As I’ve progressed in my studies in Social Media at Birmingham City University, I’ve come to increasingly focus on a neglected area that’s little understood – the link between social media, psychological well-being and social skills – and have set up a page on Facebook, the Social Media Survival Guide (Now called ‘Nagwan’), for people interested in this area.
It makes sense that, if we’re increasingly using the web as part of how we socialise, we can get better at using it if we improve our approach to ourselves and other people and yet, although you can find articles on the subject, they’re usually not very reliable, so are often unhelpful to people trying to make the most of social media sites.
The page is also somewhere to discuss the issues raised by such articles to get a more balanced insight into much of the reporting that’s out there at the moment, insights we can act upon more realistically than we can with the current state of knowledge. The Facebook page brings together people who may need to improve their personal skills, like some service users, for example, with social media professionals and their counterparts in health and well-being so that we can discuss the options available to all of us when we use the social web, but instead of the emphasis being on tools and services we’re aiming to improve how we think, communicate and socialise when we use those services, with potential knock-on effects for our whole lives and the groups we’re part of.
As a mental health service user, where at one stage I was on the verge of becoming a ‘revolving door’ patient, I’ve learned that an effective approach to psychological and social skills is crucial. But doesn’t the same apply online, now that social media has become such an intrinsic part of how we interact with other people?
So, whether, say, you’re experiencing Facebook angst or you’re worried about your private information leaking out, if you want to improve how you take part in online social activities or come to terms with a bad experience on a site, come and visit the page and help us to help you start making improvements in how you use social media. Nagwan! See also: The Nagwan Social Media Documentation Project