Healthy social network virtual interactions?

Sietz

MyPTSD Pro
I have a deep burning question for a long long time, not directly related to trauma.
I find, after finishing trauma treatment and being on the "finding my won and own normality", that returning to social life is not like it was 7 years ago.

What are healthy virtual interactions in social networks for each of us? Or how to build a healthy online presence?

I think in a way, we all get dragged into behaving a certain way online. Particularly for us, who have connections (for a long time, or more recently) to mental health-related forums online, which widely differ from social networks, I get a sense we have (in general, not everyone) a more healthy way of interacting with each other online, particularly because we are anonymous to each other and that's different. But to those of us who have the guts to dive into social media, I wonder if there are actually healthy ways of having an online presence.

I see two main issues of not having an online social media presence.
1) if you don't have an online presence, for most people you know you're maybe alive or not.
2) if you spend enough time without social media, you lose most contacts of social life, particularly if you live in a place where you don't know that many people.

And I see four main issues of actually having an online social media presence:
1) You get bombarded with opinions, ads, and content you have no interest in; plus disinformation, fake news, and in general a sense of gloom and doom that can lead people straight to Paranoia Ville...
2) People, in general, have very few healthy relationships online, mostly consisting of barely any interactions of likes and the occasional comment (if at all)
3) if you don't have friends, and if you're just browsing through life meeting strangers all the time, you may get really depressed about it all.
and 4) There's a constant running comparison (particularly on Instagram) about what is normal life and what are the lives of others which may seem perfect but most often are studio and photoshop designed.

One of my main worries about this doesn't really concern me exactly, because I've lived without social media for a long time and was very happy about it. But I saw on Instagram little kids (maybe 7 or 8 years old) trying to behave like Instagram influencers, with sexy dancing and whatnot, and that's actually a profession now being an influencer, I get baffled about it all.

Millions and millions of people subscribe to these things and I wonder, is there a healthy way of having an online presence -- or the healthy way is not having one at all?

Looking forward to your input.
 
I think social media is such a new phenomenon that we're still trying to figure out the answers. When we as a society embraced social media, we only saw the positives - hey, I can now communicate with my long lost friend who lives across the world - but didn't realize that it would be really bad for things like mental health and democracy.

I also think that using social media in a healthy way is different for every individual. I boycotted all social media sites when it became obvious that they were destroying democracy in America, but now I don't know anything about my friends' or family's lives. So I'm also thinking about what healthy social media use looks like for myself. Maybe that just means time-limited access to Facebook a few times a week to prevent doomscrolling. However, for me, a few hours a week on Facebook quickly becomes a few hours a day. It seems that my brain is just wired to want to use it.
 

Tornadic Thoughts

MyPTSD Pro
I used to be super active on social media, sharing pictures, recipes, community events, free advertisement for local businesses, advocating for self and others, and especially feeling like it was important for me to share the things I was learning that had been so beneficial/life-changing for me.

I'm not a typical anything, as defined by many in society, and live in a small area where my views tend to be the exact opposite of most folks within close proximity, so it made for some less than pleasant interactions/reactions/projections/etc.

But I eventually discovered being more of an observer of the things that bring me joy and/or teach me something I wish to learn, rather than spending so much energy trying to outwardly share so much information to folks who most likely didn't give a damn, or just wanted to argue about my direct experiences, was a much better scene for my nervous system and energy account.

That pretty much sums up my overall life, though. I used to be a very outgoing social flutter-by always seeking connections, but now much prefer the solitude of being a homebody and surrounding myself with the nourishment and beauty of nature - and I feel damn lucky to have that even be an option.

Feeling safe enough at home to be a homebody was something I never allowed myself to fully absorb to that degree until my health made it necessary, pretty much.

Some of my desire to stay the hell away from most everyone is thanks to the fragrance allergies/sensitivities and not being able to escape it in most public places - but maybe that was a gift of sorts to help me realize just how much energy I was mindlessly wasting before. Who knows?

I also make use of the tools you can use to better tailor your newsfeed to what you want to see more of and less of. Just as I have learned to more carefully choose what I consume at the end of my fork these last several years, I have learned to do the same when it comes to media of any sort. Put junk in, get junk out, so to speak. Is my next click, or my next bite/drink, adding to my life force or seriously draining it?
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
The only social media I participate in is FB. My brain couldn't take being bombarded by so much input. I am a compulsive reader so have learned to thin out what goes in.

I only have 'friends' on FB that I know personally. I rarely post anything personal, never have. I do not engage in controversy or arguments and everyone that participates with me on FB is the same way.

I feel 'age' has a lot to do with what and how much interaction people have on social media. Young people have been exposed to this from the day they were born. Many bad things have happened from young people using sites they have no business being on and parents either don't care or simply don't know. Which is another topic!

I'm glad my kids didn't have the constant onslaught of being exposed to everything all the time. They played outside, used their imagination. They weren't even allowed to watch TV all day long. Nope, Go get some fresh air and sunshine on yourself!!

In so many ways it's good to have access to know what is going on in the world at our fingertips. IF we are discerning enough to know what sounds like bullshit is probably bullshit. But young kids don't have that experience. Cyberbullying is a thing. A sad and often fatal thing for the one being bullied.

Like so many things, it started out being a phenomenon that was wonderful and exciting. Fascinating how it worked and the things we could find online. Yes, I'm old enough to know that going to the library was a time consuming search for the book you wanted. Now everything is at our fingertips. Kinda takes the fun out of the search. At least for me.

Someone I know that I had unfriended on FB hacked into my account and had the nerve to tell me about it. I often wonder if she is here. I have no idea most of the time who is reading anything I share.

Rarely are sites as safe as this one. I am spoiled to the safety here. But am not on every PTSD thing on the internet either. Trolls sneak thru on occasion are quickly found out and are banned.

I feel someone's age has a lot to do with what they are exposed to, and not having enough experience to know when something is not as it appears.

FB has become boring to me most of the time. The new format is restrictive and feels intrusive to me now. I can spend an hour just going thru the process of getting crap off of my page.

I never take a friend request from someone I don't know. Recently someone I've known for years would only post emojis and gifs when replying to me. I finally asked her to please 'use her words'.

I'm glad I am able to keep up with old friends. But I only check FB once a day and sometimes not at all. Brain overload.

Here, people have known each other for years in some cases. Do I depend on this forum? Sometimes. Would I die if I couldn't be here? No.

I'm very selective about what I tap into. I don't like having the whole world in my living room.
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I don’t know if it’s possible when you look at what the programs are designed to do. I do this site for therapy and you know I’m hardly a social butterfly. The only other place I write anything is comments on the YouTube channels I subscribe to and I don’t look at the responses. I do think it can be a business thing but I don’t believe it’s ‘social’ in any real way and I never have .
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
When I was much younger I got sucked into playing office politics. It went on until someone said something that seemed innocent on the surface that really hurt someone else. I got away from that stuff because I saw what damage faceless criticism can do.

I think Carl Jung said it best "Thinking is difficult, that's why most people judge." Your FB or whatever account is part of you that is in a public place being judged. When someone judges you, attacks, belittles, makes fun of, unfriends you, or whatever, they don't have to look at your face while they do it, and they do it in front of everyone. That's not social, its antisocial, and its public. It allows them the opportunity to embarass you, damage your self image, your pride, belittle you, abuse you, and influence the herd to do the same.

Don't need any of that crap. I got enough to deal with.
 

Sietz

MyPTSD Pro
@ladee <3 You're absolutely right and it goes right to my answer... having no social media presence is the healthy thing to do. I may even get to the point where I have an account, but mostly just to say I'm still in the world.

Lately, I've been finding more and more disinformation online, even in scientific journals. I think a lot of it is just pure nonsense and a lot of the human collective is mostly stuck between a paradox of fitting in and not fitting in on a thing that doesn't even exist, to begin with. It's all incredibly strange.

I'm mostly on textile art and permaculture groups and pages and I'm quitting the permaculture one's soon because it's almost like evangelism, you just can't have a different opinion a lot of times... and people talk to each other like they are absolutely entitled to belittle and accuse you of being less-than for having a different opinion.
In textile art and arts groups it's different, a lot more loving interactions, but even so...

I'm finding the healthy middle - post occasionally, post things about my professional life, and move on.

Thanks everyone for your comments :)
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
is there a healthy way of having an online presence -- or the healthy way is not having one at all?
Very thought provoking post.

I have FB, Instagram, Twitter ...I do not remember my password to the last two...that is how much I use. FB is on my phone so that is the only reason I know I have it but hardly go there...I think my picture is from 2018! LOL

To the question you posted, IMHO, social media is a must if you have business you need to promote. I think personally it is not healthy but it is healthy enough place to keep friends (especially I love traveling so I can poke a friend if I am visiting their corner of the world). when I see people posting so much about their lives, it feels to me, like any other website, you walk in talk yourself in a room full of people and you are not addressing anyone particular...it feels childish to me unless like I said you are in business and this is like standing in the corner of your restaurant yelling people to come and see you menu today!

The only time I find social media to be extremely useful is when traveling and I can let the room know where I am just in case....I disappeared, all those 100s of people, one person may call someone and say did you see grit's last post...she said she was afraid in the desert and some guy was bullying her! I digress.

I would never ever go to social media for news! I go to the source! I love the internet and feel OMG everyday but social media...to me it is just can you please affirm my own existence? bottomless pit...but for purpose, go for it!
 

Mee

MyPTSD Pro
On Facebook I am almost exclusively friends with people I know in person . Not perfectly- but almost perfectly. And I edit my friends list ruthlessly. When it went above twenty I felt I had failed.

I help moderate a large private group on fb and get Almost daily friend requests from very sweet people and I message them all with a personal reply explaining that I only accept friend requests from real life friends/ connections but that I hope to maintain contact with them in our group . Most people are cool with that.
I have an Instagram account set to private. I don’t want any ‘followers’. Things I want to show people I message them links to, usually via what’sapp ( again - people I know)

I think we got confused about what friends are and started considering‘acquaintance’ a damning word unfairly. I have hundreds, possibly thousands of acquaintances accrued over the years - some I’m super well acquainted with and have been for many years - they still aren’t friends . I’d help many of them with no hesitation. But I know them and like them - they aren’t my ‘friends’. They don’t know the things that make me tick . I don’t remember their mother’s pets’ names or their favourite sandwich.

I have a handful of friends. I think if I’m life our handful of friends include five people across a lifetime we can super trust and know them and they us we are beyond rich.

In the past I trusted that these deep connections could be made online, I don’t think it’s impossible. But I think there is a false sense of cutting through the crap often on this medium and so I will always be wary going forward and consider anyone on social media as an acquaintance. However well I like them or they seem to get me. With this boundary in place I think it’s easier for me to navigate.
 
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