Vulnerability on digital social networks

Galway Bay (October 2014)
Galway Bay (October 2014)

I’ve not been feeling so good this week — I feel tired and stretched out like over rolled dough. I am moving house in a few weeks, working on a political campaign in the run up to the election, plenty of client work to complete and I’m also behind on my degree assignments and feel like I’ve been playing catch up for weeks now.

There are many projects that I am excited to be involved with and many more that I am very keen to start work on, yet for the next week or two, I am drastically reviewing my work load and attempting to find a level of balance which works. I find in times like these that the more work I tend to lump on myself, the less I can actually get done out of fatigue. I often tend to overpromise because I like to please others and help get things done, yet, this can sometimes take its toll on my spirit.

All of this got me thinking that we don’t often tend to use our digital social networks for frank discussion of the negatives in our lives. Perhaps this is down to the user experience design or that interconnected digital networks are still in their infancy — it feels that it’s more a space for good news and pleasantries than one of expressing vulnerability. I may have many friends or contacts on various social networks, but I wouldn’t think of posting something which showed vulnerability or asked for help and support, even from my friends. Is this the British stiff-upper-lip in action, or is there something else at play here?

Users can ‘Like’, ‘Share’, ‘Favourite’ or ‘Reblog’ without having to find words to express their feelings, but there is no ‘Dislike’ or ‘Sympathy’ button. Perhaps there is an argument that having ways to acknowledge vulnerability so easily might lead to cyber bullying or raining on somebodies parade, but I expect there is an element of perpetually presenting our best-selves that prevents this kind of sharing of vulnerability.