The dark side of social media for special needs Parents
This has happened to me many times, so I know it has to have happened to my fellow special needs parents! At least once, but I’m guessing way more. You post a very uncomfortable but important article about your child’s disability. Your post is an effort to educate everyone else or maybe ask for some prayer and support. Then minutes, hours, days later… crickets. No likes, no shares, no comments. Yet, all the other things you posted over the last few days have plenty of likes, shares, or comments. What gives?!
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It’s so tempting to get angry or think people don’t like you. You begin thinking maybe people are annoyed with how much your post about your child’s special needs? I suppose either of these things may be true, but my goal here is to encourage you with a reality check. I think there are a few other, more likely, reasons that we may be seeing this on our social feeds.
First and foremost, Facebook is run on algorithms.
There have been a lot of people complaining lately about the algorithms, and rightly so. If your post doesn’t “do well” in the first few minutes, it’s pretty much dead in the water. The changes to the algorithms over the last few years have really bummed me out. As much as I love a funny meme, and I really do, I miss seeing the posts of all the people I love upfront (regardless of their like factor). Following helps, but it doesn’t catch everything and “seeing them first” for everyone close to me still doesn’t recapture what it used to be. People may not be interacting with your content because it just doesn’t “do well” and falls off to the bottom of the post pile. Which leads me to my next point…
How does a post “not do well”?
I think there are two main reasons why a post may not do well. Neither of them have much to do with you, nor do you have much control over them. So the point here is try your best not to take it personally. I know it’s hard but it just is what it is.
- Studying Facebook from a business perspective, I’ve learned from several sources that the majority of users have three main uses for the platform. They utilize Facebook as a source of entertainment, information, or social connection. My personal experience looking at my feed, is that most people are here for entertainment. Makes sense-most social media time is spent scrolling through feeds to kill downtime between tasks or waiting in lines. People don’t come to Facebook to feel sad, but for a hit of happiness. Let’s face it, most special needs posts aren’t exactly entertaining… Although I bet the few that have gotten a decent amount of interaction were likely knee slappers, right?
- People are uncomfortable and don’t know what to say. Considering how “PC” the world is these days, it may leave some people feeling anxious as to what to say. They may not know if they can even share their honest feelings without hurting ours. Being politically correct and sensitive to peoples feelings is a good thing, I’m just saying I think a lot of people don’t know what to do with our sharing.
My personal experience looking at my feed, is that most people are here for entertainment.
So what can you do about it?
First of all, I think it’s really important to stop and ask ourselves why it matters so much? So what if they don’t care what I’m going through? It’s meh, but are we looking for them to fill the space God is supposed to be filling? Are we believing a lie that the enemy is telling us? Would he not love to cause us to be angry and resentful of friends and family? Pretty sure the answer is a resounding, “Yes.”
If I’m tearing up, I check myself. I ask myself why it matters, reminding myself it’s just social media. It’s not a true measure of people’s love for me. Plus, like I said… algorithms. Try posting at a different time when more people are on. If you are posting at an odd time, no one is around to see it. You know what that means. Dead in the water.
Learning to except that a lot of our life isn’t going to resonate with our friends doesn’t erase the need for social support. Special needs parents can end up in a really lonely place. Having this sort of mini rejection stings a bit. This is where I highly suggest looking into an online special needs support community. I’m an admin over at Special Needs Moms Network where the community is so loving and supportive!
It’s life changing having parents around you who care about your hard day or giving advice. People who know what you’re going through is such a gift. If you’d like to be added to the Special Needs Moms Network group, message me over on my Facebook Page and I will set you up.
No matter what’s going on, you are loved and supported.