As many of you will be aware, yesterday was International Social Media Day. This celebratory occasion got me reflecting on how much my life is now dominated by social media. Not only do I use it in my personal life (I only use Facebook for personal use), but I now run a social media marketing business and a global social media-driven charity initiative. 3 years ago, when ME Foggy Dog first started I had a very basic knowledge of Facebook and Twitter. Initially, I invested in a number of social media mentoring sessions, to allow me to hit the ground running. However, learning ‘on the job’ has proved to be invaluable. Because my knowledge has been building slowly and steadily over the past 3 years, I sometimes under-estimate how much I know! Unless you have working experience of social media, it is impossible to grasp its potential.

Twitter’s mission, as per their homepage is:

Our mission: To give everyone the power to chave been amazed at the lack of negativity my charity initiative has recereate and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

Unfortunately, there is an element of global society that uses the power of Twitter to denigrate, humiliate and create havoc. This was not the original intention of its creators (side issue – have a read of Things a little Bird Told Me by Biz Stone – amazingly insightful book). Personally, I don’t believe there is much action companies such as Twitter and Facebook can take to stop negativity being spewed by a minority. To those people who are bullied by trolls…. delete, block, or mute. I have been very lucky. Since starting ME Foggy Dog, I have encountered one troll. It happened last week. My reaction? I didn’t give them the satisfaction of a response. I merely blocked them. I have been amazed at the lack of negativity my charity initiative has received. ME is a massively misunderstood illness and so I was braced for a wave of ignorance. It makes me very happy that the opposite is the case. I keep the numbers down on my personal Facebook, I stick to friends, family and close business acquaintances. My privacy settings are also very tight. I feel business and personal pages are different beasts that need to be handled with care and attention.

I love how social media has made the world seem much smaller. Just this morning, I was having a Twitter conversation with a Foggy Follower in New Zealand about the All Blacks vs British Lions rugby match. Social media should be used to enhance our similarities not highlight differences. My charity launch is being streamed on Facebook Live. This is because many of Foggy’s Followers live outside of the UK. The majority of his ‘fans’ live in the US. Facebook Live allows for the most engagement over a number of time zones. My charity initiative would not be possible without social media. Sending a soft toy around the world, trusting online strangers to ‘Foggy-sit’, and having a following of over 6,000 people, is something that would never have come about without Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

So, I say embrace it! Acknowledge its weaknesses and protect yourself accordingly. Personally, I believe the power of social media vastly outweighs any negatives.