It didn’t really. A Social Media website did not give me CPR, it did not hold my hand with a monkey grip whilst I climb back up a cliff face, and it didn’t perform open heart surgery on me. But do you know what it did do? It provided me with a means to connect with people on many levels, through many forums and fans pages, posting cute photographs of my children and getting positive comments in return, and it provided me with another avenue in which to ask for help.
When my mother died in 2009 I poured my heart out on Facebook and got a lot of e-hugs in return. No they’re not going to replace my mum, or give me constant reassurance when I am missing her deeply, but I know that, just by reading what my Facebook community is writing on their walls, I am not in this alone, and sometimes, as REM sang, everybody hurts.
And sometimes that is all you need. You just need to know that although you are one in seven billion people on this earth, you are not alone, and you are not the only person going through a crisis, feeling down, feeling sick or feeling frustrated.
When I was really sick back in June 2012, I felt like I was letting the side down. I couldn’t get out of bed. Here we were with a child just short of his first birthday, another not yet turned four and my wife looking after them both and trying to look after me as well. The washing got out of hand, the meals became more than a chore, and trying to clean up after the boys was difficult to say the least. And this is where we turned to Facebook.
We got some fabulous ideas on how to cope, who to turn to and what to do. Little by little I got on the road to recovery (it was only Man Flu, but that can knock you out some, right boys?) and things eventually returned back to normal, but it was good to get the external support and ideas from our Facebook community.
Right now, I follow a couple of Facebook groups that are linked to blog sites aimed at giving advice for parents of babies and toddlers. I have asked some questions, I have answered some questions. I have joined in on heated debates, I have fought the good fight to get my point across and I have backed down and changed my way of thinking when given a different way to look at a situation.
All of this I am trying to use to make me a better person, raise my boys to be better men, and to have a family life that is not quite picture book, but happy enough to see us through to our reclining years. I’m sorry if you are mildly disappointed that I lured you in with a story about having my life saved by Facebook, but sometimes you have to grab someone’s attention. And when you are asking for help on Facebook, that is exactly what you hope to do…
How do you use social media to enrich your life?