SOCIAL MEDIA: BLESSING or CURSE?

Happy 1st of April everyone! You will agree with me that this year is flying by so fast, right?

I have been meaning to share about the blessing and the curse that is social media for a very long time. Last week I finally decided to sit down and film a video sharing my experience, as a what I like to call ‘oldie’ in the social media space. I come from an older generation and therefore my experiences are very different compared to say, a 20 year old. Nevertheless, most of my observations cut across all ages.

A BLESSING

I joined social media at a time in my life where I was struggling with weight and I will never forget the first fashionable plus size blogger I stumbled upon. I could not believe that I was represented by such a fashionable and beautiful woman. Naturally Fashionable. That was and still is the name of that blogger. She would post pictures of herself in stylish clothes, wearing her crown of confidence despite being plus size. It was so comforting and gave me confidence to look good. To love the body that I was in even in my pursuits of trying to living a healthier life.

Then as I spent more time on the streets and highways of social media I discovered ‘the evil stepmom’, who shared her journey as a stepmom and demystified most myths associated with step mums. Oh the joy and relief I found. It was as though I had made a new friend, who understood the journey I was on. Then stepmom magazine came along. I was able to read about many other step mums and blended families all over the world. Their joys and struggles and it renewed my strength and restored my faith in blended families.

There was no such community in Kenya. No one was sharing their stepmom journey closer home. I felt it was time I shared my story with the world. To encourage others like me. And that is when “Fashionable Stepmum’ was born. I used the platform to also share my love for fashion. A perfect symphony. Sharing a complex topic while still adding some fun and flair to it.

It’s safe to say that social media reintroduced me to myself. It gave me a voice. It was a perfect mirror, a reflection which reminded me who I was. Ever since, I have met so many people, made many friends, and learnt so much because of this beautiful invention. I have come out of my shell. My introverted shell. Still a work in progress. But boy have I come from far!

I admire so many young people who have opened up social media shops. Defying the myth that 8-5 is the only way to have a successful career. Not forgetting those who are making a living off social media marketing/influencing and youtube, and for this Social media definitely stands as a blessing for many!

A CURSE

Coming out of my shell was the riskiest move I ever made. It made me vulnerable and put me out into the open. To be criticized and judged. By strangers. Scary huh? Especially as a Stepmum, I knew that not everyone was going to dance to the tune of my music. No one could have prepared me for it and that’s what I did not know about social media. That it can be a blessing and be brutal at the same time.

I have received comments that I don’t think anyone would be bold enough to tell me face to face. But typing on a keyboard behind a screen is the most powerful thing social media has given to us. Power. In which we have abused in many cases.

I always maintain that if I have nothing nice to say to anyone I would rather keep mum. Remember that everyone on social media, identified by a profile picture is still a human being with feelings and emotions. With past experiences and values that shape who they are. To attack, or hurtfully criticise someone you did not create or raise is not fair. Imagine if the same measure of judgement was used on you, would you feel great? Your answer is probably no.

I have observed how bullying is so prevalent on social media which makes it so scary for most young people. Like I have heard it said before, “social media is not for the faint hearted”. But even still, I only wish it was a bit easier to deal with like the real world.

I feel like social media and media at large has replaced parental training, of social norms and values. Which explains all the nudity I see, and the casual sex culture. Sometimes I worry for my youngest son.

Dating today compared to my time is very different, because of social media. It was so easy to have a private relationship and thrive in it because no one was in each other’s business. After all, once you left school, you and your classmates parted ways. Only your close friends and family knew about your relationship which made it all the more intimate and devoid of judgement and opinions. But social media has allowed everyone to be in each other’s business. With the oversharing. I have even seen make public apologies to their boyfriends/girlfriends on social media. To strangers, who are most likely not in support of your relationship. I feel like especially for relationships and family, oversharing information is very dangerous. Always seek to protect those parts of your life that are very special to you.

I have also seen social media gangs being formed to attack one individual, which I don’t find necessary at all. It adds no value. Remember that life has a way of humbling us and that same person you are attacking today might be the person who will have the connection to your destiny along the way. Always remember that.

…….

At the end of the day, like in all things it is not possible to be perfect, not in real life and not on social media either. But I believe that God has given us wisdom. Wisdom to know how to live with each other even on a virtual space. Wisdom to know what to say in various situations online. Wisdom to know what to share and what not to share. Wisdom to know what accounts to follow and which ones not to. And wisdom to use the platform for his Glory. Which is to spread love, hope and solve problems. Once these three things become our primary focus, I believe we will reap the fruits of the beautiful invention that is social media.

I’d love to hear from you. What has been your experience on social media? What do you love about it and what would you change about it? Let’s talk.

Till the next one,

Love and light.

C.K

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