Social Media

By | October 5, 2019
Reading Time: 5 minutes

 

My list of what is social media is defined by age.  My first access to the Internet was in 1991.  The company I’d just joined had installed a Cisco router with a 14,400 dial on demand modem.  A small SCO Unix box was the means for providing everyone with an email account.  I became the de facto admin and spent time exploring what seemed to be the limitless resources suddenly out there.  Of course, what felt limitless back then is minuscule compared to today.  Extrapolating from the earliest figures I can find for 1995, in 1991 there were approximately 1-2 million world-wide users, about 0.05% of the world population.

Mailing lists were first as they were for work.  These created a first problem.  Either constantly checking for new mail, or that anxious feeling that every incoming email was important, needed immediate attention and response.  Then I found UseNet.  Not the fast interactive medium that we are used to with social media today, however, I think it genuinely qualifies as social media.  Here, I found my resources on transgender issues.

SocialMedia-01

Who’s old enough to remember UseNet ?

Everything felt important.  Prioritising was impossible.  Over 8 or 9 months I’d grown to over 1000 messages / emails a day.  It wasn’t just the volume that was overwhelming, the content of gender material was additionally distressing emotionally.

All in all, I wasn’t coping.  Work suffered, as did the little home life I had – work 15 hours and an hour each way commute didn’t leave any down time and what there was became alarmingly filled with alcohol.

These were my first lessons in the mental pitfalls of social media.  At some point you have to prioritise.  You have to learn that you’re not responsible for solving every heart rending problem of complete strangers.  Step back and dissociate to maintain your own sanity.

Just as well I never liked IRC and quickly avoided it !!

SocialMedia-02

IRC was the precursor of modern chat apps.  Can you even make sense of this ?

Looking back, my generation have been a sort of social media guinea pig.  With a browser I became familiar with kink chatrooms, especially Mrs Silks.  Eye opening, or what ?  Suddenly there were like minded people finding an out of the way place to congregate and explore highly embarrassing kinks and fetishes.

It enabled deeply emotional relationships with people far away who would never meet.  Online relationships are part and parcel of modern life, it was all brand new then.  There was a lot of naivety and broken hearts.

The first person I would call mistress came from that environment.  A whole load of new anxieties.  Trying to get the modem to connect in time for the scheduled call.  Having several sets of cables when travelling.  Devastation when all efforts failed.

Social media presents new communication problems for the human species.  Nuance is lost, no matter how many emojis or (as it was then) smileys you concoct.  Misunderstandings magnify as benignly intended words are misinterpreted as insulting.  In some ways hurt is magnified because in trying to work out what’s really being said we hear and filter their part of the conversation in our head before they’ve actually said it.  Most of us are our own worst enemies here, we attack our own insecurities worse than anyone else could do.

These days it is this blog and Twitter that are my main social media go to’s, with a side order of LinkedIn for minimal professional use.  Which reminds me of a long argument I lost in 2000 at a security conference.  The argument involved authenticating user’s identity.  The ‘big boys’ of the time considered that everyone should have only one identity – their real one.  I argued that we all interacted daily using multiple identities that we often didn’t want to overlap.  That these needed to be isolated from each other.

Well – although this was years before Facebook, you can see I lost the argument.  I suspect that even back then, those ‘big boys’ were already thinking about their convenience to collect revenue opportunities rather than user privacy.

I won’t use anything Facebook related.  You’ll never find me using WhatsApp and I restrict my sites to those where I can use the relevant identity for what I’m using it for. Despite the annoyance of the odd explicit request from someone who thinks I’m a trans porn model, Twitter suits me fine.  I don’t even have a vanilla Twitter account.

Which highlights what some will find an oddity.  I have no shared social media space with anyone from family, ex-school and ex-work colleagues nor actual social circle.

That’s probably the result of nearly thirty years of paranoia about who and what I really am leaking where it would be dangerous.  That’s been an obsessive fear for much of that time and only now am I in a position to not really care if there is some leakage.

This blog has become a significant outlet for me.  There’s stuff I write here that I wouldn’t have considered saying only a few years ago.  It’s only here that I’ve talked about the onset of mental health issues that are most likely a side effect of acting on being transgendered.  That was hard to do and I’m very glad I had the courage to do so because writing about it and hearing feedback maintains perspective instead of spiralling out of control.

I’ve never written with the aim of soliciting sympathy or boosting my ego.  Yet it’s undoubtedly true that having a readership that can simply understand because of overlapping experiences has really helped me maintain some sort of equilibrium.  Out of nowhere I have acquired friends and acquaintances with whom I can be honest and open with, who don’t judge and provide support, even when they don’t realise it.

Over the years I’ve seen most of the pitfalls of social media and it’s led to me being necessarily isolated in small groups.  I’ve seen the best of social media in that I found my way to exploring D/s for real.  I found my long time mistress and now my domme through social media and I couldn’t be more grateful.

And now ?  I’ve found what works for me and more importantly, I’ve found a quite diverse group of people who I enjoy interacting with for who, rather than what, they are.


Sex Bloggers for Mental Health

 

13 thoughts on “Social Media

  1. Cassandra

    You have put into words so many of the thoughts that have been traveling through my head. I love language and you have a wonderful way with the written word. So much of what you say here speaks to me. Especially about the whole online identity thing…

    I have several/multiple personalities online and I like that I feel free(er) in some than others. It’s interesting that it almost feels like we play roles online. Here I am this person, elsewhere I am someone else…I play a role in each: be a parent here, fulfill expectations for my readers there, moderate something for others in another place, play elsewhere, etc…That sort of thing

    I enjoy reading some of your posts. I will return for more.

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you for poking around my blog and the very nice words you expressed. Yes, I do love to use words. I may not be any good at fiction, but I hope that I can provide atmosphere and readability.

      The multiple online personalities thing has frustrated me for a very long time. The main problem is that when we fracture our online identity into multiple sub-identities that we don’t want to overlap, we complicate and reduce the revenue machines of the social media companies. They want to herd us into a single manageable identity that they can sell things to.

      I hope to see you return and I hope you’ll enjoy what you find.

      melody 🌹🌹

      Reply
      1. Cassandra

        I get what you’re saying. Maybe I don’t give a flying hoot about what *they* want and I just do my own thing. 😉

        But I hear you.

        Reply
  2. william Exchange

    So true! We can never really know the story behind the picture. I love looking at pretty pictures, but I always take everything with a grain of salt. Personally, I hate Instagram, but mostly because I hate taking pictures.

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting 🌹

      Reply
  3. SassyCat

    WOW. Great how you included the beginning of your social media experience, shows how far its come and you as well. Ya know I forgot all about my online “relationships” until I read the mention in your post. I started back in ’98 like May did, got to know a few close people who sadly are no longer in my life and thats ok but looking back it was all so new. Now, UGH. LOL.
    I’m glad that you have “settled” in your space and have found what is best for you regarding social media. 🙂
    Happy Thoughts

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      Thanks Cat. Yeah, I’m now not likely to step out of the spaces I know and am comfortable that I can control to some extent.

      You know the greatest thing about social media back then ? – No freaking adverts !! 💋😂

      Reply
  4. May

    Love this post Melody. Find the background fascinating. I didn’t get online until 1998 – even then things were very different to now. You actually got what you searched for on search engines for a start.
    I think agree that relationships formed online proved more intense than now – it was all new and people gave their hearts easily – I did,

    “I have no shared social media space with anyone from family, ex-school and ex-work colleagues nor actual social circle.” – this is the same for me too 😉
    x

    Reply
    1. melodyinsights Post author

      The evolution from terminal based character interaction to what we have now is massive in just 30 years. Tell the kids today that a poor quality, highly compressed picture could take over a minute to download !! Or that a short video could take all night (and that’s if you didn’t run out of precious disk space in the middle of the transfer).

      I think there’s a lesson here in that you also don’t have social media spaces. To get online at the time we did, you needed an understanding of the technology and probably worked with it. I’m not saying that brought an inherent distrust, more about being wary of how it could be misused.

      Certainly I had to pull back when I realised the toll that early immersion was taking. Hence I never explored the likes of MySpace, Friends Reunited, old style BBS and most of the modern sites / apps.

      xx

      Reply
  5. Posy Churchgate

    I liked this insight into what it used to be like laid alongside what it is now, and how you use it. I’m glad you are able to get good things out of social media, and I’m very happy to be able to know you through it.

    Reply

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