The Social Media micro bubble
Most of us are old enough to remember the most ancient of social media sites. Looking at MySpace in my early twenties thinking it was the best thing since sliced bread that I could share music and words on there. With the birth of Facebook, we all emigrated over giving us status updates so we could tell the world (commonly known as our friends list) that we were cooking tea, or even watching a film with a glass of wine.
In 2018 there are reportedly 205 commonly used networking sites out there used by a third of our population with around three new social networking sites being birthed daily. Social networking has become big business because of our demand for it.
And then came Twitter
A real-time site that actually allows you to network successfully with the rest of the world in a 140 characters. I’ve been on Twitter since 2009, rather slow on the uptake for a technology junkie. Twitter was vastly different to any other networking site at the time of its evolution in the fact that you could actually have a conversation with someone who wasn’t sitting in front of you. It also allowed people to access news from the big hitters like the BBC, CNN and Fox straight away.
A great tool for media, journalists, writers and artists alike.
I’m a Twitter bystander I like to read timelines, I don’t tweet that much myself any more, but I enjoy supporting people who I’ve met on Twitter grow and be read by new readers. Twitter is a bit too much like school for my liking. You have your popular kids-people who are on there a lot of the time and tweet funny/interesting stuff.
You have your indie kids-the ones who tweet what they like when they like and don’t mind much about the reactions of the general public to their micro-blogs, the cliques, I’m very happy with mine as they’re a lovely supportive bunch, but you also have the sensitives. It’s a microcosm of today’s society, which means that you have both the good and the bad on there in all their retrospective glory.
Twitter can be a fun and enjoyable past-time, but sometimes it can be taken too far. I’ve lost a few friends recently who leave Twitter because it’s seriously affecting their real life happiness. One in particular said to me:
I don’t miss it at all, I’d gone to a state where I wasn’t sleeping, because every time I slept I would lose followers. I felt a sense of responsibility not to let people down, they were following me to read my poems. I also got so paranoid that my boyfriend was flirting on there with people I didn’t know, and I couldn’t help myself but tweet semi-suicidal responses to the way I was feeling. After six months away from Twitter, I’m never going back.
It affected my real life in mid-2009, I became more interested in Tweeting than in my family for a while, as a result of post natal depression and an unhappy marriage, I found more solace in Tweeters I had never met than in my own home.
Lack of sleep further heightened my low self-esteem and pronounced PND, and I found myself driving after 4 hours sleep at 80 miles per hour towards a stone wall.
I sought help.
I missed the social interaction face to face that Twitter wasn’t giving to me. My marriage had come to a natural end by then anyway, and I for one am thankful for Twitter as it provided me a platform to embrace things I had not been able to do whilst I was married, writing is only one example.
It also gave me the confidence boost I needed to set things in motion regarding my career and what I actually *wanted* to do with the rest of my life. I kept the online friends I had made on Twitter, some of whom now have become good off-line friends; and for now, I have achieved a healthy balance.
For some it’s not so easy. Tone is so difficult to judge in tweets, and whilst something you type might look fine and dandy on your side of the screen it can be perceived as vindictive, or rude from another’s perspective. As in life, we are all a myriad of different thought patterns and understanding.
People on Twitter form real-life relationships due to the conversations that they have, and in private messages or DM’s they tend to bear their souls. Believe me it’s easier to type than show and tell some times.
Another aspect that I have come to accept over time is that some people don’t want to be themselves in the online world. Some people are far more comfortable being a persona, and escaping into that persona online. I found a really interesting post on the psychology here.
I’m of the opinion that it’s pretty healthy unless they start to interfere with other people’s real life feelings and actions.
Staying mentally healthy online is something that you need to take control of, the easiest way is to be yourself, and if you tweet something that is off the cuff, be prepared for rebounds. Also to take some relationships and tweets with a hefty pinch of salt, I’m sure most of us would agree that this is something we do in reality too. Mainly, try not to let it take control of your emotions, to sink in too deeply especially if you are vulnerable to begin with, know where to draw the line between real and online before both merge and become one and the same.
Coming back to Social Networking after a baby break has been tough. I find Twitter has changed, I still read, and enjoy a chat, if you fancy saying hello, comment below, or give me a holler @Awdures.
About the author
Mum to 3, journalist, blogger and passionate Welsh girl. Well travelled and powered by caffine