- International Schools use social media as a way to quickly get information out and to connect expats with each other
This is a fabulous tool as a parent especially when it comes to meeting a lot of people very quickly. Seeing names and faces together over and over helped me learn who everyone was. It also gave me the resources to ask questions and figure out my new city, new neighbourhood and the new school that my children were entering in a much quicker timeframe than I would have on my own. It provided an immediate virtual support system.
- I made my first friend because she looked me up on Facebook and sent me a message
This friend moved to Denmark at the same time as I did and had heard of me through the company we moved with. She turned out to be my closest friend during that time. We may not have connected otherwise and I am so grateful she reached out.
- Facebook allowed my family back home to see what we were doing and this helped me feel less guilty at having moved so far away from them
This was an easy way to make sure that we were all still connected to each other. It helped to close the distance and I didn’t feel so far away. It also provided a quick way to keep up in emergency situations or when newsworthy events were happening in Canada sometimes as they were happening.
4. Facebook portrays the best of everything and on bad days this made me feel like I was failing at my cool new life
People generally post only the good, me included. And while many of my photos were amazing this didn’t tell the whole story. I wasn’t living a 2 year vacation as a lot of my friends thought. I still did laundry and grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning. My kids still got sick…a lot. I often felt tired and like I was failing at being a parent. I was still doing all the same day-to-day stuff they were. Sometimes it was an amazing bonus that I was getting to do all of this while learning about a new country and meeting new people. Sometimes it was terrible that I was doing all of this on my own away from my support system. I didn’t generally post about that just as my friends and family didn’t post about their bad days. It was important to remember to check in beyond a post or photo or status update.
- When it was time to move back home, Facebook was a constant reminder that life went on and that my friends continued to have amazing experiences.
Facebook increased my homesickness when I left Canada and also when I returned. It helped to make the reverse culture shock worse as well. Instead of jumping into my new life in Canada, I kept one foot in the country I had left for a long time.
I am grateful for social media and the connections it has allowed me to have to many people I have met through my travels over the decades. I am able to keep in touch with people from many different countries. However, there are days that I have to remind myself that despite the idyllic posts, nobody’s life is fabulous all the time and without touching base I don’t know the whole story. It is important to make actual contact and sometimes social media gives us a false sense of contact.
How has social media helped or hurt you in a specific situation?