Thursday, October 14, 2010

Networking or Self Medicating

I have to share this story…if for no other reason than to remind myself that everyone is not for me and to be cautious of whom I allow myself to deal with.

Many moons ago, I was a member of an online site. I met some really nice people and some not quite right people. The experience stays with me as I continue to log into sites like Twitter and Facebook. The site had a blog feature which I loved because I was able to write random bits about topics ranging from relationships to football to political topics. From writing, I met a group of people who commented on my blogs and the networking began.

There are certain levels of popularity online and the attention can come from a variety of things such as intelligence, talent, looks or lunacy. What I discovered however is the lunatics tend to trump anything else. While I had a pretty good following for my blogs, there was an undercurrent of madness that I was just too na├»ve to see. I appreciated people’s comments and it encouraged me to write. Well, I became friends with a woman due to some unforeseen issues (hot mess). We got to know each other, learned about our families etc.

After awhile, we stopped talking as much because I was busy and her blog/posts seemed a little…well erratic. One minute she was praising God and the next she was threatening to “go off”. Never really understood online beef, so I distanced myself.

Long story short…we fell out quite publicly. So glad it happened because I learned so much from the experience. Here are some tips I learned:

If you are online all of the time, how are you raising your family or focusing on your career? The clue I’ve now learned is if someone is talking about their “real life” something ain’t right. Your reality can and should include any online activity.

When the things you post online range from “I love the Lord” to “I’m gonna fuck you up” there is a problem. The best thing you can do is recognize the instability. I think social networking has become a new means for people with mental health issues to self medicate rather than seeking professional help. I have seen so many “I’m going to kill myself” messages as well as known of people who actually did it. Rather than encouraging help…real help, people would rather rally behind them. Someone who’s bi polar doesn’t need to hear that they are pretty; they need someone to love them enough to get them help.

Side note: My biggest pet peeve online is people encouraging poor behavior or “going in” on people. Sometimes all a crazy soul needs is encouragement to continue to be nuts rather than facing their real issues and seeking help. Mental health issues are serious and should be treated as such. At some point, it’s just not funny anymore.

I have never understood women who have no women friends. This extends to people in general. If you don’t have friends in your real life…why not put the phone down and enjoy life? Turn off the computer and look someone in the eye?! I’m pretty heavy on Twitter, but I’ve got a pretty solid group of friends and family as well.

People are only going to share what they want. Recognize and respect their right to do so. People don’t owe you a thing. If they’re married and don’t tell you, that’s their choice. If they only come on every blue moon, that’s completely their business. If they choose not to interact with you, so be it. Everyone is not for you. Everyone does not have the same purpose when they log on. And that’s ok. By the same token, protect yourself and your life. Don’t give all your info to someone you’ve never met. It’s just not safe or worth it.

As for internet dating: PROTECT YA NECK! Lol….I’ll do a separate post for this. It can be a beautiful thing or trauma. Also, completely up to you.

In conclusion, I am still a heavy social networker. I’ve made great friends, genuine friends online. I think that online just like life is what you put into it. I’ve gotten great music, TV and movie reviews, found some loyal Cowboys fans (yes!!) and been able to find another medium to communicate with my friends and family. But like all things, use at your own risk.