Social Media to the Rescue

We can talk a lot about how bad social media can be, our addiction to it, and how it seems to take over every part of our lives. However, social media can be there to helps us when disaster or tragedy strikes. 

Mother Nature or other Disasters are all scary.  With the help of social media, we are able to learn more about what is happening and where.  It is able to alert those people living in affected areas faster now thanks to social media and technology.  One great example of this was The Tornado that hit Ottawa.  I was in downtown Ottawa when my phone went off.  Tornado warning!!! I quickly looked at my phone, looked around me and went on with my business.  I mean, really a Tornado in Ottawa?!  After dropping my daughter off at her curling practice, I headed to our hotel.  The sky was a funny, warm yellow colour and the wind and rain had picked up.  Still nothing triggered for me.  Naïve?  Maybe.  As we looked out our window to the building across from us, I noticed people on their balconies taking pictures and videos, but we couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary.  Being from the country, I thought to myself, funny city folks, taking pictures of wind and rain.  We left the hotel, had dinner, and went to pick up our daughter from curling and that’s when we figured it out.  All of a sudden, my phone went crazy with incoming emails and text messages about the Tornado that had hit Ottawa.  Facebook lit up, with pictures of the damage, areas that were affected and who needed the most help. As a result of this information, within minutes, local businesses were responding by offering shelter and delivering free food where it was needed most.  It seemed so surreal.

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We have all watched on TV or Facebook when these disasters hits.  We watch social media postings for The Red Cross so we can text donations or await the “gofundme” pages so we can do our part and feel that we are helping as much as we can.

Although we sometimes feel that technology and social media are taking over our lives and personalities there is an up side.  In times of trouble or disaster, using social media allows us to reach out a helping hand, and lets us feel we are contributing to our community, family or friends.  

We all have a family member, or a friend who was just given a horrible diagnosis. It’s heartbreaking.  They feel very alone and vulnerable.   They look for support, anywhere they can.  With social media, they have that.  With the touch of a button, they can turn to a family member, friends and even strangers for support.  With “gofundme” pages to help a family in need in our local area, our donations make a difference and are sent quickly and effortlessly.  Consequently, we feel we are supporting our communities more than ever before.

Another example for us was when a friend’s farmhouse was inundated with bats.  They had no idea there was a problem when they bought their dream county farmhouse.  They turned to their insurance company for resolution, but it was unwilling to help them.  They were struggling under the debt it would cost to fix their home for their growing family.  They turned to social media.  Their “gofundme” page grew donations in a matter of hours, along with heartfelt messages of support which were posted with each donation.  The local TV station learned about their story and broadcast it for all to see.  This broadcast allowed so many more people to hear what they were going through.  Amazingly, after the broadcast, their insurance called them for a meeting and after a few meetings changed their mind and decided to cover all the expenses it would cost them to build a safe new home. Thank you social media! Thank you local TV station, and Thank you local community!  Their “gofundme” page returned all donations back to the people who contributed as the money was no longer needed.  (Although this was incredible news for this family, it is noted that not all situations are this lucky).

Ottawa Citizen
Published on Feb 23, 2018
Dewan-Arcand family farmhouse overrun with bat

Just when I think I would love to have grown up in a simpler time, with less stress, less technology and more time for my family, I am reminded how lucky we are to live in this age where we can do so much to make a difference in the world, at home, in our cities, towns and communities for our family, friends and neighbours. Has a similar situation ever happened to you?  Have you personally ever reached out on social media for support or help? I’d love to hear from you and read your stories.

Facebook: Social Media to the rescue.  Check out this blog to see how social media helps people in need.

Twitter: Social Media to the Rescue! #socialmediahelp #community

Etiquette! What social etiquette?

Look around, everywhere you go everyone is on a device.  Whether you are walking down the road, waiting for a bus or even out for dinner. It’s everywhere.  Everyone is looking down at their phone and not paying attention to the world around them.

I was out for dinner out with a friend (Dawn) I had not seen in quite some time.  I was so excited to go out with her and catch up on everything that had been going on in her life since the last time we spoke.  I got dressed up, did my hair and even put makeup on, I mean it was an outing without kids.  Eeek.  We met in the parking lot of the restaurant and walked in together.  The waitress sat us down and let us know that she would be serving us that night and gave us time to look over the menu.  Dawn and I made small talk as we looked over the menus. After ordering our food and drinks, she excused herself and went to the ladies’ room.  I reached into my purse for my phone and stopped myself.  Really, she will be gone 5 minutes and you need to check Facebook!  Why? What is wrong with me?  Did I really need to tell everyone that I had checked into Milestones with Dawn and that we were about to eat dinner? I looked around, embarrassed and slightly ashamed, but do you know what I saw? Everyone was on their phones.  There was a family enjoying dinner, both kids with headphones and tablets, both parents with their faces in their phones.  There was another table with two people, possibly dating both on their phones, and showing each other posts from their phones.  Nobody was just talking and looking at each other. I could not believe it. Have you no etiquette?

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Growing up my parents taught me basic social etiquette (good manners), which should still apply today. You know them: be nice, say please and thank you; never leave the table without asking; always eat your food even if you don’t like it; kids should always be seen but never heard and always call your neighbour aunt and uncle as a sign of respect.  Ok, ok, maybe we have gone soft on some of these rules that we were taught, but there is still a time and a place for almost all of them.

“There are general rules of etiquette that work all the time, while there are others that are specific to each situation.  It’s important to know the basics of good manners, regardless of where you go. There are more bad manners and social faux pas than ever, so it’s easy to be confused about what’s socially acceptable. Many of the correct behaviors people once considered common sense have gotten lost in the swirling wind of bad advice, outdated manners rules, and social media that makes it too easy to slip up and be rude.” (Social Etiquette Tips, 2018)

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I believe that we are blessed to live in a time where we can walk around with a powerful computer in our pockets. It is so much easier, being free to come and go as we like, yet still have the ability to bring work with us where ever we go.  We aren’t tied to our offices with our DOS based word processors.  As a business owner, entrepreneur and a busy mom of three children this has given me the freedom to handle my business obligations at any time day or night, however, there is a time and place for these business/personal devices.  We have to remember to keep our lives in perspective.  Sometimes, perhaps it’s time to put down the devices and turn to our family and friends and have open and honest conversations again.  It’s time to REALLY connect and invest into these relationships.  Not just a quick text or Facebook share, but put the time and effort into them like we did when we first met them.  Leave our devices at home (or buried deep in our purses), get outside and breath some fresh air to clear our heads.  Remove ourselves, even for just a short time and get real with our lives again.  Our friends, family and relationships are important and worth it.

Am I old fashioned, or do you agree? I’d love to hear your comments.

Picture from Pexels

Facebook: Etiquette gone with the wind? Check out this blog, it’s time to bring back etiquette.

Twitter: Etiquette! What Etiquette? #socialetiquette


Mayne, D. (2018, 05 12). Social Etiquette Tips. [Webpage]. Retrieved from

Socially Addicted (Blog#2)

Socially Addicted. Who me? Couldn’t be, then who? 

I know kids can get addicted to their devices, and that they can suffer mood swings, depression and other symptoms, but me? How could it be possible. I mean I’m an adult after all, I should know how to handle things.  Right? Wrong.  

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

I had no idea I was addicted to my cell phone and social media.  I had a new small business and my phone was our company’s life line.  After all, we wanted to be noticed, be wanted and be needed.  We needed to answer every phone call day, night or holiday, right?  I thought so.  It didn’t start to sink in until Christmas Eve, my phone rang, and I answered it.  I had an hour conversation about our company, what we do, why we do it and what makes us different. Once I hung up the phone my kids looked at me and said “Mom, really, it’s almost Christmas, can’t they wait? How rude!”.  I responded with “sorry it’s mommy’s job, it’s our business”.  Well, that’s what I thought.

Year 5 into our business, I not only answer all the calls, but I did all the social media (Facebook, Instagram, a bad attempt at Twitter and our website).  It wasn’t until we decided to leave our small business that it hit me, and HARD!! I handed over the phone – – My life – –

The phone had become my life, or so I thought.  It had become my everything.  Every like excited me.  Every comment made me smile as I instantly responded to each one.  Every email made me feel important.  Every call made me feel proud, explaining not only what we did but trying my best to make them feel special, that they had my undivided attention.  But when it was gone.  I was LOST.  It felt like I lost my best friend or a family member.  It sounds crazy admitting it, but I was depressed, lonely and hurt.  My personal Facebook didn’t get nearly the attention my business page received. 

It took weeks.  Weeks to retrain myself.  To remind me that my self worth has nothing to do with my likes, comments or shares.  It didn’t have anything to do with how many friends I had or how good a mom, wife or friend I was.  I needed to be stronger for me, and my family.  I needed to find out who I was again.  Crazy at 40 I needed to start over and figure out who I was without social medias help.  Which had me thinking, if this happened to me, how many others feel this way, or was I alone?

Here is some research I found.

Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D states “in a recent paper Dr. Kuss and I again reviewed the latest research on the topic and showed that social media use for a minority of individuals is associated with a number of psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, loneliness, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and addiction. Because social media is most frequently accessed via smartphones, their usage is intimately intertwined and their mobile nature contributes to excessive checking habits, which often derives from what is commonly labelled as the “fear of missing out” (FOMO).”

Picture courtesy of blog by Sakina Groth

Although written in 2015 a blog post by Sakina Groth states “according to research at Harvard, social media addition is really a thing – activating the same neural pathways as food, sex and gambling additions! … For some, this becomes an obsession that is less self-expression and more about attention and chemical highs.  In fact – recent studies indicate that social media addiction can cause the same kind of brain changes as those seen in cocaine addicts!”

In the BBC News by Hilary Andersson July 2018 states “A former Facebook employee made a related point.  “Social media is very similar to a slot machine,” said Sandy Parakilas, who tried to stop using the service after he left the company in 2012.  “It literally felt like I was quitting cigarettes.” Leah Pearlman, co-inventor of Facebook’s Like button, said she had become hooked on Facebook because she had begun basing her sense of self-worth on the number of “likes” she had.  Ms. Pearlman said she had tried to stop using Facebook after leaving the company. “I noticed that I would post something that I used to post and the “like” count would be way lower than it used to be.  “Suddenly, I thought I’m actually also kind of addicted to the feedback”. But Ms. Pearlman said she had not intended the Like button to be addictive. She also believes that social media use has many benefits for lots of people.”

Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock

Well, I’m relieved to know that I am not alone. It took some time, but do you know what I learned from all this.  There is definitely a place for social media in our lives (staying connected with family and friends) and businesses (spreading the word about your new company or product), but there must be boundaries and time limits that need to be established and held to. We should all try to keep each other accountable. How do you handle it?  What have you experienced?

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Twitter: Socially Addicted! #socialmedia #addicted

Social Media and My Kids

Having a 13 year old daughter sometimes makes you think back to when you were a kid.  School, boyfriends, sports and all-night sleepovers with your friends.  What fun we had.  Running in the park, going for walks, chatting till all hours of the night about boys.  Sigh!  The downside of school was homework and bullies.  Hiding from them or if you were the unlucky one getting stuffed into a locker.  Man, oh man, I hated bullies.

Kids in this generation have so much more to worry about it seems.  So much added pressure.  They have the regular pressures of school, but along comes social media, cyberbullies and how many likes their picture received. 

Do Tweens need Social Media? Picture from WordSwag

So, social media should they have it?

In our house, my daughter started an Instagram account when she turned 13.  She was so excited.  She added me and a few friends, as well as a few of my friends.  She added a few pictures of cows and her sisters, that was it.  Five months later, we have PMs from boys (one boy was her boyfriend whom she is trying to meet at Timmies for coffee).  She was on her phone from 7am at the bus stop (WIFI reaches the road she doesn’t have a data plan) until 9pm when she goes to bed. 

What was happening? My kind, thoughtful, snuggly daughter was changing.  She suddenly hates her sisters, finds them annoying. She yells at me about chores. She is being sneaky and doesn’t want anything to do with hanging out with her family.  Now her Instagram is full of pictures of her, just selfies and her dog.

Then it happens, bad mom rears her ugly head.  I punish her for something she did and take away the phone for 2 weeks.  She has a complete meltdown.  However, you will never believe what happened.  Within 2 days she stops talking about the phone and her friends that need her on Instagram.  A few days later, she is playing with her sisters, chatting with me about her day and friends at school. She has become a more involved member of our family again.  Phew!!! The two week punishment comes and goes with no mention of her phone.  By week three, she asks when she can have it back.  We generate appropriate ground rules but still she doesn’t really ask for it back, so I wait.  Week 4, she finally asks for it back.  With these new restricted rules established she can have her phone back.   And now we wait.

Set time limits
Picture from WordSwag

Was I right? Am I being to hard on her? This mom decided to do some research and although it comes down to your personal choice as a parent about when, and how much time you allow your child to have their devices and social media, I also found out some things.

A paper written by Victoria L. Dunckley M.D. states that tween’s underdeveloped frontal cortex can’t manage the distraction and temptation that comes with social media. She goes on to state that the cognitive brain is still being formatted and the need for attachment to the family is just as important now as it was when they were younger.  How can kids slow down?  She states delay access, follow their accounts, allow only on large screens, keep an eye on the clock, face to face time with their friend and spend more real non-tech time together.

Instagram Parent Guide
Picture from has some great resources.  They have a poster Instagram Parents Guide.  They have great tips such as Remove payment methods, restrict messages, filter inappropriate comments, (they have installed an anti-bullying filter which can be turned on in app settings) turn off sharing and use a private account. It also tells parents about live streaming with strangers, damage to confidence, body image and mental health, in-app payments, photo/video sharing, hijacked hashtags and location tagging.

Maybe I’m not as paranoid or overbearing as I thought. Ultimately, I’m going to sound like my parents, “my house, my rules” but they might have had a point.  Shh, please don’t tell them though.

What do you think? What have you experienced and tried?  I’d love your feedback, we are, after all, in this together.

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