Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

When it comes to social media, I think…

Finish the Sentence Friday

I think that social media is both amazing and dangerous.

When used sparingly and wisely, social media is the light at the end of lonely for overwhelmed moms. I stayed at home with Tucker full-time until this past September. Those years were amazing and mind-altering and stretched my appreciation for the beauty of life ten-thousand fold. But sometimes it was isolating, too. When you’re used to working a ton of hours in a stimulating job, having to creatively fill your days with activities interesting to a baby can be challenging. So I’ll admit it. There were days when social media provided me with friends. Friends who reassured me that it was normal to feel resoundingly grateful for being able to stay at home while simultaneously being bored out of my bloody head.

Social media became even more important to me once I began to worry about Tucker’s delays. I had some pretty gray days when the icy fingers of worry started to be more prevalent than my desire to believe people when they told me that “boys speak later,” that “he’ll get there” and not to worry.

As everybody who has ever researched anything remotely related to medicine, health, or childhood development online knows, it’s way too easy to jump from “hmm, I’m a little worried. I think I’ll do some research.” to “OMFG, it’s cancerEbolaSwineFluTerminalFuckedUpandWe’reAllGonnaDieTomorrow.” The actual medical sites about developmental delays and autism scared the shit out of me, mostly because there was so much information.  Its vastness offered confusion rather than reassurance.  It was really bloggers who made me realize that I wasn’t alone. Social media gave me hope and strength in numbers. I found a bunch of moms who parent children with developmental delays. I’ve found a bunch of other parents, too, whose situations are nothing like mine.  They’ve become true friends. I’ve never met them and likely never will. That’s when the awesomeness of social media works. We tweet. We Facebook. We Pin. We IM.  We play Scramble with Friends. We find commonality and humanity and amazing support.

People joke about liking their online community better than their families at times.  While that’s sad, there’s something to be said about the support bloggers and tweeps and FB friends provide one another. Sometimes it’s easier to tell your online pals that you’re sad. That you need a virtual hug. It just is.

You have to be careful, though. We’ve all been the overtired tweaker wanting just a little bit more. It gets to be way past bedtime. It’s easy to get sucked into another hour after you’ve promised yourself you’ll go to bed. You remember that there was one more blog you forgot to visit. You worry that you didn’t return a comment and somebody will be waiting for a reply (because it makes you a little egotistical, too, these strangers reading your words). You stay up even later checking to see whether anybody replied to your latest tweet. Finding new tweeps to follow. Following additional comments from a particularly moving Facebook post.

It’s a rush, having strangers favorite your tweets and like your Facebook posts. It provides validation. “This is funny.  That was cute.  Other people have toddler poop problems, too.” It’s also a huge bummer when you compose a funny one and nobody likes it. It’s important to remember that we each have so much value aside from what our tweeps thinks. Aside from how many FB likes we get.

That our stuff is still wonderful and terrible and beautifully ours, even if nobody re-pins it.

So be careful, folks. There’s nothing wrong with a little. A little can be wonderful.  But know when to say when. And when to say no. Sometimes, the people sitting right in front of you can be pretty fucking amazing. Shut off your phones and look at them.

That’s what I think about social media. What do you think?

Because I’m on an airplane on my work laptop right now, I do not have access to Photoshop. So instead, I’ve drawn you a stupider-than-usual-looking picture on my phone.  Yeah, it’s especially bad.  Sorry.  The one on the right is one I’ve used before but it’s pretty much what I look like when I’m super excited that somebody favorited a tweet of mine.

image       Treat

Finish the Sentence Friday is hosted by:

Dawn’s Disaster (Twitter, Facebook)
Next week’s sentence is “I tried to cook…”

  • Kate Hall - So true, so true! What you said. There are pros and cons to it, just like everything else. That rush from comments, likes, and RT’s is awesome, but can also lead you to want more and more. Or at least that’s what it does for me. I have to really step back sometimes and question why I’m doing certain things. Like almost everyday. And sometimes I hate my answers because they’re totally narcissistic. And I love the people I’ve met blogging, including you! – even though I called you Rachel some days ago. #LameMarch 2, 2013 – 12:33 amReplyCancel

    • admin - The rush is awesome, isn’t it? I question why I do things like everyday as well. It’s crazy. I’ve read about social media things from this link up tonight that I’ve never heard of. At first, I’m like “ooh I better find out what that is!” then I come to my senses and say “nope – got enough already!”
      And you didn’t call me Rachel when it counted so it’s all good. And I love the people I’ve met blogging too – including YOU! <3March 2, 2013 – 1:14 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Kristi, this is so very true and many days I find myself saying just one more, but more recently I have found myself shutting down to take in what is right in front of me, because you are right they are pretty damn awesome and they are actually the reason I started to write/blog. By the way, I still love the pictures (thanks for a good morning laugh!!). Thanks again for linking up with us, too!! 🙂March 2, 2013 – 6:45 amReplyCancel

    • admin - Janine, so right that the people in front of us were the very reason we began to blog. I guess it’s knowing how much we need to share them for the validation that’s the hard part. Thanks for hosting!March 2, 2013 – 11:19 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - SM would have been nice to have when Christopher was a baby. I sat in the dark in the middle of the night feeding him with no one to talk to. I suppose that was quiet bonding time and I suppose its good I didn’t have SM. One of the “new mom handbook” things I read was not to get them stimulated during night feedings. So I did everything completely in the dark unless he had pooped, then I had to turn on a light. Other than that, it was easy for us both to go back to sleep and there didn’t seem to be a long gap in him learning days from night. I know I got off on a tangent of a different subject. I guess if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. Love your drawings. It’s embarrassing when my husband asks me, “What?” when I’m grinning at the phone like someone just gave me some money.March 2, 2013 – 9:33 amReplyCancel

    • admin - Aw Kenya, I love that your husband questions “What?” because you’re grinning at the phone. That’s the validation.
      I did the same thing in the middle of the night with Tucker. Often, I’d wake up later with my head hanging to my chest, boob hanging out, him sleeping on my lap and realize that I, too, fell asleep! 🙂March 2, 2013 – 11:20 amReplyCancel

  • Emily - I totally recognized myself when you described that getting sucked in feeling of “just one more blog to visit or tweet to send”…I’ve been that person, a lot. But, you’re so right, social media is good, in moderation, just like my chardonnay. 🙂March 2, 2013 – 4:36 pmReplyCancel

    • admin - Emily,
      I almost compared it to a person who enjoys wine vs. an alcoholic, crack, etc, but decided it might be offensive. I like chardonnay, too 🙂March 2, 2013 – 6:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Michelle Liew - Hey, Kristi, social media does provide many social outlets, hence the name. A great post! I agree, with balance and moderation, social media can be a useful tool.March 3, 2013 – 2:24 amReplyCancel

    • admin - Thanks so much for the comment, Michelle!March 3, 2013 – 10:44 amReplyCancel

  • Mama Meerkat - That’s so true. Especially when Mini was a baby, discovering special needs parenting blogs made me feel so much less alone. But I think it is important to unplug and take breaks. There are days that I don’t even get a chance to glance at the other blogs I read, and that’s okay. It’s all about balance!March 3, 2013 – 8:35 amReplyCancel

    • admin - Mama Meerkat, you’re so right that it’s important to unplug and take breaks. Sometimes, easier said than done but it must be done! Thanks 🙂March 3, 2013 – 10:45 amReplyCancel

  • Rachel - You drew those on your phone?? I hate you! (not really) You have written such a thoughtful piece to a boilerplate prompt! I’m constantly amazed by you. I was with you about all of it and couldn’t agree more. I just want to add one thing. I really, really don’t like twitter!March 3, 2013 – 4:20 pmReplyCancel

    • admin - Hey Rachel, I drew the one on the left on my phone and the one on the right was already used on this site in another post. I would never be able to do that one on my phone, way too hard!
      I used to not like Twitter, and parts of it I hate (people trying to just be funny and instead often being gross), but I do like the bloggie connection part on Twitter…March 3, 2013 – 7:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. - Yep, you pretty much nailed it. I know you know I can relate to this, especially the dangerous life-sucking part. Well, the super awesome making friends part too, actually. And I hope I am one of those super cool people you were talking about, but not the one that you will probably never meet in real life. Cause I’m still holding out hope that it will happen someday! Kind of glad you were only in my city for a day or so this trip, as I have had the stomach flu ALL fucking weekend. Seriously. What. The. Fuck. Hope you had a great time celebrating your stepmom’s birthday! xoxoMarch 3, 2013 – 7:51 pmReplyCancel

    • admin - Funny thing that my step-brother in law asked me “why do people care what you think about social media?” and I was at a loss and figured I should redo the whole thing.
      SOOO sorry to hear that you’ve been so sick this weekend! And YES, I almost wrote “with the exception of Stephanie” but well, felt weird about that. We WILL meet for a coffee or a wine or a meal one day. We MUST. Feel better <3March 3, 2013 – 11:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Jen - OK seriously laughing now. Cause I don’t know anybody who spends too much time on social media, I have no twits, tweeps or twerps AND I never google things like anaphylactic shock or epinephrine. Sorry I made your eyes pop out. Friends Forever, JenMarch 3, 2013 – 10:52 pmReplyCancel

    • admin - hehehe well my eyes pop out every time I visit somebody with cats as I’m so damn allergic but love the <3
      Huge. And sorry to break it to you but you just made tweeps and twerps and twits for the rest of the history of time.March 3, 2013 – 11:07 pmReplyCancel

  • KC @ genxfinance - The internet, the social media, and all of these social networking sites are very powerful. Anyone has access to it thus, it can be used for bad and good. It’s up to us how we harness this power.March 5, 2013 – 7:10 amReplyCancel

    • admin - So true that it’s up to us how we harness the power! Wise words.March 5, 2013 – 8:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Menopausal Mother - This is SO TRUE!!! You know, I’m kinda like a dinosaur because 1 and 1/2 years ago, I didn’t even know how to use a computer. Once I learned and got on Facebook, I was hooked. I was easily spending 3 hours a day just chatting with old friends. Then of course getting involved in the blogosphere has taken me to a whole new level of socializing! It is really hard for me to shut off the computer and walk away from it. I’ll admit I’m addicted…but I’m working on it…..March 5, 2013 – 3:30 pmReplyCancel

    • admin - Wow, what a change that in just a couple of years you’ve gone from not knowing the computer to being such an awesome blogger and strong presence on Facebook!
      It IS so hard to walk away from. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve walked away and turned around and come back for “just one more.” At least it’s not drugs, right? 😉March 5, 2013 – 8:31 pmReplyCancel

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