“Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute (okay a few)
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became…” addicted to social media… taaa ta na na na na neh.. neh neh neh
Okay not quite as exciting as my old favourite ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air‘… but this is my story on the rise and fall of social media in my eyes. My experience of it so far…
It was back in 2009, 28th January 2009 to be precise that I finally succumbed to the brave new world that was Facebook. My first ever status:
“Trying to make myself invisible…” (!)
For that whole year, I had only 8 friends on my list and I refused to add anymore because I didn’t want everyone to know everything about me and certain people to ‘find’ me.
I didn’t understand how it worked and I didn’t trust that any information I shared wasn’t available to all and sundry.
YES believe it or not I am a private person… I don’t like to divulge toooo much and yes I’m going out on a limb here to get people reflecting…
It was the following year, however that I became addicted.
In 2010, I was unwell. This meant that I would be bedridden and unable to move or speak for months on end.
I had a new ‘smart’ phone which I could use to communicate with and so Facebook became a past time for me.
An old school friend found me on Facebook and once she was ‘added’, along came another 100 or so. I loved it! I was back in touch with people I hadn’t seen in years, I learnt what they’d been up to and what they were doing now, they’re interests and views.
Learning things about them that I wouldn’t have even whilst at school together.
I became closer to my cousins and family around the country, we would talk everyday, endless conversations triggered by a shared post, or a family photo. We would talk of our childhoods and celebrate each others’ success.
It was a warm and friendly place to be. It kept me going when when I had 3 children, aged 4 and under and screaming at me all at once. But it soon became an addiction.
I joined Twitter on 16 January 2011… my first tweet:
‘Can anyone see this?’
I totally didn’t understand it. I had read so much in the news about twitter and looked down on it a little because I thought that essentially it was all about people tweeting the minutest details of their lives – I mean who wants to know if you’ve been to the toilet?
I followed all the news agencies, fashion houses, health and parenting tweeters and anything else that took my interest and would read all of the articles daily. I felt I HAD to read everything on my feed(!)
I didn’t understand all of the ‘hashtag’ business and so soon gave up.
I’ve come back to it recently and am enjoying it a lot more, I might add here.
Depending on who you follow, there is a vast amount of information easily accessible from just one feed without having to go into lengthy articles or updates if you don’t wish to. It took me a while to figure that one out ha ha(!)
Last year, in March 2013, I came across Instagram. Again an exciting medium, all visual this time and so I thought it wouldn’t take much of my time.
I followed what took my interest, fitness fanatics, health conscious people, fashion houses and friends.
The first picture I shared was of a pair of shoes I had bought for my daughter. Because I didn’t know most of the people on my follower list, I felt comfortable to share things I wouldn’t normally.
I’m quite a private person when it comes to what I own, always have been. I have always bought understated things that no one would know where they were bought and who they were designed by.
However, I found in Instagram-land I wanted to share, oh I wanted to show what I had bought, where I had been or eaten… these were like minded people, I told myself, they’re all in on it.
The twenty somethings, the thirty-somethings, forty-somethings, hell even some fifty-somethings! They like to see expensive things, nobody felt ‘bad’ or ‘jealous’ if you showed them your things here.
So in time, I started sharing more and more of what I had bought and then what I wore. I felt sort of invisible and thought it was okay to do so.
Unfortunately, these very actions were against everything that I believed in.
I’ve always held certain principles, being modest about what I own and am have been one of them, while also central to my faith.
I would go through photos of friends or commentators and then see their followers feeds.
What business was it of mine? None really.
Time wasting. Yes really.
I think the last straw for me was when I was thinking of ways to photograph my watch. I took a photo and and went to upload it, I took it off because the brand was clearly visible – I didn’t want people to know what it was.
‘Why do you want to show it?’ I asked myself.
‘Why do these people need to see it? Your own mother and best friends don’t know you have it. So why?’
I stopped myself and I thought about my behaviour and how someone who isn’t easily influenced and has a mind of my own was led to go against my grain.. what hope did teens have at their impressionable age?
I’d wake up and see images of women with their derrières exposed… all health related of course, and I’d cringe, keep going down my feed and I’d see endless photos of people showing off their physical assets, material assets – it was one big frenzy of materialism gone wrong.
Everything that I didn’t believe in, shouldn’t believe in and knew was affecting me spiritually and emotionally.
YOU ARE THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
You’ll have heard the old adage ‘you are the company you keep’, however in today’s day and age it completely applies to social media.
If you follow what is not good for you, that which makes you want more, to splurge and be excessive in all that you have, you will become that way.
For me Facebook is about meeting old friends and family, keeping in touch with them and keeping things private between our social network.
Twitter is completely impersonal for me, I learn a lot about the goings-on in the world and I can easily share what I learn with my few followers.
Instagram for me, didn’t really teach me anything except that after all of these years and experience, I was still weak. It taught me that, because, of its visual attraction, you could easily get sucked in and become what humans in general dislike; greedy, excessive, proud.
I felt that it was in opposition to my principles and my faith and so decided to deactivate my account.
At the same time I announced to my Facebook friends that I’d be taking a step back because I was spending too much time on it and spending less time with my loved ones who were in my ‘here and now’.
I’m back on facebook, it had to happen, my loved ones are there and I missed them. I missed not being able to converse with them in one big group over a small status or a shared link.
However my time away, has enabled me to come on and scroll my newsfeed for a short while and then come off again (I couldn’t do this before, I felt I HAD to catch up on everything up until the last post I had read).
I’m using twitter very efficiently too, I have refined who I follow and I am learning a lot. There are incredibly inspiring people out there that work hard to improve the world and make it a better place and more cohesive.
I am constantly learning something each time I go on, although I might add, that I have followed inspirational people that share information that improves the way I think.
I have un-followed all fashion houses and companies recently, because if you don’t see what they are selling… you don’t want it and you most certainly do not NEED it!
When I want to buy something, I’ll visit them personally and let them inspire me there and then!
I will not be influenced at home and told that I need something when I don’t. I have plenty thank you very much! (Marketing Execs I know you hate me!)
So that’s my story. I gained some and I lost some.
I learnt a lot. Now I worry about my children more.
Social media is such a huge part of our lives nowadays and depending on who you follow and befriend, you can steer your life towards ultimate success or failure. That’s how I see it.
Remember you are the company you keep, including who you follow and see daily on your social media feeds… don’t be sheep… follow your instincts and do what you know is right in your heart that will better you, not who everyone else is following.
If everyone follows Kim Kardashian… who cares? Chances are you’ll get to see her big butt somehow anyway, whether you want to or not. You don’t have to follow her to get that non-privilege! 😉
What are your thoughts? What is your experience?
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