can be and i’m quite keen for your opinions about a situation I have found myself in.
Social media (or SM as it shall be known as from here to save my little fingers) has become both a balm and an irritant for our fractured self esteem.
It is the comfortable cloud of ‘you’re doing ok’ in an uncertain world as well as the disapproving glance of all the world when you are not.
When a post of mine went viral I found myself under the scrutiny of a large audience whose opinions I wouldn’t have cared a jot about before having a Facebook account.
Recently I have found myself in a strange, unsettling situation.
A couple of friends that have always been huge supporters of me in life, writing and business have disappeared.
Still there but not there at all.
The comfort of their likes vanished – even the courtesy ones that would always be there when posting a picture of my girls.
The always gratefully received comments of support on my blog snuck off like a thief in the night, taking with it a little of my confidence.
I tried my best by keeping up with my usual interaction only to be met with a stony wall of silence.
It has made me feel very self conscious.
What have I done?
Is it something i said? I can be incredibly tactless.
Something I did?
Did I brag too much about the girls?
Too many fitness posts?
Did I write something in a blog that didn’t go down too well? I checked them all and there is nothing derogatory.
Did I become annoying? I’m pretty sure I have always been this annoying so I’m sure my consistency hasn’t waned.
Was I not a good friend?
I thought about having it out, in REAL LIFE.
You know, the one where one person forms sounds out of their mouth and the other responds in the same manner?
But to actually say the words, belonging on Jeremy Kyle, ‘You stopped liking my life on Facebook’ would just seem so ridiculous that I can’t bring myself to.
So I’ll say nothing and try my best (in real life) to not let it look like my heart is breaking ever so slightly that they no longer want to share in the little things.
This is why SM is a scary tool that is over used today.
We measure everything against it to judge its success.
My viral post went crazy – far and wide but with that brought ugliness and venomous comments I found hard to look past.
I have also found the most amazing community of support with my blogs about Esme. Beautiful messages from many people that read my posts and felt a connection, be it as a Mum, friend or just a human being.
So it isn’t all bad.
For all SM is a hotbed of utter tripe, racist posts, minion memes and inspirational quotes it is also a showcase for some of the world’s humanity and is accessible to most.
Hopefully by the time my girls are old enough for accounts on these things, I will have filled up their self-esteem buckets so full that the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to make it dry.