I have read posts which state that social media, particularly Facebook, can lead to depression and feeling of inadequacy and loneliness. For me, the exact opposite is true. Almost three years ago, my family and I moved clear across the country from Southern California to Vero Beach Florida. While I have made a few friends here in Florida, I would have been so lonely without being able to see the photos of friends and families from all over the country.
I love seeing how much the children from my old neighborhood have grown, the block parties they still have, how big and beautiful the children of my nieces are. I borrow photos from my friend from 30 years ago to use on my customers’ blog posts, with her permission of course, and I have private chats on Facebook Messaging, about special events in my friends’ lives that we don’t wish to post about publicly.
I was reading some heart warming stories about how social media has changed lives around the world when one really caught my eye. It’s about a mother of three who uses social media as an outlet for stress and encourages other parents to do the same. Here’s an excerpt from the online interview:
“Interviewer: How do you think social media has changed parenting, for better or for worse?
Alexandra Rosas echoed what might have been for me if I had not had my Facebook Connections to fall back on :
“Social media is overlooked and underrated as a mental health tool in helping with feelings of isolation and depression. I am convinced that had I had [social media] seventeen years ago with my first child, I never would have slipped into such depths of Post Partum Depression. I had gone from working full time to being in my 30’s and suddenly home with a colicky baby with food allergies and asthma who did not sleep.
Those times were a mix of one of the darkest, saddest periods of my life as well as some of the loneliest. Even with the gift of a baby that I had waited my entire adult life to have, the overwhelming loneliness of being without anyone else other than a crying baby almost did me in.
If I had been able to log on to twitter or FB and say, “Hey, feeling lonely. Anyone up for a talk?” it would have sent me on an absolutely different New Mom Path. With PPD, support and acceptance through connection are the biggest tools in our arsenal to fight this battle. I’m more grateful than words can ever say, to social media. Social Media saves my life daily, by giving me a place in this world and making me visible, and not forgotten in a corner somewhere.”
So to answer the question I posed in my title, I think if we are predisposed to isolation and loneliness, then, yes, social media can make us more isolated if that is the only connection we have to the world. If we make the effort to join in, to participate with neighbors, charities, clubs, and just wish to keep those connections, to be able to reach out to others in similar circumstances for a little support, then NO, social media does NOT leave us lonely, rather it allows us to stay connected.