21 Dec Keep it real this Christmas!
With Christmas and New Year just around the corner, I’m starting to wonder if social media is really the way forward for me next year.
I’m only on Facebook and although I love the Crazy page for that sense of camaraderie, the Aga page for inspiration, and the various dog & chicken pages I’m on etc, I do think so much of what people put on there is just a lot of old twaddle.
We recently made our local town Facebook page after our weaned cattle and their mothers made rather a lot of noise. Unfortunately it was a slightly larger group than normal and it was very still at night so they could be heard for miles around. Obviously it stopped after a few days but the comments of Facebook were unbelievable. People were saying “the poor babies have been ripped from their mothers” and “The mummy cows are grieving”. Some said they were just a few days old and were going to be slaughtered, and others said they would be going off for export to be killed. The comments were all very negative and everything was untrue and yet the majority of people reading it believed it.
Just a few weeks later someone unknowingly posted a picture of the very same youngsters in a field and the comments were totally different. Everyone thought they looked lovely and happy. Which of course they were.
But this is Facebook all over. We see pictures all the time of people out and about smiling for the camera. Ok some of those people are happy but a lot of them aren’t actually happy at that particular moment and it makes life unrealistic.
I came in yesterday literally soaked through to my knickers after trying to get some cattle in without success. I peeled off my clothes, hung them up to dry, got in some new ones and made myself a hot Ribena. I opened up Facebook to a barrage of twinkling Christmas Trees, annoying Elves, and Christmas party selfies. Now I’m not really that grumpy, I do like Christmas, but so many of these posts are just show off images. I’d much rather see a bunch of real cows and some old goats than people’s marvellous houses and splendid party venues.
What upsets me is reading posts from people who are really struggling with life. A lot of us have been there, and a lot of us may experience this at some point in our lives. I think Facebook helps a lot with loneliness and as a support system it’s fantastic. But I think people need to be mindful that it’s not all real. Just because “Susan” you went to school with 30 years ago is on holiday in the Maldives, doesn’t mean that she is actually enjoying herself. The fact is “Marion” who nearly had her fish and chips stolen by a seagull on Bognor beach is probably far happier.
But it’s not all bad. I do have to thank some lovely people on the crazy page for helping me out. I was struggling with the V.A.T and put out a post and suddenly I had complete strangers offering to help me. It was really lovely and I was absolutely amazed by their kindness. I ended up contacting two lovely women, one by messenger, one by phone and both offered their help at any time. For me, that is totally amazing and I am eternally grateful. Before the post I was in tears and unable to complete my return. Both women were so helpful and the lady I spoke to on the phone said to me “You’re doing really well”. It was such a lovely thing to say because I wasn’t doing well at all, but it was a confidence builder and was very kind.
And that’s the key to everything really isn’t it, and particularly social media. Be kind. Nobody knows what’s going on behind that picture.
As for our Christmas, thanks to a rotten cold I am rather behind. I still have a pile of presents to wrap – although I never actually ‘wrap’ I just use tissue paper and gift bags! The house isn’t tidy (it never really is) but we are feeling festive. We’ve just come in from having some cattle tested for Bluetongue and husband has sat down with a whiskey and is playing Christmas music! I’ve got a giant bottle of Prosecco and food already in the freezer so a quick veg run in a day or two and we should be good to go. But chances are we will have a cow calve, or something will escape and it won’t go to plan. But it doesn’t matter. All our friends and family know what we do so they will happily wait (hence the giant bottle of Prosecco) and help out if needed.
So Happy Christmas everyone, I hope you all have a great day and the animals behave!