Thursday, 8 May 2014

On Social Media

This morning I woke up at 6.10am, picked up my mobile phone and pressed the short cut icon that connects me to Facebook. How terribly sad of me. How has this happened?

I like Facebook because:

I can upload photos of my children and share them with my family. For example I tagged my sister in pictures of my weekend in Bristol. So she can show them to my Mum. I love the in the moment nature of these kinds of photos, and I love to share them.

I can keep connected to old friends that live all over the world. It means a great deal to me to be able to see how they are and what they are up to. It makes me feel much closer to them.

I love the ridiculous banter that I can have with people who share a common love of Victoria Wood, the 80's, Friends and who get my sense of humour. I love to laugh, and there's not a lot of that around here at the moment.

I love the flippancy of it. I often chuckle to myself at the ridiculous personal statuses I put up. I'm like that. I often laugh at my own jokes.

I can speak to people through the inbox system in real time. In private.

I don't like Facebook because:

It can be used as a place to bully and intimidate people.

I am not too keen on the 'my perfect life' illusion that seems prevalent in all media.

There is a lot of stalking that goes on, when one person quietly watches someone else from the sidelines, flicking through the pages of their life. That's kind of weird. I did it myself once. It felt wrong but it also felt strangely compelling. I never did it again.

It can be used to float an open ended comment that can be harmful or hurtful.

It is easily accessed by young children, who aren't mature enough to engage with social media of this kind.

Equally it can be accessed by adults, who aren't mature enough to engage either.

There are those who would use it for unethical and evil purposes.

I joined Facebook in 2009, in order to connect with old Uni chums. I have 151 friends, and apart from a couple of imaginary characters (a long story), they are all people that I know. I don't go searching for blasts from the past. I couldn't care less what old boyfriends are doing, for example. I do like to look at any photos that people post up. Even those people that I haven't seen for the longest time. I don't think I have ever fired off a bitchy, sarcastic or a 'you know it's directed at you, even though I haven't mentioned you by name' post. I'm more likely to stew in my own head about whatever is bothering me, rather than use Facebook as a place to air my grievance. It's cowardly, and although I am a coward I'm not that sort of coward.

Some of my friends can get very political, and it can get annoying. But I scroll down. They have chosen to use Facebook as a platform to voice their views and opinions, and that's fine by me. I don't have to read it if I don't want to, and I would imagine that's fine by them. I'm sure there are those that scroll past me. I mean not everyone is as fascinated by my three year old as I am. I admit to feeling a little hot under the collar at the 'my perfect life' statuses. But I have also been accused of portraying that right here. I guess we see and read what we want to in that moment.

My eldest son has been on Facebook for about three years. We agreed to him having an account. It was one of those Xbox moments; As a parent you hate them, but you let them have them. And them you moan when they spend all their time on them. I won't let my middle son access Facebook. He is too young. I have had friend requests from children as young as seven. I don't accept their requests. I can't accept what I don't condone. Even as I write that I have remembered that I am friends with my nephew. He is 9. Inconsistent. That's me.

Alfie has a mobile phone, and therefore he can text or talk to anyone he wants to. He also has Internet access. With relevant parental controls. I'm not comfortable with him having a phone. I'm not sure children are responsible enough to use them wisely and appropriately. But I like that I can check in on him when he is out and about. And, you know, everyone has a phone. Everyone. And I bow to peer pressure and oughts and shoulds all the time. Letting him have a phone is one of those times. I'm completely normal, mundane, fallible and obvious in that respect I'm afraid.  The second shot in my foot.

But I digress...

I realise that I am too reliant on Facebook. I spend an awful lot of time on my own, and it has become a way of engaging with the world. A very lazy way. In the same way as it is easier to text than phone. Or email. And when was the last time I wrote a letter? 1993? And so today I am wondering. I am wondering whether I could walk away from it. Could I take myself off Facebook for a whole month? And if I do that should I take myself off every form of social media? I don't use Twitter. I don't have Instagram. I don't use Snap Chat or or anything else. Pinterest was a five minute wonder. But I do have this blog, and it is a social platform of sorts. So if I junk Facebook, do I also junk Today's Stuff? Could I junk it?


So I have returned to this post, after thinking about it. And in about twenty minutes I shall be leaving Facebook for a month. But I'm still unsure about my blog. So I wonder what you who are reading this think about it all? I'm sure you've thought about all of this stuff too. Do you spend too much time on social media? Do you think that my blog belongs in the same category as Facebook and as such should be junked for a month? Have you left Facebook? Did you return?

I would really appreciate your feedback and comments.

Thank you.

Leanne xx


  1. I'm honoured that I'm in this blog - actually think I'm in twice if I'm one of the political ones lol x
    Fair play to you . I will miss you

  2. Hi Leanne. I have a facebook account but never comment on it. i get photos sent from family but apart from that I think its a bit pointless for me. I toy with the idea of stopping blogging but although I do it less frequently I am happy to carry on for now. I guess sometimes these things get in the way of living your 'real life'. Have a lovely week!

  3. Hi Leanne. A lot to think about in this post. I, too click on my Facebook icon when I am in bed, with a coffee, before anyone else wakes up. I don't use FB much now but I do like it for the same reasons as you do, and I dislike it for the same reasons, too. I am more of a status reader and enjoy other people's banter but I guess I am not witty enough to join in. I don't think a blog falls in the same category at all. Yes, it is a social media platform but that's where I think the similarity ends. There is not that immediacy on a blog, you write a post, think about it for a bit, maybe choose some nice photos. You go back to it later if you are not ready to publish, edit a bit here and there. Maybe sometimes you delete a post, or decide not to publish it. You tell a story. You are deeply personal. You are thoughtful. You are funny. You are a teacher. You engage readers. You give readers food for thought. And more. I would be sad not to read your blog for a whole month. I have never met you but I am fond of you and your blog. I hope that this does not sound creepy! I enjoy stopping by and have a giggle, or leave full of thoughts, or become enthusiastic about stuff, or feel reassured that you and many other women are out there, with normal lives, with ups and downs and lulls in between. Because local life can be lonely sometimes. Hope to see you back sooner than later. Christina xx

  4. I was a Facebook member from 2008 onward and I liked it at first. But I slowly grew disenchanted because many of the people I was in touch with had serious problems and the drama was unbearable after awhile. Lots of misrepresentations too, shall we say. And in the end, I need to be careful about being too public on the internet because of my husband's work (he has government security clearances). The funny thing is that I'm less exposed on my blog than I was on FB, in part because I'm not connected to people with certain difficulties in the same way I was on FB. I still have an account, but I've shut it down to most contact and haven't actually logged in since October. I personally prefer blogging and in a way, it helped me transition away from FB. I've always been an avid internet user, having been active on message boards since the early 2000's, and later serving as a moderator for message boards on a major media corporation's website. Little-known fact about me, haha. I loved it, though. It was thrilling to meet people online and one of them is now a friend because we realized we lived in the same neighborhood, of all the people in the world I could have met. Anyway, I love blogging and consuming blogs and connecting with others through blogs. I am much happier doing this. I think you have to decide what it's worth to you. I found that my entire life improved when I walked away from FB. I no longer felt jealous or inadequate because of someone's (possibly fake) posts and I didn't feel as judgmental of others anymore either. I personally think FB has a tendency to bring out the worst in people. Blogs are different to me. You could fake a blog if you really wanted to, but I think it would be harder to keep it going the way some do on FB. I also feel like it's easier to shut off from blogging when you're tired of it. Just don't read any. FB felt like more of a compulsion. I wish I had more advice, this is just my own experience, but I sincerely hope you don't stop blogging, that's all I can say.

  5. ....... There are people, one in particular, who get a nice reassuring reminder of home from your blog. Where your careful choice of words and photos makes home seem a little closer, where your real warm and intelligent personality shows through and reassures. Unlike the immediacy and flippancy of Facebook. I wouldn't miss anyones Facebook updates but can't see a compelling reason to stop blogging. Oh and hi to my public ha xx

  6. I totally agree with what you've said. I had a Facebook break a couple of years ago when I was disillusioned with pretending life was perfect and I needed to focus on preparing for an exam. I still use it because it's the only way to keep in touch with people when life is so busy and I don't have time to call everyone regularly. Plus I love seeing the photos of my godchildren. I had a bit of a friend cull a couple of months ago when I was ill - I did it based on who I would/wouldn't stop to talk to or recognise if I saw them in the street. I still really enjoy blogging but even that is so time consuming. I find it hard to read every day and then when I do get round to it, have such a long list that I can't enjoy them or comment on each post which seems a bit rude. I hope you keep blogging because your blog's lovely! x

  7. totally agree with you about facebook but a blogspace is creative and inspiring and a push to share and do and live (as long as a balance is kept) I think this space is much much more than a facebook profile! go girl...but not from here! I would miss you xxxxx

  8. I also look at FB first thing as I drink my coffee, but it's a quick catch up on my family and friends news, as I really would not have the time to phone or write to all of them. I got to 'know' all my cousins over in Australia before I actually went over to meet them for the first time. I have also reconnected with old school friends and spoken about when we were young, which as both my parents are gone was wonderful as they are the only people in my life now who knew me when I was at school. I catch up on local news and world news as I don't buy a newspaper, and also find out about human rights issues etc and sign petitions which is a lot easier than trying to keep up with them through other means. I also got huge support from friends and family all over the world when I was very ill last year. Yes there are trolls on there, I get umpteen request to play games (both of which I ignore) and yes sometimes I spend too much time on there. But I feel I get so much from it, it's worth some of the downsides. I have toyed with the idea of starting a blog, but feel that would be a lot more time consuming and would be open to complete strangers rather than those people who I chose to 'friend'. We all have to do what we feel comfortable with

  9. I've never got on with Facebook. In fact I'd go so far as to say I loathe it, and I never use it. For me blogging is different because somehow it seems more worthwhile and oh, I don't know, I'm struggling to put it into words, but more interesting. I can connect with people with whom I have things in common, and read stories and be inspired. I do hope you enjoy your break Leanne, and I'm hoping that there are more laughs in your life soon. Hugs and stuff, CJ xx

  10. Hi Leanne. I think it's good to disconnect with social media from time to time especially when you start to feel its addictive powers getting too strong a grip on you whether it's FB, twitter, blogging or Instagram (my latest addiction). I think it's all about getting the balance right between life on and off the internet. Setting time limits rather than a complete ban could be the answer. Just my thoughts... thank goodness I don't do FB xo

  11. I saw a brilliant quote about Facebook the other day ... It went something like .... The only way to make a drama out of Facebook is you if you put it on. I totally recognise so much of what you say Leanne and I do think it is quite addictive. But, for me .. It peeps me YOUNG. It keeps me in contact with my children who live abroad. The pictures of my Grandson and his life so far away has helped me cope with the grief of them moving so far away.
    I love to see all the people I can not connect with on a regular basis.
    I love to almost share in people's celebrations. Wedding pictures, babies. The list is endless.
    I am even in contact with young people who I taught over 20 years ago.

    My life in retirement would be much poorer without it.

    If I don't like anything I just either hide it,scroll down or ignore it.

    Blogs. Well again I follow the ones I love. I love the ones I follow. Again it keeps me young. I come to understand about people's lives all over the world. I remember with love how it felt to kick leaves with little ones. I follow creative ones with relish. It boost my own creativity.

    When I stupidly deleted all the blogs I follow list I was gutted. Part of that reason was I had just found yours. You had 4 followers at the time I think. I have an affinity with your home town and I love to share your walks etc and your photos let me share the views that make my heart happy.

    Take care Leanne. Have a break... If you must . But I will miss you. You make me smile every time you post.

  12. I don't think of blogs as being in the same category as social media like Facebook and Twitter. A blog is like an artist's canvas. Each person expresses themselves in their own way on a blog. Some people write about things they are passionate about, be it politics or knitting or whatever else takes their fancy. Other people have photos of places or people or things that are special to them. You are in total control of what goes on your blog, including the comments. Facebook is not about individual expression. That doesn't necessarily make it bad, but it definitely makes it different. Do what you feel you need to do, but please know you will be missed if you decide to take a blogging break.

  13. I have a Facebook account that I use to keep in touch with family abroad and my son and family in Wales. Since the arrival of Skype I have used it less and less but keep it going "just in case". I read your blog along with several others and would miss it if you took a break, but it is your life and you must do what you feel is right for you. When I started blogging I posted every day, recently I have been very busy and sometimes 4 days will go by without a post. If I have lots to say I write reams, sometimes it is a short post to share one thing. Whatever you decide to do enjoy the freedom to change your mind if you wish and do not feel compelled to justify your actions. Take care. Pam

  14. I've only just started reading your blog, but I would miss it if you stopped. I've never used facebook, although my daughter has an account. I'm sure, like everything, it has it's good and bad points. But a blog is like a diary (one you don't mind other people reading) and you may miss that aspect of it if you stop. And one of the things I love about your blog is that you don't have a 'perfect life' - you have an ordinary life that you make special. And that's something we should all try to do.
    Good luck, whatever you do.

  15. Hi!! I don't do facebook and never have for all the reasons you say you don't like it - and more besides actually. I know for my mental wellbeing it is much better to try and engage with someone - I like that about blogging - you feel like you engage with people rather than just comment or receive comments? I also like that my children will have a record in my blog which will journal bits of our life and parts of my personality. I enjoy your blog and enjoy blogging myself but as for any other social media - as an observer it seems to have so many negative side impacts which I've not experienced with blogging. Hope this helps! J9 x

  16. I am not a user of facebook, and never have been for pretty much the reasons that you describe. I do have a pinterest account, but haven't pinned anything or looked at it for ages, I just stick to my blog and reading others blogs. I don't think that you - or any of the other blogs I read just in case anyone else is worried! - portrays that they think that they have a perfect life, you just have an ordinary normal life like the rest of us - sorry! We all have good times and not so good and we share those as and when is appropriate to our own desires. As with your description of facebook if I don't like or am no interested in what I read on a blog I just scroll on past and assume that others do the same on my blog. So, social media or not as and when you desire and as and how you desire is my motto! I hope that you don't stop blogging as I like reading what you have to say as it is interesting and thoughtful and hope that you will still drop by other blogs that you enjoy too! xx

  17. I joined Facebook when my eldest left to go to Uni 5 years ago, I rarely use it now apart from seeing family pictures. I spend too much time on the computer connecting with others through blogging. I agree with everything Krisitie saids. Sarah x

  18. Oh goodness, you've opened Pandora's box here! It's up to you, of course, but I see blogging as quite separate from twitter/instagram/pinterest/facebook etc. It's just got more meat to it! I'd miss you terribly if you stopped blogging my friend!

    I have a personal facebook account and have found it to be a very positive thing, mainly for staying in touch with people/family who don't live locally. My 84 friends are friends, or close to that. I turn my phone off and leave it downstairs when I go up to bed. It's so tempting to go online when I'm in bed, reading, but I think I'd be starting a really bad habit there. x

  19. I'm with you on Facebook. Could easily do without it. But don't stop the blog - I love reading about your life because you are so honest. Somehow blogging is more social: it allows you to connect with people who you don't know and have a proper insight into different kinds of lives.

  20. don't junk Todays Stuff! a break from facebook is probably enough! a while back on facebook I unfriended a whole of people i didn't feel a connection with. it was quite liberating, although i do know look a little lonely on facebook! I also don't read my news feed either! maybe I would if i was interacting with family. The personal messaging is nice and easy though. I posts things I want to remember and keep a record. Good luck with the break, I'm sure you can find some balance again. I did some stretching this morning instead of reading blogs! Heather x

  21. I'm not sure a blog is social in the way Facebook is ... I think of it more as putting something creative out there - writing, images - in the way an artist does, but getting much more useful feedback. Sure we can come to 'know' our commenters, but I'd still argue that a blog is a very different beast.

    Facebook for me is for one thing only ... private messages between a group of people. I love that my four kids - they're all pretty much grown up now and 3 have moved out - and the mister and I can keep a 6 way conversation going, and I do a similar thing with a couple of groups of friends. I also have a knitsofacto facebook page, but that is just a place to post knit related links that are worth sharing but aren't worth a blog post. I'm always getting caught out because friends expect me to know stuff that's going on because they think I'll have read their statuses, but using Facebook that way really doesn't do anything for me.

    So yes, ditch Facebook for a while, but please don't abandon your blog :)

  22. You express this first world dilemma so well .... I share so many of your concerns but could never have put it in writing with such eloquence. We are all contradictory in our behaviour and our 'secret' lives. I joined Facebook (with my children's agreement) to keep in touch through the uni years and found real time personal chats invaluable. Two of my sons no longer use face book, one uses twitter and the other just feels it's to intrusive. My eldest son (who's just had a baby) and my daughter pretty much update their status with photos or a message daily. So I do check in every day, but I have learned the hard way NOT to comment on ANYTHING in the public arena. I once put a 'sad face' on my status and got told off good and proper. It's nobody else's business!
    I am aware that many people use face book to create a wonderful lifestyle "keeping up with the jones' ", and other people may believe everything they read in a public arena. Someone as long in the tooth as me can be more discerning. I do hate the ads on Facebook! They keep asking me if I want cosmetic dentistry or funeral plans!

    Now blogging is as I see it a completely different kettle of fish. It's creative, it's personal and it's amazing to find people who think similarly to yourself. I don't read blogs often but they are the most wonderful feel good factor when I give over an hour to "MYSELF" in my mothers time she may have read a magazine it's just that technology has changed our lives. And it's wonderful. Blogging is like "People's friend" full of recipes, heartwarming stories, knitting patterns, and even pictures of our children and grandchildren. I know my mum had hundreds of those magazines in her day. Now the youngsters enjoy Hello and OK and to me they are full of glossy photos of celebrities and adverts all appearance and no content - just like FB!
    So Leanne, do what feels right for you. If you gave up your blog we totally understand but as many others have said BUT WE WOULD MISS YOU!

  23. Agh, I've missed so much!!! I'm having a similar blogging/social media crisis! I have a Post brewing too. No, FB is completely different to Blogging, both connecting but in very different ways. I am rarely on FB, it's so different now to how it was years ago. All of social media is overwhelming me right now and I don't begrudge anyone taking break or leaving it completely. I would miss your blog though so please don't stop blogging...Mel x