Navigating the social media minefield

Bu Jennifer Betts

They say you can’t have pleasure without pain, good without bad. You delve into that box of Thornton’s handmade chocolates with reckless abandon, and then sweat it out in the gym to cancel out the utter boldness.

The heady days of falling for that special guy, only to lose him months later to the Xbox. Social Media falls into the same category for many people, including myself.

Yes it can bring people closer together, rekindle old romances, old friendships. It can bring you up to speed on world events, or make you piss yourself laughing at the cat that makes that impressive leap to the kitchen table, only to fall on his furry face.

Then there’s the downside to social media. It can rekindle old romances or old friendships! Or, ‘No boss, honest to God I wasn’t at the game, as I said I was dying sick, that must’ve been my twin on the news, with his face painted green, topless and guzzling a flat pint from a plastic cup.’

Or the unwanted friend request, drunk tweeting your favourite celebrity, positive that they’ll tweet you back, because your message to them at 5am was so profound and no one else could have possibly told them before that they’re a ‘bleedin’ legend.’

Which brings me to my musing, are you for Facebook or Twitter? I ask because these are the only social media outlets that I operate.

I like to be the last person to catch on to the latest fad. One reason is that I relentlessly attempt to avoid the hideousness that is conformity.

Ok so I read the Da Vinci code and 50 Shades, but only when everyone else had finished. Ever so slightly unconventional.

My first escapade with social media was good old Bebo. I think my page still resonates somewhere in cyberspace and yes; it is as embarrassing as my first email address. I’ve since switched to a more sophisticated address, as I doubt if a potential employer would want to hire JenJenlolol.

So back to the social media of today. Ashamedly, I am a little addicted to my phone, but I swear I just read it for the articles. Ok and maybe that stupid cat.

But I genuinely think that whichever app I decide to peruse, depends wholly on my mental state at that moment in time.

Take Facebook for instance, I take pride in admitting that my favourite part of Facebook is watching funny videos, mostly of animals and babies, doing funny or even crazy things.

I actually saw a dog peeing into the toilet, I kid you not. Ok so I will keep up to date on current affairs, but my level of concentration somewhat dissipates rapidly, if there’s a video of a dog riding a bike right underneath.

Summed up, Facebook is fun to me. I also think that it is very powerful in creating awareness on topics that may not have been in our social remit before and more importantly, the messages are not media-diluted and come from the mouths of real people.

Social media cloud
Facebook has its merits but it can become tiresome

But then there are your friend’s stories. Some are extremely funny and some are extremely heartbreaking. It can be a fantastic outlet for those in despair, but now we have cyber bullying, pleasure/pain.

But when I’ve had enough of 49 ‘different’ pictures of your one year old’s first dump, or constant exclamations of your love for your partner, (seriously, he’s right beside you, just tell him) or the conjectured posts of FML and when people ask what’s wrong? Suddenly they don’t want to talk about it.

Oh I’ve done it on occasion and have even saturated my page with pics of my dog, but my dog lover friends get me, so it’s ok. Most are just funny anyway; well at least they are in my head.

That’s when I turn to Twitter. It’s like reading a novel after watching a gun-toting Michael Bay movie. It has less traffic, less opinions and less fluff.

I tend to take myself more seriously when I’m tweeting. I don’t know why. I suppose you could liken it to having a diversity of friends.

Some friends are fun, some are interesting and make you think, some are there to jump on board with your ridiculous brainwave of heading to Coppers at 3am. Some friends have both.

I’m not saying that Facebook is for dummies and Twitter is for intellects, but like I said, it all depends on my mood.

Is Facebook pleasurable while Twitter is painful? It certainly hurts my brain when I have to think more.

Maybe Twitter is my working week and Facebook is my sexy Saturday night. I’ll continue with my ying and yang. I wouldn’t like to think that I didn’t learn nothin’.

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