January 29, 2013

Why I Think Social Media is Cathartic, and Even Gives Me Hope for Humanity

I have come to the conclusion that my interactions on social media are very helpful to my mental and emotional states.

Yes yes, I know that online interactions can also be quite frustrating or annoying. I hear a lot of complaints about things said on Facebook. I have had my own complaints about that particular platform.

Those of us who use Twitter regularly seem to prefer it for its feel of realness; we feel like we can be our true selves when we tweet. I think this is due to the fact that Twitter is used predominantly by those my age and younger, therefor our parents and in-laws aren't hovering over our 140 characters. Also, we tend to follow and be followed by people we know we have something in common with, not family or long lost high school classmates we may not actually like very much, as is the case on Facebook.

So why do I think social media is good for my mental state, in spite of any annoyances therein?

In one word: Validation.

In more words: Twitter and Facebook are places I can go to share, play or vent, and most of the time when I do, I get some kind of interaction back. Even if I'm completely ignored, I still got to get something off my mind, heart or gut, which can help me let go of it.

Think about it. If you're a Twitter user, don't you just love it when you send out some tweet and get responses back? Perhaps it sparks an entire convo and you now have a new connection with someone. Sometimes you get virtual (((HUGS))), and that feels nice. Then someone says, "Me too!" and you don't feel alone.

Social media give me hope for humanity because I see people making other people feel better about their asshole boss, jerk spouse and their kid's temper tantrum left and right. I think that's pretty cool.

I posted a very angry status on Facebook recently:
The most ludicrous thing I could ever hear.....even more ridiculous than any stupid political statement or ignorance....would be to say that my husband, my Mark, is having a pitty party. Anyone who ever says or thinks that can go fuck themselves.
I felt like I needed to say that. What I got back in comments was that people understood why I was angry. People were ticked off with me. From that I felt justified in my gut reaction, that I had a right to be angry.

I've said it before, the one thing we all have in common is a need to be heard and validated. That's not an original thought.

I am not trying to exalt something that can be pithy, trite, petty and even ridiculous at times. I know there are a whole slew of people who just don't get it. It can suck up way too much of our time -- it's highly distracting -- and can indeed cause problems where there weren't any, before your knee jerked and you posted something without thinking. Believe me, I know this.
But I'm here to say that social media has its benefits, and they are why I use it. I love it for its ability to keep me in touch with people I wouldn't otherwise stay in contact with. I love that I get to "meet" lots of other people all over the world that I NEVER would have known without it, and learn so much from them. I love that I can say shit I often have no context to say to anyone in the room with me. And, last but not least, I love social media, including blogging, because it is the epitome of free speech, giving each and every last one of us a voice if we want one.

Do I love everything I see out there on the Interwebs? No. Do I love that it's there? Yes.

I shall leave you with some "Social Media Rights" I came up with awhile ago, because I'm still patting myself on the back for them!

How do you feel about social media?

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