TNIM Talks – Social Media – effective networking tool or sophisticated means for stalking people?

Social Media – you either love it or you hate it! A lot of BIG business is being done on Social Media today.  I and the two lovely bloggers who have provided opinions in this post rely heavily on Social Media to promote ourselves.

But, at the end of the day, is Social Media really an effective networking tool or is it just a sophisticated way to stalk that snobby girl from high school who made your life hell.

Let’s Talk…..

Shona from Thriving Sistas

I believe – as with all things in life – that there is more than one way to look at the topic of social media and the role it plays within our lives. To me, it is all about how we choose to use and interact with it, and the values and standards we already possess.

Social media plays a big role in my life, and has done since I first joined the club (Facebook) back in 2012. Back then I hated the idea of sharing anything of myself or my family online – I signed up with the sole purpose of keeping an eye on my daughter who was desperate to join.

However, as happens with so many of us who join social networking sites – I soon became a raving fan. Being a naturally introverted person, I wouldn’t normally feel comfortable making contact with people outside of my inner circle, such as distant relatives and old school friends.

Facebook (and later other social media sites) opened up a whole new world for me. I soon found myself in regular contact with people I wouldn’t otherwise have known how to contact. I became the typical proud Mum, posting updates and photos of my kids and following the updates and pics of my friends and family.

Of course, I have had the odd negative experience, but I soon found it easy enough to prevent these experiences with privacy settings and being mindful of what I shared – particularly when it came to my children. I did my absolute darnedest to ensure that any potential ‘stalkers’ wouldn’t find anything too interesting or saucy on me or my family.

These days, I don’t use social media a lot for family or personal reasons. Now, I use it to keep up to date with businesses and groups that I follow and am a part of; to promote my website ThrivingSistas.com; and to share my stories and thoughts on the topics that I am passionate about – namely supporting and empowering women. I still occasionally have the odd ‘stalker’ experience, but am well equipped to deal with these as they occur.
Overall, I have to say, I believe that social media can be an incredibly effective tool in helping us form and maintain valuable connections with the people and groups important to us.

About Shona

Shona is a divorced single mother (to two teenagers) and writer from Australia.

After surviving the pain of the sudden and unexpected breakdown of her marriage, her passion now lies in supporting and empowering women to not only survive but THRIVE through change and upheaval – whatever the cause of that change and upheaval.

If you are currently, or have ever, or will POTENTIALLY ever go through any of these sucky situations then please head over to Shona’s site and check it out:

  • Separation and/or Divorce
  • Feeling unsure of yourself or where you’re headed due to ANY significant life change or upheaval
  • A tendency to give your power away in relationships
  • Not realising your true worth OR the empowered goddess that you truly are

https://www.thrivingsistas.com/


MORE FROM SHONA: HOW I OVERCAME MY FEAR OF BEING ALONE AFTER DIVORCE.


Michelle from Mum from the Heart

I love social media, I have made new friends, reconnected with childhood friends, built a tribe of like-minded individuals who inspire me on a daily basis and also had a sneaky look at how the lives of the odd ex or high school frenemy has unfolded.

As a stay at home Mum I often felt isolated and by the time I had 3 kids under 4 it really was just too hard to go out during the day and the loneliness really kicked up a notch. Social media became my point of connection. I could see what friends and family had been up to, and interact at the level that suited my energy- a quick like or a full conversation from the comfort of my own bed. Overtime I found work that used Social media, Facebook groups to connect other Mums feeling like I was, showing them they were not alone, giving them a save and supportive environment to reach out for advice or just a safe place to vent!

I honestly do not know how I would have survived some of the sleepless nights and unpredictability of young kids without the connection that comes from social media. I did not want to burden my friends and family with endless questions and I felt like I had to look like I was coping well so I couldn’t go to them. Now I see the error in that thinking but at the time a network of new people who didn’t know me was a safer place to call out for help. Personally I feel that social networking sites are an amazing place to connect with people from all over the world, or even in your own suburb, all from the comfort of your own home and they make the world a much more accessible place.

All that said I do know that like anything the intention of those using it is paramount. Have I had a little peek at people from my past? Absolutely! Have I checked out new people in my life by checking their profiles? For sure. Is there really any harm in that? Aren’t we all inclined to gossip a little about the people we once knew, that’s been going on long before social networking became mainstream. Some people will always have malicious intent and that’s why we should all remain mindful of what we share and who we share it with. As long as we do that there are definite advantages to this new age of technology and social networking!

About Michelle:

As Mums we need to truly be able to love ourselves, find the fun in the chaos and have a giggle along the way. When we do this we can parent from love not fear and that’s my goal. I have struggled along the way with PND, 3 kids under 3 and my own fear of messing this all up but I have come through all that with so many new skills, with new knowledge and a level of self-compassion that I strive to teach to other Mums.

Today I work as a counsellor and parental coach for other parents who are struggling. I help parents adapt to the stressors that come with parenting and find their own sense of well-being so they too can parent from the heart.

My blog is my journey of letting go of the fear of not being a perfect mum, embracing the energy and enthusiasm of 3 young kids finding the fun in each day.

Visit Michelle’s blog.


MORE FROM MICHELLE: RIDING THE ROLLER COASTER OF PARENTING


Kirsty from That Noise Is Mine

OK, so admit it, we’ve all been there – 3 years deep into someone’s Instagram account and accidentally double tapped on a photo – no, just me?????

Or, you’re meeting a friend of a friend for the first time except it’s not really the first time because you’ve flicked through this persons 2010 holiday photos and know them and their family intimately. Loved that dress you wore to your 2nd cousin’s wedding 2 years ago Sally, but Phil, he could’ve put so much more effort in!!!

Social Media – it is supposed to be a networking tool used to build network and connections but for the masses, it’s a tool to see what’s going on in the lives of others – some you know, some you don’t!

When my blog first started, it was written anonymously but I still managed to pick myself up an almost stalker (I knew this person so I’m not sure it counts as a full stalker) and I must say I felt sick when I went to this person’s Facebook profile to find they’d stolen pictures from my personal Facebook page and my blood boiled when photos of my children (who are not identified in my blog) were shared with their actual names used.

I am still relatively new to Instagram and Twitter but I have been on Facebook since the early days – circa 2007 and I loved using it back in the day to reconnect with people from my past.  But then you get the nosy ones, the ones who in high school never even looked twice at you and all of a sudden they’re wanting to be Facebook buddies.  Back then, I was one of those people who only had people I actually knew and saw on a regular basis on my Friends list.  I had no need to use Social Media as a networking tool. For me, it was a way of sharing photos of the kids with family and friends I didn’t see on a regular basis.

Fast forward 11 years and I have people on my Friends list from all over the world, some I’ve never met in person because NOW I use Social Media as a networking tool for my blog and business.  I also use Social Media to find out the latest News, find out what is going on in my area, find out if there are major bushfires or car accidents nearby, message friends, make appointments, a calendar of events – the list goes on and on. Also as a stay at home Mum, life can be isolating at times so social media is kind of a connection to the outside world.  To feel like you’re still mixing with adults, even if you don’t see them in person.

It can actually be quiet scary to see how much you rely on Social Media.  In fact, I recently removed the Facebook app from my phone as the majority of my business is through Facebook and it was interfering with family life. Now I have to jump on my computer to find out if I’m supposed to be somewhere or what the latest news is or even to share a photo, it’s a pain, but I want to be present with my kids so worth it.

There are still those people who are against Social Media, who don’t have Social Media accounts and try to make you feel bad for relying on it so heavily…… I think it’s time to face facts people.  Social Media is not going anywhere, it’s only going to get bigger and bigger. Embrace it and use it to your advantage, to make new connections, to make things easier in your life, to stalk your neighbour and their family – you’re lying to yourself if you say you don’t too. Say hi to your Mother In Law’s neighbour for me, her new hairstyle looks great.

What are your thoughts?  Leave your comments below!


RELATED READING FROM KIRSTY: WHY I QUIT SOCIAL MEDIA!


Would you like to contribute to our That Noise Is Mine Talks series? Or write a guest blog for us? Contact us via email contact@thatnoiseismine.com for details!

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