Social Media as Catharsis

I’ve been going through some stuff.

For me, as for many men and women all over the world, every day is a battle, of varying degrees of violence (sometimes depending on the weather, but usually depending on the quantity of ‘goodness’ that I can recognise in the world), with the tag-team of anxiety and insecurity who sit, quite comfortably, alongside the devil on my shoulders.

But it’s okay, because I have Twitter and I have my blog.

Twitter is catharsis for me; it’s a safe space where I can air my personal grievances with the profession I adore, and so long as I don’t mention people or individuals by name, and I’m not spiteful, nobody gets hurt.

For me, that’s what wins the preferred debate of choice for English Writing exams everywhere:

‘Should social media be banned?’

I recognise all the problems with social media: it exposes kids to violence and sex and bullying, and, it’s a minefield as far as personal safety is concerned. If I had my way it’d be banned, were it not for one thing: the one thing that makes social media an absolute necessity for me, is the thought of all those quiet kids I grew up with, when I was at school, who, although never uttering a word throughout the five years of secondary school, would surprise me every night with their MSN messenger (look it up) status updates in which they lay bare their emotions: there were proclamations of love for people they never had a chance with; there were dark hints at suicide; there were verbal jabs thrown with defiance at bullies, and there were joyful explosions of emotional insight into lives which, were it not for social media, I’d assumed were devoid of any feeling whatsoever. Simply because these kids never actually spoke. 

Social media allows people to speak where otherwise they may feel unable to do so. Thanks to social media, people don’t wear their hearts on their sleeves anymore; they’re wearing them on their screens. And that’s a good thing. Because, when we talk about the things that hurt us or make us angry and when we talk about the things that make us feel good or make us tingle with excitement, we are expressing our humanity. Our human-ness. People stand up and listen to that. And we all want to be listened to.

For a number of personal reasons, I refuse to take anti-depressants. But, as an insight into some of the stuff I’m dealing with, here’s a few extracts from the endless amount of blog posts I write, which never get published, mainly because the act of writing about how I feel acts as catharsis. That is, I write down how I feel, and I feel better: 

Yesterday, a series of unfortunate events conspired to ensure that Twitter is no longer a safe space to vent about my problems. And that scares the shit out of me. Because, in a complete subversion of what is deemed noble and worthy in today’s Reality TV world, I’m not the kind of person who enjoys ‘telling it to their face’ or just ‘saying how I really feel.’ In fact, a childhood of more than ordinary amounts of violence means that even a raised voice makes my skin prickle, my hands sweat, and my heart beat faster than an angry wasp inside a jar.

This blog post, which I will publish, is a confession of my own weakness, but also a reminder: a reminder that even dickheads struggle and that the tendency for some to whine and moan on social media, whilst annoying, may be necessary. Please think about that.

Author: PositivTeacha

Whole School Literacy Coordinator and Lead Practitioner

One thought on “Social Media as Catharsis”

  1. Matt, I really like your honesty and I’d like to be able to have some more of it myself on social media, but I’m also fearful of people (who I don’t know) knowing too much about what is personal to me. Essentially, I think your raw honesty is brilliant and brave and one day I might have that bravery, but in the meantime I hope you know that you are liked. I’ve met you and I like you. You are a nice bloke.


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