I want to hug you in real life.

Do you know one of the main things that frustrates me about the internet and social media in general? That some of the people I really would love to do life with often live miles away. People who I have connected with strongly are so far out of reach. How I wish I could turn my virtual hugs into real ones.

I have met some really incredible people via the internet. I get to follow some really inspiration women who have truly blessed my life. Some without knowing have got me through some extremely dark times.

I have had conversations with people that may not have happened in real life. Some finding vulnerability safer on line than in real life. Sharing their hearts filling mine with strength and courage.

I have been challenged by perceptions I would not have seen without the internet. Opinions and reasoning set out allowing me to educate myself without prejudice. Knowledge being as always the greatest power.

I have been inspired by those doing life in the only way they know how. Sharing the good, the bad and the ugly giving me freedom to admit to the reality of my life. The pain, the struggle.  Whilst not always easy  but celebrating the joy and the magic of the moments.

Yes the internet does have a dingy side, a side where bullying and trolling has its slimy place but these cowards can stay hiding behind their keyboards because they don’t scare me. Validation isn’t found in their mean nasty words.

Validation is found in your army, your keyboard warriors who stand beside you each day. Who reach out across the fibre optics across the broadband and reminds you that you have got this.

We have this.

But I do get frustrated at times, how I wish I could arrange one mighty dinner party and invite you all. Get to hear the laughter rather that read the ha ha’s or the lols. To give the hugs instead of virtually receiving them. To just be surrounded by all you weird and wonderful people.

But until then I’m celebrating the gift of the virtual world, the expanse of the internet and all you incredible people that I get to call friends.

My friends.

Stop and think before you publish

Sometimes I wonder about this world of social media and question if the reality of it is actually a good thing.

Yes we can communicate a lot faster and over oceans and continents. No more waiting for the postman to arrive or for telegraphs to be sent.

Yes we can open our circle of friends a lot wider and learn so much more than ever. Be part of support groups or fan clubs that we would never have managed before.

But like everything it life it has a contrast.

Words can be spurred easily from behind a computer screen.

Words that maybe people would think twice about saying in person are now flown out across Facebook pages, twitter and so much more.

Sometimes yes those words can and are used to lift people up but as I have been finding recently they are more often used to tear others down.

Now I am not saying each and everyone is entitled to there own opinion but I always go by the presumption of innocence before guilty.

Yet the mob mentality that is becoming part of this virtual world seems to be leaving this behind.

Children are being bullied to their deaths. They are hounded by those they know but also by those who have jumped into a thread or comment line for fun.

Lives are being ruined by malicious gossip that once written can never be removed.

Trolls are invading people’s minds and hearts for little more than a reaction.

I remember years ago reading accounts of trials by media and the consequences that was often brought about by them. Now it’s trial by social media.

I know many of you may be thinking that we still have liability laws for protection, but let’s be honest a tweet, an email, a video can now go viral in minutes.

Liability after the fact is still to little to late.

Damage control can only go so far.

Once it’s out there you CANNOT get it back.

Now I’m not saying lets boycott all the social media sites, I’m not saying this at all. In fact it’s well known I am a lover of social media sites and you will find me spending many hours on them. They have helped me share my story, meet new people and even been (are) my support network.

What I am saying is we all need to have accountability.

Let us know the full story before we write that tweet or post that update.

Let us be aware of the full picture before we join in on a witch hunt or a bullying episode and to be honest let’s not anyway.

Lets be sure of what position we hold before we like a post or retweet a tweet.

You may not have written the words yourself but you endorse them with your promotion.

Have your own opinion before you validate another’s.

Lets be accountable.

It isn’t easy and as a social media lover I don’t want there to be restrictions to the use of social networks but what I do want is there to be quick and severe consequences for those who abuse it.

I do want protection in place for our children who have yet to learn the savagery of the real world or the true consequences of their actions.

This isn’t about the squashing our freedom of speech.

We are all entitled to our own opinions but we also have to be able to stand by them.

Speak the truth

Know your heart

Before you touch that keyboard.

Be accountable

I know do.

Do you?

“Truth without love is brutality, and love without truth is hypocrisy.”
― Warren W. Wiersbe