A few weeks ago, I had to take a break from public social media. It just wasn’t fun for me. There wasn’t anything particularly nasty happening – other than the night where I copped a lot of criticism for a project I am working on and I felt very upset – but I just found it snarky and faced constant disagreement. I understand there’s the ‘you put yourself out there, expect differing opinions and criticism’ argument (which I don’t necessarily agree with), but the constant disagreement was tiring. It wore me down. I’d been told that I’d upset people through linking to articles that I’d hope get people thinking. And then I felt the impact of vicarious trauma – where people told me horrible things they’d experienced, or shared articles about hate crime related to appearance diversity. Really upsetting. I could not take it all on.
I wrote this Facebook post explaining how I felt, and received an incredible amount of support – thank you so much. I also acknowledge the way social media has propelled me, which I am constantly thankful for.
And then I took time out from engaging publicly on social media. It was good. Peaceful. I just posted photos to Instagram and engaged on my private social media – and continued to publish my blog posts as scheduled. I dipped my toe back in, slowly.
Sometimes online communication can be misconstrued or take a direction I never intended. And it’s not a matter of no one disagreeing with me or yearning for praise constantly. It’s about recognising the need to filter the online communication and information overload, which can be like a treadmill. Being online communicator is tough – and it’s almost impossible to switch off. But I do crave connection. And so I connected more in person. With likeminded people.
Every second Saturday I’ve been going to Quippings afternoons, where we meet in a theatre and socialise more than we do before and after the Quippings shows. Even though we drink tea and chat a lot, I feel like we’re achieving so much. We discuss disability with each other, and talk to the camera. We’ve covered some big issues, some I’ve never thought about before. I’ve admitted my disability privilege without judgment. And we’ve laughed. We can all relate, despite the diversity of our disabilities. I’ve come away with so much writing inspiration. I am so lucky to be a part of this community.
And I went to a bloggers’ meet up at the Melbourne Museum one recent Sunday. It was a Blog with Pip meet up – hosted by the lovely Pip Lincolne. We did look at the exhibits (and take photos), but spent a lot of time chatting about creativity, and blogging – where it’s heading, the importance of making a difference rather than just creating content, and the amazing way the internet has brought us together. And we laughed a lot. It was so relaxing – an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning.
This time spent with likeminded people brings out the best in us. It makes us think, and have positive conversations, and inspires us to do more and be better, don’t you think?
The Pipsters were:
…And a couple who don’t blog yet.