Friday, November 4, 2016

Getting My Voice Heard (Via Social Media)

HAWMC Day 5:  Are you all about 180 characters or less? Do you enjoy shooting the perfect photo? Or perhaps love sharing posts on Facebook.What’s your favorite platform to get your voice heard and why?

This is a complicated one. Twitter, overall, is my favorite. I like being able to say snippets of things, randomly, as they come to me, and not (because I try not to tweet 20 things all at once) clog up anyones feed. Whereas with Facebook, posting three times a day is considered excessive. And because my brain works in such a random fashion, the ability to quickly write a short post of whatever I'm thinking or feeling in the moment is ideal. Plus I'm verbose and it makes me cut to the chase once in a while. Which is actually refreshing. Similarly, I'm able to read others posts quickly and not get too bogged down. I've also connected with a lot of great people via twitter chats. I try to participate in as many chats for chronic illness, mental health, and health advocacy as I can, and it's a fantastic way to share ideas and inspiration and to find others who have similar health battles, even if your conditions aren't the same. And finally, the fact that I can't see tweets from people I don't follow unless they're retweeted (or ads) is fantastic. So, unlike Facebook, I can't see someone I don't even know ranting on someone else's post, which brings too much negative energy, which makes me anxious. I actually have had to take a break from personal (i.e. my page) Facebook the past month or so, because the negative energy on Facebook feels like it's suffocating me. That said, twitter has one big con: auto DMs.  If you auto DM me, unless I really, really want to follow you or I know you personally, I'll unfollow. I'm all about personal connection and interaction. Not automated.

The one area of Facebook I do love is private groups. I started a private group for mood disorder and mental health support and the people I've met (or "met") through there and the support I've found from others who struggle with mental health is amazing. It's one of the few places I feel I can go and find true empathy, as others in the group have been through what I am experiencing. It provides a great way to privately build a community of those looking for mental health support.

As for Instagram, I've grown to like it more and more. I particularly like using it to share pictures from charity events (i.e. when I participate in the Overnight Walk), and I've recently - as in this week - started a project called the Spread Hope Project, in which I'm going to take pictures wearing my "hope" shirt in as many different locations and with as many different people as I can, in an effort to spread the message of hope, and let people know they aren't struggling alone. While I'll be sharing in different mediums, this is obviously easiest in picture based mediums such as Instagram.

I guess overall, if I had to chose only one medium, it would be twitter. It offers the opportunity to interact with word, pictures, private (but not automated!) messages, and chats, all quickly and easily without having to get bogged down in too much nonsense. But Facebook and Instagram, and even mediums like Pinterest and Snap Chat (stories) have their place. I think to me, it's really finding what I like about each and utilizing those features to the best that I can. 

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