Friday, 24 February 2017


As I drove to work this morning I listened to a report on Radio Scotland discussing the fact that our current generation of teenagers are more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression & mental illness than ever before. Findings concede that among the reasons for this were exam stress, peer pressure & the unrealistic expectations put upon them by social media. I wasn't surprised. As someone whose life revolves around social media (from my job in digital marketing to this blog to my demanding & time consuming addiction to Twitter), I've often thought about how different Ava's teenage years will be compared to mine. Back in the days when Yahoo was your main search engine, BEBO was all the rage and you had to plug your computer into the wall & wait for a dial up tone before you could use it, it was a different time.

Ava has been born into an age of social media addiction. And I don't get excited at what she has to look forward to. Perfect yet probably photoshopped size 0 bodies being paraded in front of her every time she logs onto Instagram. Cyber trolls and group internet bullying on Twitter. Sexual predators who use Facebook Messenger to groom teenage girls for their own disgusting perversions. The list goes on... However the internet can be an informative, fun & forward thinking place. It's given me a career. The blog allows me the odd perk like free gin or a meal in a nice restaurant and it's supplied me with voucher codes when the lure of that gorgeous Agent Provocateur bikini or the Breton T Shirt became too enticing. But it also has a dark side. And when you spend a good part of your life avidly online, you become very aware of that.

I've received strange & unsettling emails at three in the morning from an anonymous blog reader who refused to say who he was yet thought it acceptable to tell me he knew where I lived. While I've only been on a handful of Tinder dates, I know others who've been catfished or tricked into meeting someone who wasn't the person on their profile picture. Only recently, after tagging my location in three different Instagram photos over the course of one day, I received a private message from a guy I had already asked to leave me alone jesting with rather sinister undertones that he could have spent the day following me around if he'd wanted to. And you know what?

He's right.

He probably could have. 

We are told endlessly to keep our profiles private, not to divulge when we go on holiday and to switch our location settings off. But as a blogger who uses her social media platforms as a way to drive more traffic towards her blog, it feels contradictory to hide my social handles away like that. So what do we do? I don't know. My Twitter is very much a blog profile. My handle is the name of my blog and my header is my logo. It's a vehicle to push my brand and to make sure people read my latest post. But most of my tweets still remain vastly personal. Instagram is where I get my kicks. I love posting photos of my latest kitchen creation, releasing tension with some cheesy, cliched quote or posting videos of our adventures together on the stories function. But when I make these platforms private I risk losing out on potential blog readers. And that just ain't my bag ladies & gents.

One social media platform I'm not particularly fond of is Facebook. It has no links to my blog and I don't see it as a way of promoting that side of my life. And so I hit the deactivate button a few days ago. And I've never felt freer. I always found it difficult to venture onto my timeline without getting angry. I already know half the people I've met through the years are idiots. I don't need reminded every night as I do my evening scroll. I cringe at some of the posts I see. The attention seeking and passive aggressive status updates. The alarming reminder that racism and xenophobia are still so alive and kicking in our small nation. The pathetic & drunken political 3am rants that make no sense and cause you to roll your eyes in frustration. The majority of my boyfriends have had no interest in having a Facebook account and that is just the way I like it. The truth is I've always found grown men who scour their Facebook timeline instantly upon wakening and who post bad quality videos with terrible sound at music concerts a little bit sad. I understand this is grossly unfair given the prevalent and constant activity of the female sex on Facebook. But if it helps, I judge them too...

And so my Facebook is gone. For now. And you can eye roll as much as you like. You can point out that I've simply 'deactivated it' and that I'll be back in a couple of months. You can laugh and shake your head at the the prospect that this social media addict is actually going to delete it as soon as she's moved all her photos over to DropBox. You can accuse my recent departure and then boasting about it on the blog as being just as attention seeking as the Facebook posts I so vehemently criticise.

And you might very well be right.

But I really hope you're not.


Rosie said...

I deactivated my Facebook account last year and I honestly haven't missed it one bit. One of the best things is being able to have conversations with friends about what they've been up to and be genuinely surprised because you haven't already seen it mapped out online. Enjoy your freedom. I bet you won't look back.

Dawn Young said...

Yes exactly! It got to the point where friends were just expecting me to know what was happening in their lives because they were my friend on Facebook. Which is just silly! X

Ananyah said...

Whoever is messaging you in f-ing creepy. Does he actually think you'd date him after his creepy attempts/threats of "woeing" you? Twat.

Years ago, I learnt never to broadcast publicly my location or whereabouts prior to attendance after a woman (yes!) turned up to the beauty salon I had an appointment at and said she was my mother and looking for me.

My mom didn't know I had this appointment and would have called me rather than suddenly turn up. Thankfully I was running late so called the salon who informed me of this. Needless to say I was creeped out and refused to "check in" to a location if alone until after I left the actual place. Different if with Ross or crowds.

Now, I don't check in as much as I used to because quite frankly, you have no idea who is next to you!

Not sure I could deactivate Facebook as it's one of the main ways I keep in touch with friends from Kuwait/Singapore/Aberdeen. Well done you though! I'm a social media addict with no end in sight!

Dawn Young said...

That is very creepy! I've already had to log back in twice (once to fix my Spotify and a second time to get a photo to update the blog), so perhaps I will keep it deactivated rather than deleted for a little while longer.... xx