My Social Media Experience – Support & Friendship
Over the past couple of years social media has become a big part of my life, a great source of support, enabling me to link up with like minded people which has been invaluable. I cannot express how much of a positive this has been for me and it’s like anything, you get out of it what you put into it. Plus as a blogger it’s a crucial tool to both reach out to your audience and interact with fellow writers.
‘Life is a funny old thing’, ‘You never know what’s around the corner’ and ‘Never say never’ are phrases that really resonate as my life is now. And they can also be related to my experience of Social Media, I admit that when I first signed up to Twitter and Instagram I was sceptical, suspicious, didn’t understand how to use them nor did I see the point to them! In fact I signed up, tried them briefly, then gave up for about two years. So if I can change my perspective then anyone can.
Before my Leukaemia diagnosis I never would have guessed that Social Media would actually become my virtual support group…the gateway to much needed friendships and information making a big contribution to my mental well being. As the Leukaemia I have is rare for someone my age I found it an invaluable way of finding others like me, who I can really relate to. Others have reached out to me this way after seeing my story in the press and magazines, we have been able to share our experiences, offer each other support through the tough times. We also laugh about situations only we can see the funny side in.
Facebook and Twitter really helped at the time of my shock, overnight, Leukaemia diagnosis. I received an overwhelming number of messages of support from friends, colleagues, associates, family and other surprising sources. My heart melted at the sentiments, offers of help and outpouring of love as I read them all from my hospital bed. Before this I had no idea that so many people cared, it was so uplifting and spurred me on to fight harder. Old friends, whom I’d lost touch with reached out to me and people who had seen my story via a mutual friend’s timeline felt compelled to wish me well. Even now, if I am feeling a little low, I look back over them to remind myself of what’s important.
The updates me and my family were able to post were really comforting to everyone who was worried about my condition which was touch and go. Rather than spending hours on the phone returning calls this was done quickly and efficiently relieving a lot of pressure from my family.
Personally for me it was really important to be able to thank each person for their support, it had meant the world to me and I wanted them to know. When I was well enough I had conversations via Messenger and DM boosting my morale as I was hospitalised for 6 months, in isolation, unable to have visitors, it was incredibly lonely at times.
There are private Facebook groups where I can express me feelings amongst those who are like minded and have shared my life experiences. This is a brilliant facility on Facebook that is used by clubs, support groups, businesses, to plan surprise parties and much more.
Blogging and Social Media
When I decided I wanted to write a blog about my experience I wanted to reach out to others, help myself come to terms with my new life and realise my dream of being a writer. Social Media has been a very effective way of meeting other bloggers, networking, gaining help, information and chatting about a subject we are mutually interested in. There are Facebook groups for bloggers which are a fantastic way of finding other blogs and gaining followers for yours. In these groups you can ask for help, advice and chat all things blogging with those who are also passionate about it. I find this really invaluable.
An old work colleague contacted me after reading my blog sending me this message through Facebook;
Help and Advice on Social Media
Social Media is a great source of help, advice and information quickly and efficiently too. Obviously you have to be guarded and sensible about it but you can tap into other people’s knowledge on pretty much any subject. For customer service with businesses it is an efficient way to resolve any issues and I’ve received excellent assistance from major brands. I have also given positive feedback whenever I have been really happy with a product or service.
A couple of years ago I used Twitter to help me sort out an out of stock issue that I’d been unable to resolve (I’m a Pharmacy Technician). Very quickly I received lots of suggestions from other technicians and was able to track down an alternative. I know of others who have managed to track down an elusive and highly sought after item of clothing this way.
In the aftermath terrorist attacks or natural disasters Facebook now has a way you can mark yourself as safe or out of the area. So if you would normally be in that area or it is near where you live you can very quickly let everyone know you are safe and also check on people you are worried about.
As I’ve mentioned I am aware that social media has its negatives with cyber bullying by keyboard warriors but, there is always going to be those people in the world and I for one am not going to let it outweigh the many positives. As long as we are careful, listen and take on board the safety measures for using social media that can all be kept to a minimum. Don’t read or get involved in negative feeds and always think twice before positing anything.