Social Media and Me – Virtual Friends or no Friends

After a day of shameless self promotion yesterday, via twitter (@gjwilliams78 for those who wish to follow, see more shameless self promotion!) and facebook (http://www.facebook.com/garry.williams.94849)  I managed to reach 3 figures in terms of people who have viewed my posts.. Now I know 100 people doesn’t seem a lot in the grand scheme of things but to me it was a magnificent feeling knowing people took a few minutes of their lives to focus on me. Or of course the flip side of that made me wonder one thing, does the number of times I view my own blogs count because i sure must’ve refreshed a lot 🙂

I was thinking about how big a part social media like facebook and twitter play in my depression. Do they help or hinder so I thought I’d share my experiences and together we can form a solution. Lets go back a bit into my past so we can see if maybe there is a reason I am so reliant on it.

As I mentioned before I was always a piss taker with a degree in sarcasm but I did always think at school that I was fairly popular, with a big group of friends. I used to go out 3-4 nights a week with my best friend Jack Daniels from Tennessee, sometimes his cousin Sambucca  would join us to really make the nights better. But alcohol issues aside having a child at 20 changed all day and slowly all my friends deserted me, or in a lot of cases I deserted them. I do not suffer fools gladly and tend to let someone disappoint me once before walking away from them, as my parents have found out but thats another story!

So one day about 4 years ago I got an invite from Amy to join Facebook so thought I would join and see what the fuss was about. I tried to reconnect with old school friends and found myself being ignored with friend requests – obviously I wasn’t as nice or popular as I thought. So I started playing this game called Mafia Wars and got hooked! Started playing everyday sending out 100s of friend requests to like minded fools who were as addicted as me to this game. I joined a family of people which meant I was making friends with something in common with me and started actually communicating with these people.

After a year in this particular group I decided to start my own family and become a Godfather! (to a mafia buff like myself this was great LOL). In September this family will be 3 years old and in this time I have become a virtual recluse rarely missing a single day on facebook to play mafia wars and interact with my new family which is 300 strong! Before the kettle goes on in the morning the PC is switched on to see what I may have missed overnight in my virtual world!

In “real” life I could honestly say I have 1 friend, besides my wife who is my best friend, on Facebook I am admired, respected and loved by people I will probably never ever met, barring that elusive lottery win when the party will be at my new mansion!. Who would’ve thought that my closed confident would be a grandmother from Texas who gives me motherly advice and a virtual clip around the ear when required! Someone I know if I need a talk, a moan even a vent I can message and expect her to be there for me when needed. Yet in real life I have no-one am I lonely in this aspect of life? Honestly yes I do feel alone at times I would give anything for a phone call one night saying “Garry want to go for a drink?”, aside from the fact I cannot afford a night out having the option would be great!

I am known as Paulie the Moose in mafia wars and spend my days alongside a mountain lion, chicks, dragons, dogs and a penguin who would have thought I would be so productive with my time! Does this make me childish that I enjoy this? Would my depression ease if I spent less time online? Or does this escape actually help? Most of my “friends” on facebook are on the other side of the pond and I find myself keeping their timezones just so i get their interactions.

I am still getting to grips with twitter despite being on there for 12 months. I mainly tweet about Arsenal but am beginning to change this. I have 250 followers but only about 4 people who have ever communicated with me. So what is twitter for? Is it a place where people seek validation based upon the number of followers they have? Is that what I am trying to do with twitter or even this blog?

Or am I simply using this as therapy? I would love to think someone has read my thoughts and recognised themselves in what I say and decide on getting help. Maybe thats my plan! To change the views of depression that its not a sign of weakness but something that a lot more people than we think suffer from. I was very pleasantly surprise by some comments and messages I received yesterday it made me feel good about myself that they could share things with me.

Another ramble over but I do have a question for you…

Why is it I told my wife about these blogs but have not let her read them?

Have a great day people! please feel free to share my posts with the world – ok I admit it I want validation too!
Garry

9 comments on “Social Media and Me – Virtual Friends or no Friends

  1. Very insightful Garry. Making friends is so hard, harder than in the past. I thinks lots of people use the internet for this reason. Friendship is so much easier here. You have me wondering if I should get out more and just practice conversation skills with people in the park.

  2. I love reading you, Garry. You’re so upfront and honest. Gawd I’ve missed you!

    Here’s a small piece of advice for you. Give Sheryl some computer time, Mooseman!

  3. I would like to show my thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this dilemma. Because of surfing around throughout the the net and finding principles which were not powerful, I assumed my entire life was well over. Being alive without the presence of approaches to the difficulties you’ve solved by means of your main write-up is a serious case, as well as the ones which might have in a negative way affected my career if I hadn’t come across your web blog. The expertise and kindness in maneuvering every aspect was precious. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t discovered such a thing like this. It’s possible to at this point look forward to my future. Thanks so much for your high quality and sensible help. I will not hesitate to propose your site to anybody who wants and needs guidance on this area.

  4. Pingback: Good Support Networks are Vital in Battle with Depression « garrywilliamsblog

  5. “Why is it I told my wife about these blogs but have not let her read them?”

    Fear of only the slightest hint of rejection? That’s what i’d feel when my partner would read my blogs. I don’t mind that my oldest daughte reads them (14), and comments on them. I know she will not make remarks.

  6. Hi ‘Moose’ I’m glad i stumbled apon your blog. Nice to meet you. i too have depression and panic etc, – i relate to the validation you spoke of,I think everyone has a sore spot for the want and need of validation.
    Congrats on the blog i look forward to talking with you.
    -Kerry

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