business, learnings, networking, observations

Avoiding Shards & Joys


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Unlike Stephen Fry’s clunky ‘bag lady’ comment at this year’s BAFTAs which caused a social media storm, my friend Swarna and I are proud to be called ‘bag ladies’. After all, we produce ethically-sourced cotton bags.

A confession. I am not on Linkedin, I tweet occasionally and I deactivated my Facebook account a few years ago and haven’t gone back since. I have an inherent unease about social media. The discerning among you might ask, then how does this confessional blog post sit okay with you? I don’t have an answer to that.

This post has been stewing in my head for a while, the version that will be published will be a second or a third draft even. It has had some thought go into it. It is not an off-the-cuff remark that will remain as a digital footprint set in concrete that can traced back to me at some ill-advised moment of over-sharing.

I admit, there was a time when I used to post regularly on Facebook. Showing off frequently (“just did 13 miles off-road”, “checking into Heathrow T5 enroute NYC!”), sharing intermittently. And then I’d meet someone in person and worry that they knew where I’d been on holiday. How fantastic I felt when my son won his school running race. I grew concerned that they were judging me, weighing my life, discussing it behind my back. When really people are too preoccupied with their own lives to spare others a thought. However, I couldn’t get to grips with social media and it contributed to my anxiety.

You might say that Linkedin is purely a professional space and that I am missing out by not being there. True. But my own working life is so chequered. There are gaping years of wilderness when I was occupied as a mother. Is it okay to admit to potential clients that I took several years off to be a mother? Will that jeopardise my image? Also, the last time I worked for someone other than myself is so distant in the past that  I cannot recall with certainty how long I was with them. Truth be told, I am very insecure about sharing my working life story.

For all my protestations otherwise, it matters too much what other people think. I have not yet evolved to keep up with social media and all that it entails. I still remember recoiling at an anonymous comment posted on my personal blog years ago. It was vile, charged. And I remember thinking what had I done to deserve such vitriol? I just wanted to run and hide and cower with fear. But on social media there’s no place to hide. So I deleted the comment and became more careful about what I posted.

These days, I dip my toes into the enchanted pool of social media once in a while. It suits me fine. I may never pluck the courage to go in for a swim in its waters. If it means that I miss out on the joys it brings because I don’t want to be struck by the shards that lie beneath its surface, then it’s a decision I will have to live with.

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