Online Friends or Foes?
I belong to a number of closed groups on facebook and to often I see posts from people saying, “I know you guys will understand, I can’t post this on my personal wall because my friends and family don’t get it” or “my friends and family are sick of hearing about my running, blogging, (insert whatever)”. More hurtful, “my friends and family have posted for me to shut up, or messaged me telling me they do not appreciate or care about the things I post”.
I understand that what others post (myself included) can be annoying to some, I really do. I also get that sometimes we simply do not relate or have any interest in what some people post about. If you do not like what is coming up in your newsfeed all the time then you can choose to unfollow someones posts, this allows you to still connect or message one another (especially helpful if it’s family 😉 ).
Everyone uses social media for different reasons. For some it is to stay connected with friends, for others it may be to connect with a special interest group, hobbies, favourite past times. Still for others it can be used mainly for business. Whatever the reasons shouldn’t we respect one another more and judge others less? Why is it some people expect others to use it the way they do? Why is their way correct? Is there a correct way?
So why do I post? Why do I take selfies or “runfies” as we call them. 🙂
If you know me it should not come as a surprise that I love to encourage people. I think it comes out of my own life of being misunderstood and not really having people believe in me or support me much. Our past shapes us and for whatever reason I believe in people. I have a soft spot for people who seem to be misunderstood or not heard at all. I am naturally open and vulnerable–“what you see is what you get”. I don’t pretend to be someone I am not. I have long since stopped trying to be liked by everyone, because the reality is not everyone is going to like me.
What really bothers me is when someone judges me and they know nothing about me. OR worse, they actually should know me, yet they assume the worse. This can be difficult for me as I naturally assume the best in people most of the time. So it’s hard for me to accept that sometimes, someone is just plain mean, critical and judgmental.
Okay, so back to why I post about running/fitness. It is a way for me to be accountable to myself! I have many goals and if I share my journey it helps me get out the door. It is a way for me to connect with some amazing friends I’ve met online who are also chasing dreams. We encourage one another with cyber high-fives and way-to-go chatter. I hope to inspire others to find something they are passionate about and do it. I often help people privately who reach out and want support, encouragement and accountability.
I have also been blessed with being involved as an ambassador for a number of my favourite fitness products. Part of being an ambassador is posting, tagging and doing shout outs to introduce others to the products that I love and believe in. I am honoured to be teamed up with these companies and I love sharing about them. I am also involved in a number of online fitness/sports related ambassador programs that require you be active on social media. That means sharing your journey, with the idea of encouraging others to be active.
I feel bad for the people who feel they cannot post on their own facebook walls! Seriously, it’s their wall. We all have “negative Nellie’s” on our feed, again you do not need to follow their posts. Why should someone be made to feel bad for getting in shape, or setting goals and achieving them. Why should they feel guilty if they are changing their lives for the better?? Why should they have to seek a private group on facebook, with strangers, to be encouraged because their facebook “friends” criticize them.
At times, we may post an opinion about politics, movies, events in the city, etc. This can open a door for others to jump in and offer their own opinions. I think we can expect this, however, I also believe we should be grown ups about it. Be respectful.
I also use social media at times to highlight how proud I am of each of my children. I love to support them and over tell everyone the great things they do. I am their biggest cheerleader and will forever be proud of them. Social media allows me to share with others some of the neat things my kids do. My intention isn’t to make someone else feel bad, I just want to give a shout out to my kid. I’m also very respectful to my kids, I almost always ask their permission (to be that mom).
I understand that maybe you just do not want your feed filled up with things you just do not care about, that’s cool. It’s YOUR feed! As previously mentioned, you can control whose posts you see? You can actually unfollow someones posts, but remain their friend (mine included).
Truthfully, I’m just being me, doing what I love, trying to enjoy life and hopefully connect with others along the way.
Can I perhaps challenge you? Maybe instead of being annoyed or frustrated, maybe you could message someone and encourage them on their journey. Tell them you are inspired by them or you are proud of them for their hard work. Maybe their posts have nothing to do with fitness, but instead just maybe they’ve been going through a hard time and have been sharing their story of getting through it. You’ll be amazed at what a kind word can do for someone.