Tag Archives: social media

On Twitter and Being “Popular”

21 Apr

I love social media.  No, really.  It’s connected me to amazing people, provided incredible opportunities, and has allowed me not only to stay in touch with friends and family from my past but also to make new ones.  It was through twitter that I found my online tribe of #ppdchat mamas – women who have been through an identical hell and teach me daily to value myself and my journey.  Because of Postpartum Progress, I found my perinatal psychiatrist, Dr. Marlene Freeman at MGH.  She was absolutely essential to the diagnosis and treatment of my antenatal depression during my pregnancy with No2.  And now, I find myself on the other side of the coin, helping other new moms navigate a frightening period in their lives that I promise they will look back on one day in memory instead of agony.

But all this social media?  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogging?  Has its dark side.

Twitter Profile

See, when you tweet something, whether it’s a “good morning” to a friend you know is drinking her coffee on the other side of the world at the same time, or a link to a selfie taken because of a good hair day, you put it out there for everyone to see.  It’s a bit different from calling up a friend for a chat, because when the tweet or status is public, you are also advertising your conversation.  And that is how people end up feeling left out.

I like to think of twitter as a big cocktail party.  I take the elevator up to a large terrace, the doors open, and there are hundreds of people having interesting conversations.  All the interesting people, all these conversations, are served up for my choosing like a menu at a restaurant.  All it takes is a well placed #buttingin hashtag or a quick “hello, everyone” to announce your presence and you’re in. At least that’s how it used to be.

Twitter QuoteFolk who have been on the twitters for the past 2 years will also tell you it’s changed.  People who are following social media “rules” (created to increase traffic and readership) are less concerned with just having conversations.  So now, many of the interesting people I follow are taciturn, leaving me to look like that girl you know who never stops talking.  I genuinely don’t have a problem with how people use social media.  It’s perfectly okay to feel that following the “rules” is in your best interest.  But like my friend A’Driane says, “It’s just not authentic to who I am.”

Anyway.  When you enter into a twitter or facebook conversation that the rest of your followers can see, you unintentionally do several things:  You open up the conversation to others who might want to jump in.  You namedrop, as everyone can see who you are talking to.  And you make it obvious to others that you are not talking to them.

There is only so much time in the day, and I only want to spend a small percentage of it online.  So I do tend to focus that time on the women I already know.  I think it’s only natural to find your tribe and interact mainly with them.  But I found that tribe and met these women because they opened up their group to me and welcomed me with open arms.  I admire bloggers who excel at this.  Galit Breen is one of the best.  Though “popular,” she always returns comments with a genuine response, and strives to leave no one out.  I honestly don’t know how she does it all and still has time for her family and to write, but she’s inspiring.

Which brings me to the dreaded word.  Popular.  I was the queen of awkward middle schoolers.  I was a band geek in high school.  And college.  And I still struggle in social situations.  I always feel so… awkward.  So to hear myself described as “popular” was at first laughable.  Then after reading a few posts and twitter conversations, I realized that because I had become close with a few women who started blogging around the same time I did, and because some of us roomed together at BlogHer in 2012, I had unintentionally become part of an “in crowd.”  And I felt terrible.  I suddenly understood that to some of the newer bloggers out there, our group appeared as a closed-off huddle, with no room for outsiders.

Finding people like you and forming communities is a normal, natural part of the human experience. So I don’t feel guilty.  But I do feel regret.  It was never my intention to leave anyone out.  Truly.

So.  Please know that in the social media world?  My huddle always has room for more.  Just like in preschool, we will join hands, all take a step back, and make the circle bigger for new voices and stories.  You just gotta ask.  And if you’re only interested in using social media to create elite communities? I want no part of it.  You’ve been warned.

A Week-Long Wedding Celebration

4 Mar

My dear A’Driane,

It seems like yesterday we met in a PPDChat Facebook chat.  I had no idea at the time how close we would become or how many powerful experiences we would share.  I’ll leave what was said privately in that group, but I am blown away by how different your life is from that day.

You and I are cut from the same awkward, dysfunctional, wholehearted, beautiful cloth.  And though our backgrounds and life experiences couldn’t be more different, our vulnerabilities have brought us together. From you, I have learned how to open myself up to new experiences (and hair colors).  I have marveled at how social media can foster deep friendships.  And I’m amazed at how honest and true you are to yourself and your friends.  You inspire me.

I know that this wedding is more than a union of two people for you – it’s the start of a whole new life.  A life of your choosing – one of intention and truly living.  And so your friends wanted to do something special to celebrate this new beginning.   All week, we will be writing and posting in your honor.

Because we love you.  And our lives are better because you are in them.

Congratulations, my friend.

My love, always.

Susan

Add your link below! Addye would love to hear from you!

EDIT: Adding in a video full of love from the amazing @leerion!  And a HUGE thanks to Lauren Hale @unxpctdblessing for the beautiful graphic.  Feel free to grab it if you’re linking up!

youtu.be/zevRURKh93Q



On Fakebook and Keepin’ It Real

28 Feb

A Mama’s Comfort Camp member shared this link to a post about how fake everyone is on FaceBook and I found myself both nodding my head and laughing as I read about the author’s chaotic and familiar Saturday.  Then I started wondering if I’m guilty of FakeBooking (thanks to @ErinMargolin of @gaydadproject for the perfect word for it).  After all, in my header photo, everyone looks happy and the background is picturesque (never mind that it still says “Happy Holidays”).

FB Header

And in my new profile picture, I have makeup on and my hair curled.  Both of these things are rare and not at all representative of my everyday life.  This is more like it:

Keepin' it real.

And yet I don’t really want this as my profile pic.  So does that mean I’m faking it?

Hmmmm…  I tend to share the bad along with the good – pictures of my dishes in the sink and trashed house.  Status updates about teething and the crummy weather.  Posts about mental illness.  I like to think I’m pretty honest about what my life is like.

I’m truly not trying to impress anyone.  Photos capturing beautiful moments and positive updates?  Are just me trying to be grateful for the bits of happiness and tranquility that punctuate the chaos of life with two small children.  My Pintrest boards?  Wishful thinking.  And any bit of cohesive writing is pieced together in stolen moments between snacktime and diaper changes.

So let’s give everyone the benefit of the doubt.  Let’s celebrate the beautiful pictures and let our friends enjoy their moments of beauty and success.  Let’s assume that they aren’t always as put together as they are in their profile pictures and be glad they’re not sharing photos of themselves sleep deprived with a giant chin zit (which they cleverly hide behind a coffee cup).  But let’s also make them feel comfortable to keep it real.   After all, if social media is going to be how we keep in touch in these digital days, let’s make it count.

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