Avoiding Social Media Pseudo Support System

Don’t be fooled by social media! Social Media can be nothing more than “Pseudo” support. It can, at times, be more harmful than good. What are some of the pitfalls we should avoid? How can we use social media as a “positive” part of a recovery program?

It does not need to be said that technology has taken over the world! Even though I just said it, it’s true! We are more connected to each other than any other generation in human history. Cell phones, tablets, and laptops Oh-my! And the number one way of being connected today is through social media. Do you have any social media accounts? Chances are you do: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, or other gazillion networks offer a social media format.

(Please be extremely careful with your personal, precious data. There are unscrupulous minds mining minds and data for not-so-nice reasons. Don’t be dumb with your data.)

However, “The Mental Health Community” has benefited immensely by social media! Look at the way we share and support our peers with tweets and updates to hundreds and/or thousands of followers and Facebook friends. Sometimes it is easy to tweet or post about our particular problem. But do we have an expectation of real support from our followers or friends?

The pitfall of social media and mental health support…
If you believe you are getting ALL the mental health support you need from your social networks ~ you may be in for a rude awakening. I see this a lot with the many social media mental health groups. The scenario is played out over and over again when someone is in crisis, they write about that crisis in hopes of support and wait for comments or someone to validate them with “likes”, “shares” or “retweets” only to have NO ONE respond.

What went wrong? There was an expectation of compassion. There was an expectation that someone would care.  These expectations were falsely built on a pseudo support system. Yes, Peers may be led to believe that if no reads/responds to their post, then they are being completely ignored or even shunned. Here are a few examples of recent posts in one of these public support groups:

I’m sad, I post so many things on my Facebook for mental illness. It hurts and upsets me and angers me that there r no likes or comments. I’ve suffered for fifteen years with depression. How can people just ignore it ignore me when I’m ill.
Not been funny or Anything this group has gone down hill big time….thought it was a group to get advice from….all people are doing is posting rubbish think I’ll leave this group and find another that’s actually gunna give us support.

How can we use social media as a positive part of a recovery program?

Using social media as your main support system for mental health recovery is like hang gliding with the $.99 store kite. It may be able to catch some air for a few seconds but when the full weight of the issue is brought to be bare on the kite… it folds up and rips apart giving no real support on heavy issues.

In other words, when you’re using social media and have no expectation of support, yet appreciate any support given that is an effective tool. Remember that Social Media is nothing more than Pseudo supporters from peers who may have all greatest of intentions and many times can give rock-solid gold-nuggets of support…but it has its limits too. In fact, you may have developed deep and long-lasting relationships with such peers. Making social media friends can be a positive reinforcement of your support mental health system.

Sadly, this is not always the case as with the examples above. We may overwhelm social media friends expecting some type of acknowledgment or support immediately. While forgetting the world does not revolve around us. There are many reasons why someone may not acknowledge your every word posted and we should not hold grudges against those that may not “publicly” support every solitary thing we write.

We cannot hold our friends responsible for our wellness or support! We can only lean on them. So how can you use social media as a positive force for your mental health recovery? Know your friends, and know your acquaintances. Create a small group of like-minded friends who you trust!

Trust and safety are key! Be selective. Choose Good-for-You-Friends (Kindness counts!) and Be a Good Friend on & offline. The Golden Rule…”Treat Others the Way You want to Be Treated” works well toward all.

Things can get hazy on line. We need to be able to clearly identify “real” support from pseudo support. Stay Well. Stay Safe! Stay Supported! 🙂

Mental Health humor peer to peer support by chato b stewart
Cherish Real Peer to Peer Support!


p.s. (please note: this is an updated/revised/renovated post from June 18, 2013 @ 18:34 )

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