What's all this then?

I tweet too much. So I needed somewhere else to start storing all the words. This is it. Think of it as the external hard drive for my thoughts.

I don't have an obesssion, a dream, a fixation or a hook, so don't be expecting a focus here. It's like great big lumps of my twitterings. You may see teaching stuff, rants, maternal anxiety and occasional sojourns away from reality.

Anyway, I like a nice chat so we should talk. By we, I of course mean me...

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

What has social media ever done for us?

What has social media ever done for me? Apart from the laughs, the community, the window on the world, educating me, consoling me, finding me real friends, seeing me through dark times and being a space of my own? Nothing and everything. Nonsense and common sense. The Agony and the Ecstasy. I’m getting a bit carried away here.

The important bit to me was that twitter, this is mostly about twitter but also Blip and the blogosphere and even Failbook, was a space of my own. If you like the term “me time”, which I loathe but there we are, then you might call it “me space”. My lovely twitterbuddy MDP called it her playground. I liked that.

Like a playground it is so much fun, and full of new people and games. Like a playground, it felt safe. A protected space.

I just found out it wasn’t though. I know the internet is public, I know it’s out there. When I started out, I was neurotic about my privacy. I suppose after a time you become so used to the etiquette and the social norms there that it doesn’t occur to you that someone would break them by stalking you, by reading through reams of your waffling without ever making themselves known and passing on their sordid discoveries to others. In the same way you assume that your phone isn’t tapped and the old lady next door isn’t really holding a glass to the wall when you have sex.  You might think that’s naive. I think it’s a sanity saver.

We all go round thinking the world is ok, and that no-one will step over the line of normal because if we starting seeing mad axe murderers on every corner, well, we’re half way to becoming one ourselves.  We take sensible precautions (no armed hitchhikers in the car) and then we need to think it’s all ok. That’s why the first stage of any processing of  bad stuff is denial. This can’t be happening, we say. I must have imagined it. It’s something you watch yourself for when working in child protection. The unwillingness to believe that something bad could happen is a risky outlook for vulnerable children and we have to fight to let our gut reaction be heard. Usually, it is all fine.  However, just occasionally there really are monsters under the bed and that’s when social media, and indeed life, can all go wrong.

I’m not a perfect person. Are you? No, don’t answer that. I also don’t like to deliberately hurt people though, even if I don’t like them. So I use social media to have a little rant once in a while, to let off steam. That way I can do the social niceties or professional niceties or just plain nicey niceys without my blood pressure going off the scale. I’m not always nice on twitter. I also use it when I’m down, when I’m finding life difficult and I’m hard to be around. I use it to celebrate stuff I’m too embarrassed to share with people I know in case I’m seen as big headed. It’s for finding people who’ve been there too. It’s helped me with the tougher bits of the real world. It’s for all the stuff that I can’t or don’t want to or just plain shouldn’t say in real life. I’m gobby enough as it is, it’s only fair to share the pain of my talkiness around.

Or at least it was all these things. Now I’m not so sure. Now I’ve had the tap on the phone, the glass at the wall. It doesn’t feel safe any more. And safety is very important to me. If you’ve ever been in a situation that was unsafe, you’ll understand.  Many years ago I was stalked and threatened by an ex-partner. It wasn’t a good time. Reader, I took out a restraining order against him. Now it’s happened again. The safety bubble has burst and I’m seeing monsters under the beds, behind the sofa and in the shower, the little perverts. Connoisseurs of PTSD will know this treat as hypervigilence.

Maybe, if I’d been more hypervigilent I wouldn’t be in this situation. Maybe. Maybe if I stay indoors tomorrow I won’t get hit by a bus. Maybe if I never open my mouth or speak out then everyone will like and adore me and be nice to me always. Not very likely, is it? Apart from the bit about the bus, I don’t get buses in the living room.

So, to make things safe, I deleted my twitter account. It was like saying goodbye to a friend, because it was saying goodbye to so many friends. I cried. Not dignified tears of regret, but fantastic snotty blubbering. I used to worry about being a twitter addict. But without it, I don’t miss the posting, the feed, the timeline, the addiction. I miss my friends.  I might go back. I don’t know. I hope so. In the meantime I have the wonderful Mrbird, who I love more with each fresh disaster I create,  and many other good solid three dimensional people here, so I’m fine. I just won’t be playing out for a bit.

This is my tribute. My thank you. My appreciation for such a delicious side dish to life. Maybe next time round I’ll get a food taster though.


  1. Thank you so much. Still here, Ali, still talking! Like a bubble in the wallpaper or a bad penny :)

    And just for you, you are never out of sight, out of mind. Thinking of you. *hugs you in least clumsy way possible* xx

  2. Hope you're ok Birdie xx

  3. Thank you. What doesn't kill us makes us.... want to kill others. Joke. Ahem. Honest. xx

  4. Hay Bird, just got my internet back after FOREVER and just seen this post. We miss you.



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