Dear Social media users

Dear Social Media Users

The power we have at our fingertips should be used wisely. Our words now hold so much more force than ever before. The whispers between friends are now being shared across the globe, gone is the ears of few now to the ears of millions.

Growing up I was lucky to have a wise grandad who once told me “don’t say what you wouldn’t want sharing across a room”. I don’t think he had in mind the expanse of the social media reach but I do feel the concept, the sentiment is the same.

If we realise that nothing we share on these platforms is private maybe then we will less quick to press post, less willing to share.

I sometimes wonder if it’s a good thing, the way a persons innermost thoughts are now shared so widely. How opinions that have been in the shadows are now out in the open.

I worry about the influences on our youth, the perceptions they take as reality leaving them feeling inadequate, not enough.

The cultivation of hate, the rise of right wing hate, religious hateful ideology and the vicious muck spreading of lies. All finding itself a wider audience thanks to the power of virtual connection.

Yet still I don’t hate social media, I really don’t.

It has brought into my life some amazing people. People I wouldn’t have come across in my lifetime, separated by distance or just circumstances . It’s been an incredible resource on my late daughters disability and now my son’s. I’m learning, I have learnt more than I could have imagined most that I would have never have known without this source of knowledge.

It has created communities of support, raised awareness and reached out and brought love to those in need.

But personally I think it has come to a point that we now need to be reminded of authenticity. Times gone by a journalist couldn’t publish a story without having the evidence to prove its claim yet we have only got to look at the press of the recent times to know that this is no longer the case. Smear campaigns, lies and pure fabricated hate is shared across many communication mediums.

I wonder when the ability to write any old rhetoric got confused with the freedom of speech?

I wonder when one person’s opinion became fact?

When one persons fear became hate?

Should we be policing the internet, to be honest I don’t know?

As a person in this country we do have a right to think the way we wish. What we don’t have though is the right to act upon it if it causes harm to another, if it’s malicious in its intent. If it’s to incite hate?

So maybe thats where the policing needs to be, cracking down on those who abuse this form of communication. Those who troll, bully and intimidate others. Those who spread lies and feed the evil of this world. Police those that exploit the vulnerable, predators of any nature to all to face charges of a harsh kind. Intimidation, abuse, torture of any kind physical or virtual should come with the same punishment, a hard one.

But beyond all of this we as people have an obligation to each other to remind ourselves that what we say can be heard beyond the room. That by the words we use, the posts we share we take a responsibility for the substance. We cannot say we did not know anymore, we did not realise.

Ignorance is no longer a defence.

Let’s use social media for the communication it should and can be, one of joy, one of upliftment and one of knowledge.

Be truthful and be kind.

Many thanks

Sara

Choosing not to write

Sometimes I choose not to write, not to throw my hat into the arena of comments and opinions. I virtually bite my tongue and stay quiet.

 

Not because I don’t have an opinion, I do, but I just don’t know enough.

 

I don’t know the real situation behind the headlines or gossip.

 

I don’t know the real people behind the photos or blog posts.

 

Being behind the computer gives us an opportunity to be.

 

A place where we can be ourselves and let our voices be heard.

 

But I ask the question, are we who we say we are?

 

Sometimes I read stories and blog posts and wonder, did that really happen?

 

Is their life really that perfect?

 

So many times we create ideas and ideals that people cannot or shouldn’t try and live up to.

 

Then we feel disappointed when we meet them in real life or the truth is unearthed.

 

But whose fault is that, have we created our own opinion or have they created one which isn’t true to what we now see.

 

So when the news headlines fill my screens or the television is full of the latest reality television show, I simply switch off.

 

I will not form an opinion of another from another’s words, I want to meet, feel and listen to their heart. 

  

Only then when I know the full story, 

Will I choose to speak,

Choose to write.

I have the Blues

 

I think I have a bit of the post conference blues.

 

At the Brit mums weekend I was Sara and I loved it.

 

As much as I cherish being mom sometimes I lose my identity under the piles of dirty washing and endless tantrums.

 

My job also doesn’t really give me a place to be Sara as a foster carer parenting is my job, which yes I love but hey where am I?

 

Maybe it just a case of the blues, that will soon pass over, or maybe its the inner me shouting a little louder than normal.

 

While we all love our roles of mother, wife etc we still need to remember that we are ourselves too.

 

To indulge in our passions be in it books, nights out, nights in. 

 

Whatever we desire, need.

 

I need to take this on board more. 

 

I need to not wait for those once a year weekends to embrace the woman inside.

 

This doesn’t detract from the roles I play it enhances them.

 

A happy mom makes for happy children.

 

A contented wife has a contented husband

 

 

So I’m make a new resolution (no its not new year) I’m going to celebrate me a little more, indulge me a little more, embrace me a little more.

 

I’m going to step out of the roles that have been defining me and learn more about the woman within.

 

I’m sure she is still there somewhere?

 

 Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all. Hans Christian Anderson

Britmums Live – My conclusion

I have spent the last week digesting all that I learned over the weekend at Britmums Live. Some of it inspired me, some of it left me cold but my conclusion is this….

 

Blogging is a world that’s growing at a incredible rate and it’s becoming a vast sphere of opinions and ideas. Its a place was our voices are now being heard and where our opinions now matter.

 

What I was reminded of last weekend at Britmums Live was that our voices need to be true, be authentic, be real. That we hold a responsibility to be accountable for what we write.

 

Never try to be someone you are not. Being yourself is what gives the passion to your words.

 

Reviews, sponsorship, advertising they are all fine but please believe in the product you are promoting. 

 

Stay true to you!

 

Your blog is YOUR voice so let YOU  be heard.

 

Believing in myself

Today one of my daughters told me off. I was moaning about how nervous I was for this weekends Brit mums live when she told me straight.

 

“mom if you don’t believe in yourself how do you expect others too.”

 

Bang, right in my face!

 

How true , here I am harping on about my nerves probably making you all think I’m some kind of sloppy wimp.

 

When the fact is that’s not true.

 

Ok I’m not an overly outgoing person but I can and do generally chat to anyone, anywhere.

 

I have spoken in public numerous times on different subjects and do actually really enjoy it.

 

I also liaise with professionals from all walks of life on a weekly if not daily basis.

 

I am the co-founder of a charity  Livvy’s Smile which is growing fantastically and have hosted and organised numerous events.

 

I’m also a writer both here and in other places including the Compassion UK Blog and fostering publications.

I’m also a mom to four incredible girls and a foster mom to one young man.

And to top it all off I’m also in the Brilliance in Blogging Inspire category final with Brit Mums, how about that.

 

So come on girl pull yourself together. 

 

One gigantic kick up the bum coming my way.

 

So from now on I’m stepping forward with a new attitude.

 

I’m going to start believing in myself more.

 

And in the words of  Babe Ruth

 

Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back. – Babe Ruth

 

 

I’m excited for Brit Mums Live

So on June 22nd, I’m packing my suitcase and heading off to  London our fair capital city. It’s a weekend I’m so looking forward to. I’m heading to Brit Mums Live an amazing conference for bloggers. 

Yet while I’m excited I’m rather nervous. I’m attending the event solo, not knowing anyone is going to be rather strange but hey ho nothing ventured nothing gained. 

 

The conference is offering so much that I am going to find useful it is going to be hard to choose between the workshops I want to attend. I’m still trying to decide but with the  choices thats on offer its not going to be an easy decision.

 

The workshops and speakers offer so much, i’m sure i’m going to learn loads.Maybe its time that I did start paying attention to stats and things, see how technical I sound ha ha. Seriously  though it looks like its going to be a conference for those who want to know more and  for those like me with their head in the sand.

I am excited to hopefully learn some savvy tips that will help me here and over at my alter ego Livvy’s Smile. 

One thing that’s really added to my excitement of this event is making the final of the brilliance in blogging awards in the Inspire category, this has left me glowing inside since the announcement I can tell you that. I’m really looking forward to meeting the other finalists as I admire their writing tremendously.

 

So hotel is booked, train tickets too, now I need to attend to the most pressing issue of it all. 

 

What in the world shall I wear? 

 

I’ m thinking smart casual is the way to go, not business like but not hanging around the house casual. I’ve been through my wardrobe twice and can’t find anything suitable so it looks like a shopping trip is in my future. Clothes can make a big difference to your confidence and I’m so going to need that extra boost. These are the excuses I’m trying on my husband anyway.

 

So as the countdown to the event begins, are you all ready? 

 

Have you got your wardrobe planned? 

 

Are you going solo?

 

Are you nervous like me?

 

So ignoring the nerves and lack of suitable wardrobe I am seriously looking forward to Brit Mums live. I’m sure I’m going to leave with some new blog know how and hopefully some new friends. 

 

See you there!!! 

 

*P.S  If you are nervous, don’t worry, I’m sure someone mentioned wine.

 

 

 

 

I’m considering becoming a hermit

Ok maybe the title of this post is a little extreme but I am finding myself increasing enjoying my own company more than ever.

Having time to work through my thoughts.

Reading books and having the time to digest the meanings.

No small talk

Quiet time in conversation with God.

Journaling to my hearts content.

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Ok ok being truthful I couldn’t become a hermit. I need my daily fix of cuddles and smooches.

But it is nice once in a while to have some time out.

Since Christmas I have taken a step back from social networking, my mobile phone, my laptop.

It didn’t start out as an intentional thing just an escape from feeling overwhelmed . I couldn’t keep up, my twitter feed was out of control. Tweets on events that I had completely missed out on. Situations with friends that had just bypassed me in the numerous irrelevance that I was following.

Facebook was the same how can one person have over 100 notifications in a day, I’m so not that popular, just group updates etc etc

My email box looked scary, I just began to avoid it.

So I took a step back. Decided that if it was important I would deal with it but if not I would let it go.

Refusing to check my accounts no more than 5 times a day rather than every 5 minutes.

Radical maybe ha ha but I survived and I’ve thrived.

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I’ve read whole books in one sitting rather than a couple of chapters while checking twitter.

I held conversations with my children without checking my phone just in case.

I’ve watched DVDs snuggled on the sofa with my husband, no pausing or losing the plot just to return this email.

I’ve been present in my life. In the here and now with the person I’m standing with, not allowing half of my mind to be whirling around in cyberworld.

In the silence I have began a journey of reminding myself of who I am and who I wish to be.

I’m not really ever going to become a hermit but I have and will be continuing with the changes I have made.

Being present in your loved ones life’s is so much more important that being present in the virtual world.

Lesson learned.

“Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.” — Tennessee Williams

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.” — Henry David Thoreau

Kindness

Have you ever been really disappointed not in an angry way just a deflated I thought better way?

I am feeling this way, those times when I read comments on Social networks from people who seem to feel they have a right to interfere in others lives. A right to bear judgement. I just want to scream “walk a step in their shoes.

Why is it that we all seem to think its our right to comment, abuse, condemn others? Why do we find it so hard to compliment, congratulate, uplift?

Don’t get me wrong there have been times when I’ve been bitterly disappointed in myself. Where I forgot to look at both sides of a story, got caught up in gossiping.

When I was little and about to whine about my brothers and sisters my grandad used to say to me, “young lady if you aren’t going to say something nice, stay quiet”. Wise words from a wise man.

Life is so precious but we all at times forget this. Imagine what the world would be like if people were more willing to build each other up instead of being quick to tear them down.

I know I’m going to make a conscious effort to stay quiet if my words aren’t kind and also to try and be uplifting in my comments and to give praise where due.

Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up. ~Jesse Jackson

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Trusting my own judgement

I love social networking. It’s brought out a side of me I didn’t know I had. Or if the truth be known I had lost under the weight of life.

I love the way I get to chat to random people. Who without the network sites I would have never come across. Separated by distance, culture and life.

My mom used to say you could leave me in a room of strangers and in half an hour I would have learned their life stories.

I love learning about others, meeting new people.

Yet the last few weeks the joy has been slipping away. I have found myself being caught up in judgements, arguments, dislikes etc etc.

I feel like I’m back at school hearing people saying “don’t talk to her”or “he’s not nice or “guess what they did “.

I hate it with a vengeance.

Life is so diverse that we are going to come across people who we don’t agree with. Who we won’t like and you know what that’s ok. But everybody deserved respect. To openly criticise someone’s way of life actually says more about you as a person than it does about them.

My grandad once told me that the best thing I could ever do is “remember there are always two sides to a story”. He also said that maybe both sides won’t actually concern me.

You know what he is right.

I believe social networking is creating paranoia in the world. People are sure that certain tweets, status updates are about them. I know I have felt this way to. Maybe they are but they is always a good chance they are not. The reality is does it actually matter.

If people like you they will seek out your friendship, if people don’t like you then fair enough they won’t. The truth is it’s not the end of the world.

I’m taking a step back and putting my social networking into perspective.

I love it and always will. But I am
not going to listen to the others opinions on others I’m going to trust my own judgement. Maybe I will lose friends, followers but at least I know I have shown the respect I wish for myself.

My hope is that in doing this I will find my joy again.