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Social Media, Communication and Suicide

I first wish to start this post with a disclaimer:

The words and opinions utilized within this posting are of my own mind. In NO WAY do they represent the thoughts of my employer or family. If they do manage to match the ideas the reader has then it is purely coincidental.

Suicide rates are pulled from The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) 

I’m going to start by pointing out that the internet and its original ideals of allowing for the easy sharing of ideas across the world. I think those who created the internet could not fathom all that could potentially transpire from the invention, be it good or be it bad. This all came about over decades and became commercial in the mid-1990s.

One has to only look at how quickly technology grew after this period and one of the biggest growths seen was that of social media. A platform that saw Myspace become the real big first platform in 2003. At the same time, a disturbing trend was seen elsewhere starting to click upwards. This trend is a slight increase in suicides.

As we step forward to just 3 years, it’s now 2006 and Facebook and Twitter have now gone public as well. Some could say that this was a game-changer when it came to social media as there were multiple platforms that people could utilize to stay in touch with friends and family. The drawback is at the same time people learned fake profiles, anonymous usernames could be created and utilized for hate, cyberbullying, and other hateful acts.

Now, it wasn’t till about a year after that Twitter and Facebook began to take off. As each grew, so did their membership to the point Myspace began to decline, and until new platforms became available many people rushed to the big companies when it came to social media.  Again, as we look at the graphic suicide rates began to inch upwards, each year after 2006.

Now, from here on down I’m stepping into the realm of speculation.  I am sure I could do some additional research to find a multitude of papers on the dangers of social media and what it does to society. However, I’m going from my own experiences as someone who grew up with the precursor of social media and back previous to the world wide web growth.

I’ve seen how over the growth of the internet people really do not communicate. You are going, wait how can you say that, I text, I use messenger, I use Twitter, I use FaceTime, and so much more. The fact is, its not true communication in the sense we do not really talk to each other. We use a device to type words to each other. The emotions in those words can be lost no matter how many emoji’s, smiley faces, or memes that can be used. There is nothing like seeing the emotions those real words have on someone’s face. Do your words bring joy, laughter, smirks, tears, hate, or a multitude of other emotions.

I theorize that as we grow more and more inclined on using technology as our main form of communication we will get desensitized to real emotions. We could find ourselves laughing at someone we bring to tears. We may even make fun of the person for reasons we do not understand just as we forget to act, talk, deal with REAL emotions.

It is here that I firmly believe lies partially the primary reason for the suicide rate. In truth, I somewhat wonder if due to this if it doesn’t lead to other social ills such as the shootings that have been plaguing the country.

Now, wait how can I make such a conclusion? In my mind, it is rather simple. The more we escape our real world, our real problems, or real emotions to one that is found thru the acceptance of an online world the more people suffer. Humans want acceptance, we want friends, no matter how much of a loner we are, we still want some form of recognition. It’s when those dreams are busted when hate and ridicule become our world that it brings out the negative in us.

A great example is looking at social media platforms that low anonymous user names. You can look and see people ridiculing others, using names and terms that they’d never (well hope they wouldn’t) use when talking to a person one on one. It’s even worse when people do it using their real name when using a platform like Facebook.

The thing that really bothers me about this all is so many adults, be it a parent to a celebrity we call for civility. We want all the bullying to stop but look at the example that the “adults” set for the younger generations. If your political ideology differs you call others names, break off friendships, call for boycotts, and other things. As adults, we throw mixed messages at the young generations. It’s a case of doing as I say, not as I do.

Hey, wait are you not off track? How does this lead to suicide and other behaviors that are so anti-social?

Again, to me, the answer is obvious. This all plays out so much on social media. The platforms were originally created to share with friends and family. Instead, they are deemed to be used more to spread hate, ridicule, judgment and other forms of hate. Things that people pick up on and can lead to depression. If you see the world around you as a lonely world, a hate-filled world, a world of judgment how can one stay sane? It’s not like we can openly share our emotions as we will be seen as weak, a loser, a crybaby and all those negative connotations that come with it.

This thus leads to other antisocial behavior, a lashing out, and finding a TOOL to make others pay for the feelings and emotions that have bottled up for so long. It doesn’t help that the media puts these events all over the news. So, those clambering for the attention we cannot find online, get the attention we may want in another form thru murder, suicide, and other crimes as the news will share it with everyone. If the news doesn’t do it, well you can count on a story getting thrown around on social media.

The long conclusion here is that although there are many great assets to social media, is that we have forgotten how to be really social. We really need to put down the phones, the tablets, step out from behind the computer and just talk. Find reasons to remember what REAL EMOTIONS are and not emojis, smileys, and memes. Instead make it a real smile, a laugh, even a good cry and really understand where a person is coming from. If we can find a way to change one person, it can spread and maybe just maybe those suicide numbers will drop.

NOTE:

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and other mentioned companies are not owned by me and are owned by their own companies. I have no ownership within either. They are only referenced as examples of social media and no blame should be placed upon them for comments made upon their platforms by their users.

The emotions graphic is from the public domain from Pixabay.com

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Posted by on September 5, 2019 in Personal

 

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Strong Legs and a Lesson

My original plan was to write a post on a book review but then I saw something that had me change my tactics. The source too many is hated and one of the worst news sources in the world, and that is Fox News. So, what could I find from there that would have me creating a blog post? I’m sure there are a lot of ideas running in people’s heads, but I’m sure they are in most guesses wrong. The title of this post may have given an idea, but what brought me to this post is simple. Her name is Janice Dean; she is a meteorologist for Fox News and most importantly has Multiple Sclerosis.

I’ve posted many blog posts about my struggles and issues with that disease but what I saw there had me change plans for this week. You see some viewer asked Janice Dean to stop letting Fox dress her as the skirts were not flattering on her. I got to say I have not watched Fox News in sometime, and to be honest I do not watch any major news outlet. I only saw this story due to the fact she does have MS, and I got to say she handled it gracefully. The key thing she let that body shamer know that she’s proud of who she is and those strong legs. In her response she pointed out that she was diagnosed with MS about 10 years ago, and of course told the viewer if you do not like them you can turn the channel.

This got me thinking about not just those out there that suffer with MS wishing they still had strong legs that would allow them to walk, but much more. I for one am thrilled that my relapsing MS is under control and my legs still allow me to move around. I personally know others who have lost their ability to walk and now either rarely go out, or use a wheel chair.

Now, I want to get more to the point of this posting and bring up one of the best lines from Janice Dean’s response. The line was, “you can always turn the channel”. What makes this so interesting to me? It points the most logical thing a person can do if they do not like something, and that is turn the channel. I mean she’s not breaking any laws here so if they do not like it the option is to turn the channel. The option isn’t to boycott the station, call for a national boycott or even threaten her more so she changes what she wears.

I know what I said in the last sentence seems like a leap, but that is the world we now find ourselves in. If someone does not agree with a perceived way of thinking groups will threaten, boycott, or worse cases cause harm. It doesn’t matter the political stance of a person, or group, it’s the fact they want that offending person to pay for not thinking like they do. It’s an epidemic and makes me think that there are simple options to the issue. If you don’t like it then “turn the channel”. I know not all cases are so cut and dry but really is it that necessary to create hate, and loathing.

I mean here we are as adults saying we need to stop bullying in the in children but what type of example are we adults setting. We sit behind keyboards, smart phones, social media and other devices to speak of hate. We want a business put out of business, thus destroying not just an owner that may be the issue but all that work for them. We will threaten people with death threats; put up internet pictures of death or violence. We will even cut off long term friendships for a disagreement because they do not think the right way.

So I realize I’ve come a long way from Multiple Sclerosis and have gotten a connection to bullying. It however is in away fitting that these things are connected. We live in a society that pledges that we accept the differences of others, that we should be free to think as we wish. However, we instead shout down those differing views if they do not fit a specific ideological opinion. We scream and yell at others before even taking a moment to try and understand them.

To be brutally honest, to me there is one simple cause for much of this. It’s that simple thing that helps us all connect at same time divides. It’s social media as we have forgotten how to truly talk to each other. A simple message about someone’s looks can create the need for Janice Dean to respond to shame. A simple message can bring hundreds, if not thousands, down on a person for daring to think differently. It is really easy to do so much of this HATE when you are not looking into someone’s eyes. You do not see how your actions can hurt and scar a person when you are not up close and personal.

I’m going to end this post here as I hope it gets people to think. I mean when was the last time you actually sat and talked with someone? Do you talk to friends, or family, more over a messaging device over face to face or a phone? Ask yourself what kind of examples are we adults setting for children when we take everything so personally? Just stop and think on those questions. I’m hoping this post does not create hate as it’s not the cause, but who can say. I’m asking people to stop and think and I’ll add now if I see hate coming in comments they will be deleted. I’m not one to continue the cycle but asking people to think. Even better for those things you find so upsetting instead of attacking and wishing death, try telling them you love them and hope they rethink their opinion. Let love show that it can conquer the hate by turning that hate to love over hate. If I’m lucky some will read this and realize what I am saying in this long winding post.

**Note the two links in the article will take you to an opinion piece by Janice Dean, the other an article from Forbes on the dangers of lack of human interactions.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2018 in Multiple Sclerosis

 

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Ten Plus One Questions with Author Julianne Snow

Julianne SnowNormally I try to give you a bit of information on the author before letting you dig into the questions and those answers. The great thing about Julianne she did some of my work for me by providing some great information about herself. So let’s begin.

Julianne Snow is the author of the Days with the Undead series and Glimpses of the Undead. She is the founder of Zombieholics Anonymous and the Co-Founder and Publicist at Sirens Call Publications. Writing in the realms of speculative fiction, Julianne has roots that go deep into horror and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. With pieces of short fiction in various publications, Julianne always has a few surprises up her sleeves. Be sure to check out The Carnival 13, a collaborative round-robin novella for charity which she contributed to and helped to spearhead which was released in October 2013.

Now onto those wonderful questions and Julianne’s answers. At the bottom of this post you will find a list of how and where to find her online.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Glimpses of the Undead?

Glimpses of the Undead is a collection of short stories that I had either had rights reverted back to me or that I wrote specifically with a collection in mind. Essentially, I wanted to present a view into my mind and give readers a taste of the different incarnations of the undead I had rolling around. Stories range from very short to longer in length and feature horror, humour, and even a little erotica…

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?

Honestly, not really. When I’m writing, sometimes a name will come to me and I’ll use it. Other times, I’ll change the name when the story is completed. Very rarely does the character’s name take a more important role than what the character does.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?

One of the stories is set very close to home so I did draw on my memory of the location to ensure that if you were to visit my high school, you’d find yourself immersed in the location and the story as it unfolds.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I absolutely devoured pretty much anything put in front of me as I was growing up, but my favourites included the works of L. Frank Baum who made the world of Oz possible, the works of Marion Zimmer Bradley, as well as works by Poe, Christopher Pike, and Lovecraft.

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

I’ve heard from many of my fans who enjoy my short spurts of the undead. Though admittedly, many of them want to know if the individual stories will be developed into something longer at some point. The answer to this is—you never know!

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?

Excitement at the realization of a dream!

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

I write all the time 🙂

Question 8: What is the message you are want people to take away from the book?

There’s no real message I want people to get from reading my short fiction—I just want people to enjoy themselves.

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

Well, I’d have to say that I’d like them to live… My characters tend to become like family to me.

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

There is no dedication 🙂

The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

I’d love to go to the UK and promote my work – I think that would be fantastically awesome!

 

Social Media Links:

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Interview

 

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Friends or Acquaintence

I’m going to start this out by saying in no way am I trying to point fingers at anyone as I’m just as guilty as many others.  Personally, part of my problem is that I’m a private person.  I’m the type of person that people can trust with any secret with the knowledge it will be kept.  Just the shear number of things I got told in High School and College could make me rich if I was the type of person to use that knowledge.  However, at the same time I do not confide in others the same way.  The reason being I had done that in my past and after 1 to many bad experiences will not do so again. So, you can see from that description I may not be the best at making friends but will fight to keep the few I have made.

So to me I sometimes find myself wondering about Social Media and how those that you reconnect with are called friends. I know that with popular games people will add any strangers so they can to grow that groups membership.  This to me makes sense as I even do this practice.  However, what about those people that you actually go and look for or find you?  Are they really friends or just “Lost Souls” that may or may not really reach out to reconnect?  Are they adding you to show that they care about their old classmates or just because you where there?

I ask these questions to make people ask questions. It’s not a case of do I really want to be their friend but why did I reach out and add them?  Have I made any attempt to connect or talk to them?  They live within the same city as me; I should look them up and call them.

See things are all things we may think of doing but we often do not.  It’s so much easier to read a status message, look at pictures and read the info then really reach out.  Maybe we are afraid of the answer.  It’s probably the same reason we can interact so much better over bites and bits then face to face.  There is less physical and emotional attachment as you cannot see their facial expressions and emotions.  Is it maybe that you literally know nothing about them and have a fear of asking questions or not having anything in common?

I for one again, know that I’m am guilty of this and maybe it’s because I’ve lived so many years keeping to myself that I’m used to this.  I do let people get to see the person I am through these posts.  I also share my stories and other writings through contributing on HorrorAddicts.net, but even there I use an Alias.

So, what’s the point to this? I guess it’s simple for me to understand but confusing to others.   The point is to let people know that you are not alone. I see people I haven’t talked to in years on the internet and because of who I am may NEVER make the step to reach out.  I’ve had experiences in the past I do not want to relive.  I’ll read the posts, the blogs and the updates.  I’ll comment when I feel it’s important but not much more then that.  I put enough of myself into my writings that if people wish to know me they’ll get an idea through that.  If they wish to know more, well just ask.

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2011 in Personal

 

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