How do you use social media?

social media graphicHow do you use social media? I ask because this morning I spent more than three hours on Twitter trying to help a young adult who was in need of mental health assistance.

She posted that she wanted to talk to a psychiatrist or a mental health professional. She tweeted that she had cut herself before … was hospitalized before … she asked for help and nobody was listening to her.

I tried to find out what the most immediate concern was while at the same time trying to find a tweeting psychiatrist or mental health professional. After a few hours, she tweeted that her family was there. In particular, her parents. And then the communication stopped.

Either her mom & dad are in control of the situation now and took her offline or, this young person stopped communicating. Of course, I hope that her parents will be able to get her the help that she needs. I don’t dare to consider other options.

While I was tweeting to stop her from hurting herself  I noticed:

  1. none of her followers were reaching out to her despite the fact that she clearly asked for help, someone to talk/tweet to
  2. the general Twitter stream happily went on with endless self-promotion from books to the pathetic DMs to “please like me”
  3. while I was tweeting (a lot, I know!) to another human being in need people started to unfollow me

Evie pointed out correctly that not everyone can handle these situations. But how difficult is it on a social media platform like Twitter to send a tweet to someone to let them know that they are not alone? How simple is it to just tweet that you care and that you hope that they will find help soon? How much does that take from you? From your time? From you emotionally?

Maybe you think that such a tweet is futile because you are strangers. But is it futile?

If you are depressed or in serious need to talk to someone to stop self-hurt anyone reaching out brings light into very dark thoughts. Any human contact in reality or virtually is a sign to someone in need that others do care about your well-being. It should not be underestimated what such a short note can mean to someone.

While she was struggling, I saw all the ego trips pass by on Twitter. I was sad to read that some were whining about materials aspects in life (“wants” not needs) while at the same time she was trying to hang on to her sanity. After a while, there were people who tried to communicate with her and I am grateful that they did. Thank you!

This young adult was considering deleting her Twitter account. After this morning, so am I.


  1. Please don’t delete your account based on what others do. You are a sweet, caring person and there’s no telling how much you have helped that young person. If you leave, you may miss an opportunity to help another.

  2. I would have done exactly what you did. If I had thought she was in eminent danger of hurting herself, I might have tried DMing her to find out her location so I could call 911.

    Keep in mind that a lot of people on Twitter don’t read everything on their timelines and might have missed what she was saying. Or they might not have been following her. Or, they just might not have known what to say. Some people are at a total loss when it comes to conversations of this time or expressions of need, just like some people fall apart in an emergency situation instead of doing what needs to be done. But I am glad that other people finally reached out, too.

    As for the people who unfollowed you during the conversation, I would say that you’re fair better off without them.

    As brief a time as we had to get to know each other, I’m not the least bit surprised that you extended a helpful hand to someone in need. I would have guessed that you were the sort of person who would. So please don’t close out your Twitter account. Today you helped someone. It doesn’t matter what anyone else did.

  3. @Janeson: Thank you for your perspective and kind words. I am glad that I met you too. And yes, if what I did helped her than I am glad as well.

  4. @Patricia: Hi, friend! You are right, of course.

    I am taking a Twitter break of a few days. Right now, the parade of self-promoters climbing Mount Ego in Twitter Land are annoying me more than usual. I will be making lists of followers and just check in with those for a while.

    Thanks for your support!

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