are you feeling social media-obliged?

Posted on June 20th, 2012

A few weeks ago a bunch of “followers” on Twitter arked up about the fact I don’t follow all the people who follow me. One tweet (twit?) said I was arrogant for not doing so. For keeping my “follows” so low.

image via beachbungalow8

Funnily, the brohaha was sparked by my tweet that shared how I seek more nourishing conversation from humanity…and engagement that gets down to the real heart of our vulnerability…the “ugly private stuff”. Mum and I had been talking about this during my visit back to Canberra. She got up to make some tea and so I tweeted where we’d got to.

By “ugly private stuff”, I mean the stuff about us that isn’t easy to gloss over. You know when you go home late, after a party, and catch yourself in the mirror and you look in your own eyes and you see yourself fully. No guises, no persona, no show. No empty conversations, no platitudes, no filling gaps. That’s what I want to see in others, to know about in others…

It takes a fair bit for me to get fired up about anything gossipy and nasty-ish online. Mostly I just treat it as a ball flying towards me…and that just passes me buy… and fizzles to a flaccid, uneventful plop somewhere in the distance behind me. It comes from years of working in media and learning that the best way to deal with nasty Read more

is it time to stop the twitter sycophantic-a and get real?

Posted on May 15th, 2011

In Sunday Life this week I get more authentic online


A theme that crops up consistently in this weekly flirt with life betterment is something I call “too much-itis”. Or “battered (by) life syndrome”, a condition charcterised by a sense that too many commitments and distractions are dragging us down. The American Academy of Pediatrics have just diagnosed the latest symptom: Facebook Depression, caused by reading friends’ updates and feeling your life sucks in comparison to the fabulous “wine weekend away with the boyf” and “ZOMG! Most blissful afternoon on the harbour with besties” everyone else is breezily engaged in.

I used to call this malaise Friday Night Alone Watching The Bill-ophobia. Previously, a mere suspicion everyone was out having more fun than you fuelled the panic. But since everyone now has Facebook and Twitter on their phones, there’s no doubt. We all know exactly – in real time – how much fun everyone else is having. Which has upped the heart-sink.

I now call it Friday Night Alone Reading Status Updates-ophobia.

Me, I’ve become totally overwhelmed by other people’s status updates. An article in this magazine on the subject a few months ago, prompting a wave of  “me too!” feedback. My journalist friend C has since taken a Twitter hiatus. “I can’t deal with the spin. It feels so grubby.” My single friend G has turned off Facebook; “Too many ex-boyfriends with baby photos!”.

Quitting social media altogether is one solution. I’ve previously tested e-toxing (living offline) and creating e-boundaries (like using the Freedom app which blocks social media for eight hours at a time) in this column. They’re great. But extreme. I personally get a lot from Twitter in particular – it’s the most efficient way for me to read the news each day.

So this week I experimented with some more balanced – and balancing – approaches. Read more

permission to quit the “low-rent” experiences

Posted on September 14th, 2010

I came across this Danielle LaPorte post a few weeks back on giving yourself permission. She writes a very whimsical list of things we can all feel free to do. Or, rather, not do. She’s waved the wand. We’re allowed! They’re rather cute (I’ve posted my favourites below).


It’s a little bit like the idea of being “thoroughly me” which I wrote about a while back. When you work out what makes you YOU, it’s so liberating. You can make firmer decisions. You don’t apologise for yourself. You steer your little boat towards things that count.

A way to do this (to work out what makes you YOU)  is to actually go through your life and identify the things that shit you, or give you that hunched, gritty, grey, niggly feeling when you just IMAGINE doing them. Then you tell yourself, actually, there’s no need to do that anymore. I mean, really. No. Need. In most cases.

I’m doing that right now. After getting back from my holiday I realised a lot of my life is spent doing “low-rent” stuff. That is, things that are low-quality for me. I accept jobs that are not part of my ethos. I help people who are takers. I take part in after-work activities that are obligations, but don’t make my heart sing. I say yes to meeting up with people who don’t make me feel warm and heartened. And days can go by and I wonder why I don’t feel magnificent.

What stops me from dropping the low-rent stuff is

a) not having perspective – when I’m bogged down in the quagmire I don’t access my feelings to see if an obligation or whatever is making me feel grey and niggly.

b) I’m scared that I’m not allowed to. But, really, it is just about giving yourself permission. No one else will. Who really cares? Only you. So just choose. And see what happens.

Right now, I’m freeing myself of a few low-rent experiences that have been bogging me down.

* Returning calls and emails from people who only want something from me is one.  If they need me, they can track me down. This is hard…I’m a compulsive follow-upperer…but, seriously, the onus is on the other person. Read more