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Social Media Addicts (not so) Anonymous

1
My name is Michelle and I’m a social media addict…

I love social media. It’s no secret and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Over the years, social media has become my friend, my confidante, my supporter. It’s given me adult company when I’ve had a day full of screaming children; it’s offered me advice when I didn’t know where to turn; it’s provided me with work, self worth and financial independence; and, most importantly, it’s given me a sense of belonging and community. (It’s also given me videos where a grown woman unwraps

SelfishMother.com
2
princess toys and My Little Ponies and plays with them and, of course, provided all important CBeebies updates.) For me, over the past few years, social media has felt like a real life saver.

Social Media is still a relatively new phenomenon and we are constantly working out how to use it positively and safely. Social media platforms are growing in number, variety and capacity every day. This should be a good thing, bringing an increase in the volume and diversity of our connections and communication. But, it’s not all positive…

We know the

SelfishMother.com
3
pitfalls of posting on social media. We are regularly reminded of personal accountability for our words and images. We’ve been cautioned about the unknown, long term impact of using images and stories of our children. New GDPR legislation has brought mass sensitivity, attention and even some neurosis to ownership of information. We have experienced vulnerability and confusion when our writing is mistaken or taken out of context. (The Unmumsy Mum caused a stir this week by posting about her school mum chums last week!) We’ve all heard of “trolls”
SelfishMother.com
4
and “keyboard warriors”. We have seen real life examples and high profile individuals personally attacked online. We’ve been heartbroken by tales of cyber bullying. And it’s become necessary to have increasingly strict laws to ensure our safety online.

I’ve always been very careful about what I post online. My words mean a lot to me so I consider them carefully, both in person and in writing, regardless of whether on paper or pc (or iPhone). I never write or share anything I wouldn’t in “real life”. Of course, I’ve made mistakes (who

SelfishMother.com
5
hasn’t?) and I’ve worked hard to rectify them and to ensure they don’t happen again.

However, over the last year or so, there have been times that social media hasn’t felt like my much loved BFF after all. There have been times my posts and comments have been completely ignored, sometimes no replies, sometimes mine left in favour of others’. There have been times my posts have made people cringe (and they have had no issues telling me so!). People have contacted me to tell me my writing makes them feel uncomfortable and I should remove

SelfishMother.com
6
certain information or entire posts. It’s been suggested social media is not for me (and, at my lower times, I’ve wondered if this is true). I have been called unkind and patronising. I’ve been told my posts are being stored as “evidence” (I’m not entirely sure what of… maybe of being a normal, struggling Mummy?). I’ve been “trolled” by someone who actively sought me out after seeing something I’d written elsewhere online. (I’ve made it, right? It was over a special birthday treat Chippie dinner and the worst customer service
SelfishMother.com
7
ever. It-they-got REALLY personal and quite vicious about me and my kids. Before deleting themselves and their almost non existent profile.) Something I wrote for a friend in need was anonymously reported to my old employer and was investigated as a “data breach” and I was summoned to HQ. (It wasn’t upheld but felt bloody scary all the same.) I have even been reminded “everyone” is watching me (errr… yeah! That’s kinda what public social media is about!). Sometimes, it’s felt VERY personal… So, you see, plenty of times that social media
SelfishMother.com
8
(the bitch!) has stabbed me right in the back…

But is social media really the problem? Despite our fall out and all of the above, I suspect not. Social media gives wider, more diverse, social and communication opportunities and all the positives that come with those. We “meet” new and different people, we connect more, we read more and learn more, we maintain networks across continents and time zones… But the downside, by design and not entirely it’s fault, is that by taking these opportunities, we are often “socialising” with those who

SelfishMother.com
9
are not actually our friends, who don’t share our beliefs or values, who think and behave in different ways. For good and for bad. We are exposing ourselves to those who we would never really encounter in our “real lives”, or, if we did, we’d probably walk the opposite direction. With social media, we can’t walk away. (We can switch off or delete but by then, the damage is often already done.)

Much as in real life, the main problem with social media is people. People who have a different take on life, a different (often less positive or

SelfishMother.com
10
pleasant) agenda to fulfil, sometimes even just people having a bad day. People come to every situation in life with their own baggage, their own experiences and opinions, their own preconceived ideas of those situations or the situation around them. We can’t stop them, we can’t change them, but we can protect ourselves. We can stay true to ourselves and not let others make us question ourselves. We don’t always have to explain or defend our actions (we know why we say and do things-usually with the best of intentions). We can remember that when we
SelfishMother.com
11
have the best of intentions, we are NOT the problem, and, despite all the damage they attempt to do, these people are the minority and out there, is a bigger, wonderful world of online supporters who have our backs.

It may sound crazy, but despite all the upset in recent months, I can honestly say that I still love social media and we are firm friends forever. Writing has had a huge positive impact on my mental and emotional wellbeing, it’s fostered connections which have boosted my self worth and I know my writing, here and on social media forums,

SelfishMother.com
12
has helped others when they needed it most. Those outcomes are more positive and powerful than any hurt caused to me directly or indirectly. And it’s why I will keep writing for as long as I can.
SelfishMother.com
Michelle Appleby

By

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- 18 Aug 18

My name is Michelle and I’m a social media addict…

I love social media. It’s no secret and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Over the years, social media has become my friend, my confidante, my supporter. It’s given me adult company when I’ve had a day full of screaming children; it’s offered me advice when I didn’t know where to turn; it’s provided me with work, self worth and financial independence; and, most importantly, it’s given me a sense of belonging and community. (It’s also given me videos where a grown woman unwraps princess toys and My Little Ponies and plays with them and, of course, provided all important CBeebies updates.) For me, over the past few years, social media has felt like a real life saver.

Social Media is still a relatively new phenomenon and we are constantly working out how to use it positively and safely. Social media platforms are growing in number, variety and capacity every day. This should be a good thing, bringing an increase in the volume and diversity of our connections and communication. But, it’s not all positive…

We know the pitfalls of posting on social media. We are regularly reminded of personal accountability for our words and images. We’ve been cautioned about the unknown, long term impact of using images and stories of our children. New GDPR legislation has brought mass sensitivity, attention and even some neurosis to ownership of information. We have experienced vulnerability and confusion when our writing is mistaken or taken out of context. (The Unmumsy Mum caused a stir this week by posting about her school mum chums last week!) We’ve all heard of “trolls” and “keyboard warriors”. We have seen real life examples and high profile individuals personally attacked online. We’ve been heartbroken by tales of cyber bullying. And it’s become necessary to have increasingly strict laws to ensure our safety online.

I’ve always been very careful about what I post online. My words mean a lot to me so I consider them carefully, both in person and in writing, regardless of whether on paper or pc (or iPhone). I never write or share anything I wouldn’t in “real life”. Of course, I’ve made mistakes (who hasn’t?) and I’ve worked hard to rectify them and to ensure they don’t happen again.

However, over the last year or so, there have been times that social media hasn’t felt like my much loved BFF after all. There have been times my posts and comments have been completely ignored, sometimes no replies, sometimes mine left in favour of others’. There have been times my posts have made people cringe (and they have had no issues telling me so!). People have contacted me to tell me my writing makes them feel uncomfortable and I should remove certain information or entire posts. It’s been suggested social media is not for me (and, at my lower times, I’ve wondered if this is true). I have been called unkind and patronising. I’ve been told my posts are being stored as “evidence” (I’m not entirely sure what of… maybe of being a normal, struggling Mummy?). I’ve been “trolled” by someone who actively sought me out after seeing something I’d written elsewhere online. (I’ve made it, right? It was over a special birthday treat Chippie dinner and the worst customer service ever. It-they-got REALLY personal and quite vicious about me and my kids. Before deleting themselves and their almost non existent profile.) Something I wrote for a friend in need was anonymously reported to my old employer and was investigated as a “data breach” and I was summoned to HQ. (It wasn’t upheld but felt bloody scary all the same.) I have even been reminded “everyone” is watching me (errr… yeah! That’s kinda what public social media is about!). Sometimes, it’s felt VERY personal… So, you see, plenty of times that social media (the bitch!) has stabbed me right in the back…

But is social media really the problem? Despite our fall out and all of the above, I suspect not. Social media gives wider, more diverse, social and communication opportunities and all the positives that come with those. We “meet” new and different people, we connect more, we read more and learn more, we maintain networks across continents and time zones… But the downside, by design and not entirely it’s fault, is that by taking these opportunities, we are often “socialising” with those who are not actually our friends, who don’t share our beliefs or values, who think and behave in different ways. For good and for bad. We are exposing ourselves to those who we would never really encounter in our “real lives”, or, if we did, we’d probably walk the opposite direction. With social media, we can’t walk away. (We can switch off or delete but by then, the damage is often already done.)

Much as in real life, the main problem with social media is people. People who have a different take on life, a different (often less positive or pleasant) agenda to fulfil, sometimes even just people having a bad day. People come to every situation in life with their own baggage, their own experiences and opinions, their own preconceived ideas of those situations or the situation around them. We can’t stop them, we can’t change them, but we can protect ourselves. We can stay true to ourselves and not let others make us question ourselves. We don’t always have to explain or defend our actions (we know why we say and do things-usually with the best of intentions). We can remember that when we have the best of intentions, we are NOT the problem, and, despite all the damage they attempt to do, these people are the minority and out there, is a bigger, wonderful world of online supporters who have our backs.

It may sound crazy, but despite all the upset in recent months, I can honestly say that I still love social media and we are firm friends forever. Writing has had a huge positive impact on my mental and emotional wellbeing, it’s fostered connections which have boosted my self worth and I know my writing, here and on social media forums, has helped others when they needed it most. Those outcomes are more positive and powerful than any hurt caused to me directly or indirectly. And it’s why I will keep writing for as long as I can.

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Michelle Appleby

I’m a mum, a wife, a teacher and, above all else, a human. A human who has struggled to feel “good enough” most of her life but is slowly getting it right for herself, writing about life’s lessons along the way. (I’m defjnitely NOT a blogger type, whatever they are: I just like writing therapeutically.) **all views are MY OWN and not affiliated with any organisation or professional body**

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