Why FaceTweet?

It has become almost fashionable recently to put down social media, mostly along the lines of "it's sad that you would want to relate to people online - that you wouldn't stop to talk to in the street"

or that you are somehow how unable to make personal contact and relate to people in person, hard copy face to hard copy face, because you are in someway socially inept.

And these people are often to be seen dipping in and out of said Social media - before pronouncing it all pointless - and in some way inferior. And by association that we who use it happily, are somehow inferior to these social elite.

And to that I say - who cares?

The point is that social media like Blogging, Facebook and Twitter have not replaced traditional communication and socialising, they have enhanced it.

And while I would have been previously limited to only meeting and engaging with people from a narrow common interest circle during the very small window of free time that my life allows me;

Social Media has not only expanded my social circles, it has expanded my world.

I have people I count as confidantes in Toronto, Los Angeles, London, Melbourne , Sydney and The Azores,

And I talk about everything from Fashion to politics to popular culture, racism, sexism, feminism, thrift shopping, parenting, world news, marketing, fund-raising and charity, clinical provision, grief, depression, disabilities, debilitating illness, technology, photography, art, make up, hair, shoes, national disasters, 30 Rock, Recovery and um, that youtube clip of the old dude barking.

Because let's face it, having your social antenna pointed towards one channel all the time gets REALLY boring!

In real life, as a relative newcomer to this country, I got to meet a lot of autism parents from one half of one comparatively provincial town; Dublin.

And while it is good to spend time with people who get the sleep/toileting/dressing/feeding/educational and clinical service provision battles; you can't always expect to get along with everyone from this group.
I was lucky, I met a great group of women very soon after my kids started in their old school and we still keep in touch. But I knew that they all had another circle of friends who did not come from "A World". School friends, old work mates and the parents of their other kids. Whereas I lived in Autism House, Autism Street, Autismland 24/7.
I made the most of it. But boy it was hard to escape.

At that time I did not work, and I didn't have the time to commit to a course or social club that might get me out and about.
And then along came facebook.

Tricked into signing up when my little sister sent me some photos to look at- I was very tentative at first having read all about Mark Zuckerberg and his plot to take over our minds and sell our souls to the devil, in return for playing Bejewelled-Farmville Cafe-land.

I still don't play fair; using a psuedonym on both my pages - I lie about my religion, location, some of my interests; and I limit the number of photos I upload and tag.

You will not be seeing my Kurt Geiger Clogs on any Chicworld image sharing site anytime soon.

Nor will I entertain long troll discussions or arguments about things. Sure, I feel comfortable stating my own point of view, but I am just as comfortable with listening to what others have to say and perhaps being influenced to change. I am not interested in digging in for a face off with anyone. If you feel that strongly about something that you want to hector and harangue people - well why don't you put the same effort into changing whatever it is. And leave me alone. Seriously.

But I like being able to give and receive support and entertainment at anytime of the day, from any corner of the world. And yes I did mean to write entertainment. Some of the people I friend and follow are hilarious! Some are really clever and witty and gifted at researching whatever it is they do.

And some find me just as witty and entertaining.

Which is nice. Particularly when everyone else in your house sees you as she who makes the sandwich or magics the dirty underwear clean or makes them get off their computer and go for a bath/walk/sleep.

And I love meeting them in person.

Yep, it is hard. Today I read the phrase "I couldn't get a 2 day pass" when one Tweeter explained to another why they were not at the latest Tweet-up event. Because their life, their kids, their partner and their work meant they could only get out to one event that week.

I can tell you, in the first few years I lived in this country - I was lucky to get out to one event a YEAR!

Nowadays, while I am still fairly limited by school nights and partner being home to babysit restrictions,  I can go to a couple of things a month. And really enjoy them because sure I know everyone who is going to be there already, as I'm always chatting to them (online.)

I even get to go out and meet up with "The Normals" these days. Where the topic is politics or media or marketing or technology or blogging for 90% of the time. And special needs or disabilities just sneaks in a bit.

And the other thing I love about Social Media? The people I Face-tweet and blog to, all give a damn.

There was a time, in the early years of being a Stay At Home Special Needs Mum; when my partner travelled.
And there were days when I wondered if anyone would notice if I fell down and hit my head while trying to do something really stupid with a wardrobe or other inanimate object that someone my size shouldn't mess with.

The kids might come and poke me a few times, then help themselves to whatever it is they needed, so it might have been a while before someone noticed the smell and called for help.

These days, if I went offline for more than half a day - there would be someone figuratively knock knock knocking on my wall and then texting me to see what I was up to.

If I was okay. Did I need anything.

I see it everyday in the community we have built. When there is a blogger down, everyone rallies around to help out - talkin' bout you WendyB and Sis'.

When there is a job loss, health issue or just a fuck-awful autismo day in Faceworld - there are 35 messages of empathy and support, rescue missions to take people out to the flicks and bunches of flowers to say - hey, we been there!

And I have often felt the delightful thump of a parcel coming through the letter box with chocolates, a scarf, jewellery, CDs, Chopsticks, PRADA Sandals! (too big but they cheered another blogger up in a swap) and my dear dear Mrs Doyle who always personally delivers her Wine and Dinner vouchers after she reads of my latest mis-adventure.

Now, tell me, Is any of that sad?



Make Do Style said…
Such a great post and so true. It does add to things and I agree the global friendships are a treasure - which reminds me I've forgotten to send K-Line her twiglet fix!
It's almost impossible to comment, cos you've touched on so many things in this post, Hammie! When the walls started to close in on me 13 years ago, I would have been lost without the internet, now even though I am physically stuck at home, virtually I feel I can be anywhere, it's a new kind of freedom :)
Jean said…
Yep...a whole new world is EXACTLY what the social media have gifted us with. I shudder to think of the black hole I would be in without it. T'riffic post XXX
Andra said…
Very positive blog and not a hint of sadness in sight!! Loving this post. xxx
Taz said…
My only wish is that facebook had been part of my world 5 years go when I was struggling to come to terms with Button's diagnosis and all that it entails. I would be in a very different place without my "virtual family"! Love this post!
Kim Wombles said…
Lovely post. :-)
Jen said…
I can honestly say that I wouldn't be where I am in autismland without the contact I have with our FB group, it has given me great perspective and I was lucky enough to find you all the day before diagnosis so had the benefit at a difficult time. This group has then led me onto a wider social circle in blogging and twitter and I don't consider myself sad at all, nor are any of my cyber friends, you included:) Jen
Petunia said…
Great post missus and so so true. I have made more good friends from my online contacts over the last year than I ever imagined I could! They are my virtual family and when we do meet on our nights out/coffee mornings, I feel like I've known them forever as talk more to them than my actual family! I remember reading your blog long before I actually met you and being so scared as was totally in awe of this woman who was changing the way I looked at life and helping me without even knowing she was. Little did I know at that time that I would end up being able to say that I count her as a friend :) Nothing sad whatsoever about social media :) xx
Nan P. said…
No, Hammie, it ain't sad. It ain't sad at all.

I hear you, I definitely hear you!
Truf said…
I've been wondering about how long until they notice the smell as well... On one memorable occasion 4 years ago hubby was in US for a week, and both me and my 3 year old got the flu (I was 7mnts pregnant then). I don't actually remember how we survived because the last 2 days were a blur. Being a SAHM is isolating, being a special needs SAHM is even more isolating, but add to that living in a foreign country without the support network of family and childhood friends, and (as we both know) you could just as well be on a desert island. Fair play to you for building not one but two virtual networks of friends!
K.Line said…
Awww - You are my fave person in Ireland! :-) And one of my faves in all the webworld. This system really does enrich our lives. I am SO grateful to have started a blog and fallen into the "trap" of social media.

And Kate, if you are reading, no rush on the Twiglets. You are a seriously busy woman. I'll be there when you get a moment. Thank you for thinking of me.
Jules said…
I love what have you just written. All of this is true and i like it. =D

The Brown Mestizo
jazzygal said…
You've said it all Hammie and have said it so well.

Sod the begudgers.... it's so easy to put down something that you don't like or don't understand but nobody should under estimate the power of social networking.

I too wish our network was around about six years ago! But, it's around now and I lkie being part of it, even if I don't need it the way others do. I do like to help when I can though.... maybe that's what I "need"? To help.

Fabulous post...the Hammie is BACK!! xx Jazzy
Anonymous said…
Brilliant post Hammie! I'm constantly amazed at the online community and how hilarious and supportive it is. I also love how much I learn from blogs like yours.
LDF said…
The inability to adapt to the changing world is a weakness in my view.
I'm pretty sure my parents would know nothig about my life if they didn't read my blog. haha
I got an email the other day that my Mom was now following me on Twitter! Egad.
Anonymous said…
Online relationships are a wonderful enhancement to my life and career orientation (if not life-saving). Cheering-on us all of us for making life better for each other.
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Popsie said…
I get that it's sad comment a lot from people. Its just a put down really, or maybe it's what people say when they can't figure out how to use it(social networking). I know if it wasn't for my kids I wouldn't have learned so much about everything. I can go out more now than I did as my little guy is gone till three but I still enjoy checking in online to see if there is anything new I need to know regarding autism services. Where would we be without it???
Lisamaree said…
Popsie: That's exactly why I remind people of this. Instead of closing off social media - embrace and use it widen your real world.
And where else would I find out about the best place to buy disposable batteries in Japan!- THANKS MONU!

Everyone else: Keep on Tweetin!