Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week. The time has rolled around for the second instalment of The Sunday Series! If you missed the first one which was about navigating adult friendships with The Im Life, you can view that here. The topic of choice today is social media, and this is in collaboration with Shannen from www.shannenclaire.co.uk.
“Social media can either feel like a safe space, or somewhere that is discouraging and maybe even intimidating. But social media should be a place in which we feel comfortable, free to be ourselves, and special. It should be somewhere where we can celebrate individuality, and build a supportive community. Despite the negative aspects of social media, there are many positives. We should see the good in utilising it as a platform to share our passions and who we are.
Let’s celebrate our differences and uplift each other, encouraging one another to achieve our goals”.
- What was one of the first things to happen to you to make you realise the internet isn’t all bad?
“One of the first things that made me realise the internet isn’t all bad was starting a blog and joining the blogging community on Twitter. I realised that people are actually genuinely interested in what I have to say, and that encouraged me to take my blog more seriously and to put myself and my writing out there”.
2. Do you think online friendships can be “safer” than offline friendships?
“At first, I had this idea in my head that it was bad to make friends online; that it was dangerous. Of course, it isn’t safe for young kids to be making online friends because of stranger danger, but as an adult you are more aware of who is likely to be a genuine, real person, and what is likely to be a fake account. Twitter showed me that there are genuine people online, who just want to share their thoughts and create content, without bad intentions. Through meeting other bloggers, I realised that it was, firstly, possible to build friendships online and, secondly, that these were friends I could speak to often and support, just like offline friends.
I think that online friendships are built on similarities in the same way that offline friendships are built. While friendships are strengthened by time spent together, I think that online interaction can also strengthen friendships. In a sense, I think that online friendships can be “safer” because you can be completely yourself online. Offline, someone might feel like they have to act a certain way around people they don’t know very well, or might be quieter because they feel nervous and anxious around large groups (like me). But online, you can be part of a community and be part of conversations on blogs and social media without having to feel nervous. You can speak to groups of people without being face-to-face. I feel the same loyalty to my online friends as I do to my offline friends – and I’d love to meet my online friends someday (like you Emily)!”
3. What has improved in your offline life as a result of your online life?
“I am so much more confident than I used to be. I used to struggle talking to people I’d never met before, and was very self-conscious about how I look and about how others see me. But as a result of my online life I don’t feel as self-conscious anymore, and most of the time I couldn’t care less about what people think. Instagram and Twitter are powerful spaces for individuality to shine, and being online has taught me that it’s okay to do your own thing and not to be like everybody else. It’s more fun to be yourself and to be proud of your uniqueness of talent, style and interest. I’ve learned that by putting your true self out there, it’s easier to meet like-minded people and to form friendships. I feel more confident making friends in my offline life as a result of my online life”.
4. If you had to positively describe social media in one word, what would you say?
“If I had to positively describe social media in one word, I would describe it as powerful. Social media can be very powerful as it is a space to discuss important topics, raise awareness and to use your voice. While there are some negative and discouraging people on social media, there is plenty of kindness and encouragement to go around. By sharing compassion, acceptance and friendship we can lift each other up and social media can help those who are lost to find a place where they are welcomed and loved. I think that this is what social media should be: a safe and positive space for people of all walks of life from all over the world to connect and share their passions, interests and experiences. I think that bloggers play a very important role in ensuring that issues are discussed, and positivity is shared”.
5. If you could create your own social media movement/campaign – what would it be about?
“If I could create my own social media movement/campaign, it would be able spreading positivity and encouraging individuals to share their stories and passions. I would want to create a movement that helps makes social media a safe space for people to share their experiences and to feel supported and accepted. Every week I would invite a blogger to share about their online/offline journey, and to discuss positive things they have experienced that week on social media. Hopefully this would enable others to see the good things about Instagram, Twitter and other social platforms.
I’ve really enjoyed being a part of your Sunday Series and I hope my answers start a discussion that we can continue in the comments : )”.
So much of what Shannen said I can relate too. Years ago when I was much younger – social media seemed like a dangerous and scary place. However, times have changed and the popularity of social media and online relationships means that we can see for ourselves it’s not all bad. It was really refreshing to take some time to view social media from a completely different angle, rather than slating it. Social media is a safe space for many people, and I hope this post has helped you to see it that way too.
Thank you so much to Shannen for taking part, it’s been a pleasure! If you’d like to take a read of some of Shannen’s post, you can take a look here.
Until next time my friends,