‘Don’t like what I’m saying on social media? Just keep scrolling’

Oct 31, 2020
Fran discusses the benefits and pitfalls of social media. Source: Getty

Social media is such a wonderful thing. I have twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. Of course there are more wondrous things these days, but I don’t need anything else. So many people use these accounts for so many things. Yet so many people abuse the privilege we have now, of a social media world that can keep you informed, let you stay in touch and let you know the latest trends, what’s happening millions of miles away or just next door.

I am a single female, with few close relatives or friends. Social media keeps me connected and helps me find new friends. Social media helps me feel a lot less isolated and alone. I talk to social media as though it was my mate at times.

I vent when someone like an American president or an Australian prime minister is being an arse and I am not afraid to differ in opinion from others. It’s okay to have different opinions, as long as you are not pulling people apart, being nasty or down right rude to others.

This is where social media gets tricky. People like me use it for most things, because we see it as something that helps us. Others disagree. Recently when the daughter of a prominent Australian woman passed away, she was pulled to pieces by some who thought she should not use social media to express how she felt. I felt so sorry for her. Who are we to judge? If it was easier for her, if it made her feel better, it is her social media page. It is her daughter, it is her right.

Recently my mother passed away. We had not been close for a few years. I loved her more than anyone on the planet but our relationship was not ever smooth sailing. My heart broke into tiny pieces when she died. I had nobody to tell how I felt, so I put a small piece on social media about our relationship. I was immediately ostracised by the most important family member in my life. She disagreed with me, so it must be wrong. She accused me of needing attention. Less than two days after my mother died, my family member cut me dead on R U Ok Day. I was shattered.

Many times on social media, someone will disagree with you, but that’s okay. We don’t need everyone to be the same, but I don’t think social media was invented for us all to be robots. We never know how people are feeling. We don’t know who might be like me and use social media for personal reasons, which stops me from going insane at times. We don’t know who uses it to stay in touch. We do know those who are so fond of pulling others apart because we do use it to help us, should stop and think before they say something that could crush a person, break their heart, or worse, their spirit.

I will continue to use Facebook to chat, to look at photos of exotic far away places and to stop me going mad when my little dog doesn’t answer me. I will send my grandson a message every now and then on Hangouts because I can. Let’s face it, without social media, you most likely would not be reading this now. Without it, we could not brag about our grandchildren or call out the PM for forgetting that he too will age. Without social media I would not have found many more kind considerate people than mean nasty human beings in this country. Without social media, I would very rarely get to see what a wonderful world this can sometimes truly be.

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