Do We Feel Too Much…?

Occasionally, I wonder if having an active social life- one which includes real life friends and family, blogging and bloggers, Facebook, Twitter, forums and all the others- is entirely healthy.

Before you drag me out and pelt me to death with your smartphones, hear me out.

I know I personally bounce from one emotion to another a lot more often in a day than someone who doesn’t use any form of social media! Let’s say for example I wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Five years ago I probably would have stayed in that mood all day. Now, I check in on Twitter and Facebook and I read some blog posts, and within the space of an hour I have laughed at jokes, commiserated with someone’s loss, felt heartache, disappointment, excitement, irritation, marvelled at a miracle, got annoyed with shocking spelling and grammar, gone back to feeling a little down (and posting about it somewhere), and then feeling better because I got it off my chest and a whole lot of people told me they think I’m awesome.

With a “normal” social circle in the days before Twitter-blogging-forums-Facebook et-al, your close friends would be a handful of people, and if you were lucky you could include your family. These would be the ones with whom you shared various aspects of your life, to varying degrees. These were the friends you invited to birthday parties and special celebrations. These friends were the ones you called if you had news you had to share.

Announcements of things like engagements, pregnancies, birth, death, divorce and the like didn’t happen every day, and if something big happened- someone having a baby, a couple splitting up, the loss of a parent or someone losing a child- you had ample time to process it emotionally before the next proclamation, in theory of course. And these announcements could be shared personally and intimately. You didn’t have to include a disclaimer when you spoke to someone to please not post it on any social media spaces until you’d had a chance to share your news yourself. There was no chance of finding out someone you loved had died, via a Facebook update.

And on the other side of the coin, you also had no idea just how much you were actually not included in or not invited to.

And I’m speaking here as an adult and to adults. The effect of social media on children and teens is a whole ‘nother kettle of bananas.

With my social circle now HUGELY expanded since I fell into the internet I still have the friends I had before- and I have many many more friends. Not just friends in terms of reading their blogs and their Twitter feeds and getting to know them that way. I’m talking about real friends in terms of knowing them outside of my computer. And a lot of these new friends I would never have had the opportunity to meet in real life and I think that’s fantastic. I now have people I count as real friends from different countries, different race groups and different cultures and without the internet I would never have known them.

In the days before smartphones, no one would have known I’d woken up on the wrong side of the bed. No one would have known just how many times I butt heads with my knucklehead or how many cupcakes I bake. No one would have known just how wonderful my husband is. Losing my Taxi cat recently is a good example. I would have texted my mom and my sisters, and they would have been sad with me, but even if I had told more of my real life friends than I did, few of them “got” how sad I was and how much I miss him.

Now thanks to blogging and social media I can put something on Twitter or Facebook about how I woke up on the wrong side of the bed and not only will I get 10 messages back in commiseration, I will get 20 from people who are jealous that I slept that late, 7 from people still in their beds, and 2 from people who don’t have beds.

I know that social media in all its forms keeps me very firmly grounded and very aware of just how blessed I am. I love how social media allows me to be the centre of attention sometimes. I have become far more aware of real life issues and causes than I used to be. To my mind, social media has done more to break down the invisible barriers between races and cultures than politics will ever do.

It is awesome.

It is powerful.

It can empower you and make you feel like you actually have a voice on this overcrowded planet.

But I also believe that emotional overload is one of the main reasons people take extended “leave” of blogging, Facebook or Twitter, before they feel they’ll have to take leave of their senses!

…come play on my roller coaster

12 thoughts on “Do We Feel Too Much…?

  1. You might be right about this Angel. I sometimes feel like I really just need some alone time from all the news…then I just switch my laptop off and take it. If someone is constantly bummed out and only ever spreads bad news I stop following their updates – it spoils my buzz. 😉
    Louisa recently posted…2nd Cup – why thank you- I think I willMy Profile

  2. Hear hear! It if weren’t for the Internet, I wouldn’t have met *you*!

    Personally I don’t think I can take a leave of absence, I’m way too addicted and love the attention too much, but I can lurk sometimes and that’s good too 🙂
    acidicice recently posted…TeethingMy Profile

  3. Awesome awesome post. You say it so well. I don’t know how I would have coped without the online support that I have received with my son’s ADHD. I do feel the ups and downs too but somehow I know just when to switch off. And like Ani, I would rather feel too much than too little or nothing at all.
    LOVED this post.x
    Julia recently posted…Some Life Lessons I learnt from Mothers DayMy Profile

  4. Completely love what you wrote here.
    I am only a richer and better person because of all the people I’ve met online, and the friendships that have been created as a result.
    Jenty recently posted…Two twinsMy Profile

  5. Awwwwwww social media <3 You've summed up my feelings EXACTLY, Angelpie. You and I have been friends for years because of this amazing medium, and hell, it's been a bit of a rollercoaster ride – so much has changed!

    I also feel the up's and the down's though. For instance, yesterday I went online to wish my friends a happy mothers day, and reading about how some people were spoiled rotten, or forgotten about, or were missing their late mothers, made me every so grateful to have my own mom still around. And it made me a little sad about how I'm not a mother myself anymore.

    Social media definitely is an emotional place, but a place I could never live without.
    SheBee recently posted…Protected- Not happy things…My Profile

  6. love this post! i am ambivalent sometimes about social media and i’ll go for days without tweeting or fb’ing and for weeks without updating my blog, but i also love it for so many of the reasons you mention.
    and of course, i love that we have gotten to know each other IRL exactly because of social media, whereas we probably never would have met otherwise! i still remember that first time we met at cafe sophia and you’d just had your hair blown out – *now* i know how unusual that is, though seeing you for the first time, i had no idea! 🙂 i’m so glad that i have gotten to know you angel. xxx
    cybersass recently posted…namasteMy Profile

  7. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I can so easily be affected by other people’s moods and feelings that I do often get sucked into other people’s drama. Like I dont have enough of my own. 😉

    Having been online for quite a few years and active on various online forums, you do learn how to not take the internet too seriously and when to “switch off” .

    With the advent of social media “in our pockets”, it’s becoming harder and harder to just switch it off. Part of adapting to this new media is learning these new social skills.

    But still… I would rather feel too much than not feel anything. I love my online friends and most have become real life friends. Wouldn’t give that up for anything in the world.
    Just know that it’s ok to have some time off that’s just for you. The internet will understand. 🙂

  8. Oh I so get this post. Love love love it.

    You might have noticed (or not) that I’m not blogging much, or tweeting much for the last couple of months at least and it’s for all the reasons you mentioned. We’ve met, and you ARE awesome and outgoing and I’m so happy that I know you.

    Sometimes though, I wish I just stayed anonymous. It’s hard for me to let people in – I’m better at one-on-one- and to make friends I feel I can call on a bad or good day and I feel that even though I’ve met quite a few people I consider online friends I haven’t really “connected” with them IRL. I sound like a drama queen but it causes me anxiety. For reals.

    The other reason is that I’m in a weird place in my life and I don’t much want that to spill over onto the internet.

    Having said that I wouldn’t ever completely give any of it up because in spite of the bad parts of having a presence online, there are so many good things too. I find that sometimes “IRL” people often just wait for you to stop talking so they can talk. Whereas online I can say something, without being interrupted or made to feel like what I’ve said is insignificant. Instead, I people talk WITH me and share their opinions without discounting what I said.
    sleepyjane recently posted…I need a sawed off shotgun and some rock salt- just in caseMy Profile

  9. I do feel the same as you. There is so much support out there on the social networks, blogs and Twitter which so help emotionally. I also do agree that it can get too much (emotional overload) and I think that is why I mostly try to just log on, once a day over the weekends.
    I also do feel that one can get emotional when seen that one have not been invited to something like an event – low down of social networks but on the other hand, that’s life.
    blackhuff recently posted…Addicted to foodMy Profile

  10. Oh I so get you. Were it not for social media, I would not know you. Case in point.

    And I love that I can express myself online…I love that I am never left feeling alone on the bad days, and that someone is celebrating with me on the good ones, even though they may be miles away.

    Sometimes, though, I do not want to shut up and shut down. And I do. But, every day, I am thankful for it.
    Cath recently posted…Mother’s DayMy Profile

  11. The whole social networking platform for me is just awesome. I take so long to warm up to people that getting to know them via Twitter/blogs/Facebook/whatever often cements the friendship better than if someone tried to be friends IRL and I stayed my aloof self for months.

    What you said about the emotional overload is why I needed to take down my Facebook account. There was just way too much drama, not with me but between friends that inevitably I got dragged into because I knew both parties and could follow the fight online. Also why I keep the number of people I follow on Twitter down to a minimum. If I’m following you, I think you’re just fantastic.
    alidaonline recently posted…This is the best I can hope for todayMy Profile

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