I recently received an email that said something to the effect of:
“Hi Debbie, I’m new to this social media thing and am wondering how much I should be sharing my real feelings. When I scan Twitter each morning I see an inordinate number of tweets from professionals that say: Happy day: here I come! and Feeling energized about the day ahead and I can feel how productive today will be and… well, you get the idea. What about those of us who suffer from bouts of depression? As in: Good morning. I feel absolutely wretched today or Crushingly depressed today. Can’t seem to move forward or All looks bleak. Are those kinds of 140-character admissions absolutely off limits? If being authentic is one of the keystones of social media, should I pretend to be endlessly chipper and happy? I await your response with interest. Sincerely, Social Media Newbie”
To Tweet or Not to Tweet
I can feel how productive today will be!
Crushingly depressed today. Can’t seem to move forward.
I replied as follows: “Dear SMN, Your question touches a nerve for me as I am one of those who also struggles with regular bouts of the blues. It’s small consolation that many famous people suffer depression. Or that we’re in the company of such looming historical figures as Winston Churchill who often referred to his black dog. The answer, I think, is to take a middle road. It’s best not to dwell on your wretched moods in your public tweets. Like anything you post to the Web, each tweet is its own unique URL and Web page. Available, for all time, for Google to discover and display as part of your digital footprint. So you probably don’t want to be known, professionally or personally, as a perennially sad and depressed person. Which of course you’re probably not.
On the other hand, you don’t have to join the chirpy happy chorus if that doesn’t resonate with you. Instead you might reveal in your tweets that you are using positive thinking and various organizing strategies (Leo Babauta‘s Zen Habits comes to mind) to get your days going. Everyone will find those useful and they’ll make you feel better for having found and linked to them. Best, Debbie”
Anyone have further thoughts on this topic? Would love to hear.