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How social media affects us

To be connected, or not to be

Social media can bring joy. It has been a wonderful companion while living overseas. However, I’m realising it can also bring great sadness. August has been a distressing month I was deeply affected by the news I received on my social media the morning we left on holiday; news of domestic violence: a murder in our neighbouring street, followed by another such crime within the week. My newsfeed filled up with the understandable outcry of despair from friends and local media. Around this time I also noted a personal post from friends far away who were affected by a despicable gun crime. The messages that we were privy to broke my heart. As this unfolded, the media response around the huge current refugee crisis peaked with images that we will probably never forget. I felt at times overwhelmed.

It is impossible not to reflect on pain, cruelty, or hardship and feel personally drawn in and somewhat hopeless. I couldn’t open my media feed without feeling the collective despair, from my friends, neighbours, or local/national/international media. I struggled with how beneficial all this was, being streamed into my life constantly and the impact of emotions when I felt almost powerless to help, often feeling guilty to enjoy my relatively uncomplicated life. Then I saw shafts of light appearing: the human responses on social media: messages of love and support to my friend, A town stand up and speak out against domestic violence, with ,local services reviewing their responses, aiming  to prevent other such deaths. Regarding the refugee crisis, I saw friends in my media group taking action to send money, donations, or standing  up and campaigning  wider  and  finally through that push of humanity, a slight positive shift in political behaviours from European nations. I’m not naïve: these are in no way solutions. Domestic violence, gun crime and refugees are sad issues we have lived with for many centuries and they will continue to be so. But by seeing these human responses, plus getting involved in some way, you begin to feel some hope. This is surely reason enough to be connected?

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