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Wendy Mitchell
Wendy Mitchell
Social Networking

The Advantages of Social Media

How the online community can bring the world to you….

We hear so many negative comments about the effects of social media, but I’d like you to take the time to listen to my opinion on its positive attributes and comfort that its existence has brought to me personally.

Before dementia entered my life I speak in my book, Somebody I Used to Know, about never having blogged, facebooked or used Twitter. It is only since dementia that I’ve learnt how to enter any of these worlds of Social Media.

“In the last few days, I’ve started a blog called Which Me Am I Today? It’s somewhere I can put all the new information I’m discovering and. More importantly, it serves as my memory when I know each night my brain is deleting files as I sleep – the day before becoming as much of a mystery as the day ahead’.”

That was four years ago. It was my daughter who patiently explained to me the meaning of a ‘blog’ when I asked her how I could record my days electronically. Gemma patiently wrote out instructions and patiently explained them for the umpteenth time as once again I got in a muddle.

Now I couldn’t be without it. Written in real time at events, and my thoughts and rambles captured down in print. Otherwise, they’d be lost, gone out of my mind at the blink of a delete key.

I started my blog for me, my memory; to tell my daughters what I’d been up to; to tell them my thoughts in case I forgot to tell them. That others around the world now choose to read it is humbling.

Twitter was started in much the same way. Gemma explaining and helping me from the start. Then came a month of simply watching others before daring to contribute.. It’s appeal is it’s conciseness. Short sentences, to the point. I can remember the first sentence as I read the last, usually.
Twitter world has opened up a whole new community for me. After all, Twitter never goes to sleep. When I’m feeling lonely or just in need of company there’s always someone there.

More importantly, my blog and Twitter give me something even more since dementia stole my ability to think and speak my thoughts without hesitation, since it stole my ability to join in conversations without getting in a muddle. It gives me a silent community. A community where I can have a myriad of conversations in silence. No background noise to confuse me. No two people talking at the same time, leaving me unable to decipher the words.

Twitter gives me the ability to talk to people at my speed in total silence. I may not be able to speak fluently, sentences trailing off before they’re finished as the end words disappear out of my mind, but not so on Twitter. I can type as though dementia never entered my life. I can think and type the words far quicker than I can think and speak them as that part of my brain hasn’t been affected yet, thankfully. Twitter has also given me access to people I would never have access to in real life. To other people living with dementia – we have a great supportive community on Twitter; to the research world where many have become good friends; to healthcare professionals who I can educate on the reality of living with dementia; to people caring for those closest to them who I can help understand and clarify behaviour. To people who simply want to understand, wonderfully kind people.

Others with dementia have the opposite happen. Their ability to type having dispersed before their ability to talk fluently.
I’m happy with the lot dementia has given me. Typing gives me back some semblance of normality that in many other respects dementia has stripped away from me.

So the next time you think of social media as the devil incarnate, think of me, happy with my new friendly community of silent friends.

About the Author
Wendy Mitchell

Wendy Mitchell is the author of the book Somebody I Used to Know.

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