Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Social Media During Chronic Times

Over the past two years of my illness I have become quite dependent on social media to keep me connected to the outside world. One good example of the usefulness of using social media to stay informed came yesterday after the East coast experienced an earthquake. At the time, I was at the grocery store just checking out at the register. Suddenly, two registers over, two ladies asked what that rumbling was. Where I was standing, neither I nor the lady at my register felt anything. The other ladies concluded that it must have been an earthquake. When I got to my truck I received a text message from my husband, who was working in Philadelphia that day, asking me if I felt the earthquake. I tried texting back but my texts were going through randomly so to him they made no sense, cell service was then interrupted. When I arrived home my neighbor was standing on the porch, looking rather shook up, and he too asked whether I felt the quake. I hadn't, darn, I missed it somehow! My first reaction upon entering the house was to grab my iPad and check my Twitter feed. Yes, indeed it was an earthquake! I can always depend on finding out about news events a lot faster via Twitter than to turn on the television. The tweets were coming in at a rapid pace offering links to news reports, personal experiences and plenty of LOL tweets as to what it "might" have been.
Over the past few years of my using social media, whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Blogger and more recently Pinterest and a few others I can't think of right now, it has helped me tremendously during the worst of my chronic pain flare times. I started playing around on Blogger in 2007 with my blog JuStDeEz'ArT & LiFeas an outlet to show some of my artwork and share what was going on in my life through blog posts and pictures. One blog led to a second The Barefoot Cook. From there I joined Twitter. It was when Twitter was new and not a lot of people were sure about using it. I searched for local people who were using it and "followed" many of them, mostly just lurking and reading their tweets. I later started interacting in conversations and throwing a lot of my own 140 characters or less out into the Twitter world. Before I knew it I had quite a large following...this part always baffled me, I guess in part because I felt I complained too much about my living with chronic pain and my self confidence was at an all time low. To me though it was my only means of being able to "socialize". At the time we lived in the country which was lonely and isolating. My husband was working out of town a lot so I was there alone with our daughter. It wasn't that I couldn't go anywhere but rather during my painful flares I wasn't able to leave the house much. I felt connected. Since our move to Lititz a year and a half ago I've come out of feeling depressed, isolated and lonely. I've had occasions to meet and socialize in person with quite a few people from Twitter. I've developed a support circle on Twitter and Facebook with others who are going through the chronic illnesses just like myself. I now have three active blogs, belong to several online groups from support to art and I can be "social" from the comfort of my Lay-Z-Boy reclining sofa, all while suffering the worse flares I had in the history of my chronic illness.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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