I’ve been using social media for a very long time, I was an early adopter using sites that are now defunct and that many have never heard of i.e. long before the MySpace days. I have made a ton of friends on various sites and met a few former love interests that way as well. These sites are a great way to connect with people and to network but they can also lead to drama.
I should probably clarify that this post will mainly be from my own personal perspective and thus focused on what I’ve dealt with as a woman on social media. I’ll cover the bad first because I’d like to get that out of that way so that I can close with something sweet. The main things I want to touch on are labeling and unwanted attention because they kind of go hand in hand.
When I say labeling I’m actually being very specific, I have a problem when people try to label someone as an attention whore… it grinds my gears. That’s not to say that there isn’t such a thing because obviously there is but not every person online is trying to be like “Hey look at me! love me! feel sorry for me! talk to me!” etc. Example, I’m a fairly attractive woman whose most active social profile is on a site called Google+ which is dominated by lots of men who tend to be geeky and nerdy… therefore when they come across a person, especially a woman with similar interests they have the desire to interact with them… its normal. I do not post 20+ selfies a day or do “thirst traps” with a mindset of “oh look at my boobs, look at my big luscious lips aren’t I awesome?!” I’m not down with that crap, I don’t beg for nor do I require any attention from anyone. I think the closest thing to an attention seeking post I’ve made was participating in something called “Leg Wars” where a few women posted photos of their legs in good fun… and even that was something a friend dared me to participate in.
I had to block someone a couple of months ago because they decided to act stupid and bash on some of my online followers for commenting on something I posted just because they thought I was getting undeserved attention, like seriously? grow up… if someone does or does not decide to comment on anything that I post that’s their prerogative. If you want to attack me go ahead, but attack my followers in turn and you will get the business (let’s just say I went off on him before I pressed that block button).
If I post something on social media its because its been on my mind or because I’m bored and just feel like randomly venting or adding my 2 cents to something. Even with this blog, its not for anyone but myself. If I get a few comments awesome but if I don’t get any I’m not going to go crying in a corner about it. I should be allowed to talk about whats going on in my life, the ups and the downs… without having to worry about unnecessary criticism. It seems idiotic to me that any female or male is talked about and put into a category just because they are able to grab a persons interest. Its nice to get a response to the things you post… after all interaction is one of the things that fuels social networking.
Now onto the unwanted attention, if someone compliments you thats all fine and dandy, but sometimes people get carried away. When it comes to this, how it can make one feel is based solely on perception. Some folks are okay with being flirted with all day long or even when things take a turn for a bit more than that but not everyone is. I’ve seen it take a turn for the worst in others’ lives and in mine. I know you can’t control what comes out of a persons mouth or what gets typed by their fingers but being respectful is something that’s important to me. I’ve even seen things escalate to a stalkerish level a few times… its not pretty or flattering and definitely not something I’m asking for.
Its not all bad though, as I mentioned I’ve also made some great connections online both on a personal and business level. Many of my closest friendships initially developed online and I’m grateful for that… some people look down on meeting people through the internet but I could care less. The older generation specifically doesn’t seem to understand it for the most part but thankfully my parents were always understanding of it. My dad met my stepmother online and although my late mother never fully embraced the technology, she never thought it was weird that so many of my friends were people I met online.
Honestly as crazy as it seems a lot of the folks I’ve met online seem like an extension of my family, a support group of sorts. They’ve been comforting to me when I have gone through some really heavy things in my life and its been amazing. We all touch each others lives in one way or another, some times more than we know.
At the end of the day social media will always have its advantages and disadvantages unique to the user, but even with all the bull crap I’ve dealt with online I think its safe to say I’m not going anywhere. The good and the bad seem to even out for me and make it all worth it.
Note* I still take an occasional hiatus from time to time because sometimes you just need a break and that’s okay, some would even argue that it is healthy to do so.