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What is Social Media Resilience?

Resilience is a term that has permeated its way into social sciences and psychological over the last several decades. Resilience in actual fact is a quality of a material. My first degree was in Material Sciences, so I spent a lot of time looking at properties of different materials, ceramics, metals, rubbers and so on. For my dissertation, I looked at the resilience of squash balls. I had great fun loading up squash balls into a high speed cannon and firing them at a wall. Seeing just how tough there were at high speeds!


But no harm done. The squash balls bounced back to shape, without a scratch on them.


This is resilience. Resilience is that ability of a material to bounce back and recover after a force is exerted on it.


Resilience or resilient, is now a term we often use to describe our ability to manage, adapt and recover after challenging situations in life. Just like the squash ball, when we find ourselves in a stressful high speed situation, we have a wonderful ability to recover and bounce back. But unlike the squash ball, our resilience can change, grow and improve over time.


In our life time we will all experience challenging situations, trauma, upsets, heart ache, pain and more. It is inevitable, just as ageing is inevitable. Yet the more we experience over time, the better we can get at dealing with these challenges.


What has this got to so with Social Media?


Well, in my squash ball experiment, I not only looked at how fast I could fire the balls out of a cannon but I also turned up the heat… quite literally. I heated the squash balls to see the effect the temperature would have on their ability to bounce back.


The hotter the balls became, the more their behaviour changed. Their ability to recover at impact reduced; at the hottest temperature, I began to see failure. When we use Social Media, it turns up the heat on in our lives and on stressful situations.


We all have a naturally resilience in life; you have demonstrated this by being here reading this article, having gone through the personal challenges you have. But just like heat, Social Media adds a catalyst to life challenges which can make us behave differently. It can reduce our ability to bounce back.


Social Media in itself is not the problem. When using it a lot, the risk is that our natural resilience is dampened meaning we don’t bounce back quite as quickly, or in the same way. It also blocks our ability to grow our resilience to life's challenges. Life events now risk feeling insurmountable, and we feel incapable.


Why does this happen? I’ll explore that in later articles. But for now, this is why we need to proactively develop sustainable and healthy strategies for Social Media use. It will protect against the negative effects and utilise the positive benefits of Social Media (are there are some!) Social Media Resilience is about maintaining your bounce!

Please help me promote this, by sharing, commenting and recommending me to business to share more of my work. I have launched a series of events to bring coaching skills and information on this topic to you. Let me know your thoughts.


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