Saturday, 31 December 2016

My 2016. A hard political year and my changing views on social media.

I have to say, despite its bad press, that 2016 has actually been kind to me personally. I have had some fabulous times with family and friends, I still love my flat, I finally left the job I had been doing for over 10 years and didn’t like, and started a fantastic job, which I love. My health and weight is not totally sorted, but I am working on it. Finally, I have realised that I can be totally happy without a man in my life, and this is a good feeling. When I do meet someone suitable I know that they will have to be someone who can enhance my life.

Sadly this year has seen many deaths, not just celebrity deaths, though there has been so many of those, but deaths closer to home. Many of my friends have lost people this year and my heart goes out to them. It must be very hard when life goes on around you but you feel like your life has been irreparably altered in a bad way.

We have all noticed the huge numbers of people in the public eye who have died this year and I am not sure if it is a lot worse than normal or if social media has just broadcast these deaths in such a way that it seems more real, more tragic, more part of our lives? Maybe it is a combination of both? In a time where news is spread online, especially by social media, it may seem like life is worse because we know so much so quickly, so vividly and in so much detail, however, this year has been relentless.

We have also seen some ridiculous political mistakes in 2016. Firstly we saw the stupidity and nastiness which accompanied Brexit; a country divided by a referendum. We then went on to witness mass insanity as Donald Trump was elected president of the United States. A vile, racist, misogynist who openly promoted sexual assault! (My personal opinion.) I dread to think where politics will go in 2017, we can only wait and hope. We have seen the war in Syria escalate and millions of people dying, being injured, losing their whole lives and everything they lived for.

The saddest thing I have seen this year is the video of a professor from Aleppo basically saying goodbye to the world. As far as he was concerned the world had abandoned his country and his people and massacre was imminent. This professor was using, what seemed to be, a mobile phone to record and broadcast his message. This showed me that he once had a job as a professor, he had a mobile phone, and he was just like we are. What is there to stop this happening in Britain, in our lifetime? (It seems unimaginable, but maybe it did to the professor from Aleppo?) We need clever, strong, articulate, decisive people leading our country. We need people who are there for all people of all classes. I can’t imagine who would be like this, I can’t think of who would be able to do the job, but I do hope there is someone who will step up.

Sadly social media has played a part in the way people look at life. I certainly have spent far too much time on it in the past and, am ashamed to say, changed my Facebook profile picture to a sad one after a relationship ended. I would never do that now, but cringe that I ever did.

Don’t get me wrong, social media has a place in our modern lives, especially in keeping people connected who live in different countries. It is good for highlighting issues and making people laugh, but it must not be the ONLY way that people interact. There is nothing as good as sitting having a cup of coffee or a meal with friends and talking face to face.

I personally have taken off most of the pages and groups I followed on Facebook, deleted many people and am trying to put less on there. I had got into the bad habit (don’t ask me how it started) of putting on FB who I had coffee with, who I went walking with, which night out I had been to, who had come round for dinner or coffee and this was boring me, so it must have been boring others. I have stopped doing this after a discussion with a friend who had really studied the effects of social media on teenagers. It really made me think about things that I had been pondering for a while.

I do have to say that one thing that needs to stop on social media is making people feel guilty enough to “like” or share things. Liking a post will, sadly, not stop someone having a disability or cancer. No one should beg for likes because they are old or ill or want sympathy. No one has a need to show how fast a post can travel round the’s been done to death. Lastly, be careful what you share on social media. If the police put a lost child/ person post I will happily share it, however, a personal post may not be what it seems. Someone may not be allowed to see a child for valid reasons and they could track them down through social media if a picture was shared. If you know the person who put the original post and know it is genuine, that is not a problem. The same goes for potential criminals, share police posts only, what if it is someone with a vicious vendetta rather than a genuine post.

There is a fantastic piece online from a man called Simon Sinek. It is called Simon Sinek Explains the Millennial Paradox.  He discusses the younger generation, what they expect in life, their upbringing and how technology affects them. It is really worth going on to You Tube to watch. I only saw it a few days ago but it has made me think even more.

I think my message for 2017 is to think before you do anything, think of the impact on other people, the planet, and life in general. Be sensible but also have fun; be responsible but also be happy. Live your life to the full while still considering how it will impact those around you.

Happy New Year

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