Look Up.

Irony at its best.
Irony at its best.

The very first time this video by Gary Turk appeared on our Facebook group, the consensus was one of which “Ah this is nice, Thank you” as if to say “Thank you for the reminder”.

Whereas the second time it paid a visit, the reaction was somewhat mixed. It provoked thoughts, emotions from within and flashbacks of the past.

A member who shared their thought “He makes a lot of interesting points about the socially isolating aspects of social media and technology, which I agree with, but it is very one-sided, from his point of view. He ignores the positive aspects of it, such as how technology can improve and change people’s lives and how powerful social media can be to share and exchange information rapidly and widely and how people can feel connected and part of an online global community. Nothing will ever replace physical interaction and real-life experiences but social media, if used sensibly and well, can be a very powerful means of communication. The internet has been revolutionary for everyone.”

Another member remarked “The Internet is the best thing to happen to deaf people for centuries. For the first time ever, we can talk to one another on an equal basis with hearing people. It has been hugely empowering and that is why I get so angry when people misuse it for bullying and manipulating others. We have never had a chance before to discuss ideas that matter deeply to us on a national and international basis.”

Before the internet and mobile phones were readily available, many deaf parents had to ask their relative or child who happened to be hearing, for their assistance in making important phone calls for them, translating and so on. The first sign of freedom came in the form of pagers, receiving communication and to be reassured in my mum’s case for example:  “I’m on my way home” or “Please can I have a lift?” et cetera. Next came the internet, mobile phones and now smart phones…. Deaf people could now be more independent and sort out their own finances online, correspondence could be sent instantly and we could keep up with one another in real time. No more waiting several days for the postman and no more waiting until the next deaf pub to see friends in order to make arrangements.

Perhaps, the internet has played a part in the decline of deaf pubs – a place where masses of deaf people could commune and catch up with one another which for some, was as little as once a month. People were now able to text one another to make arrangements, use Skype or Facetime to have that crucial face to face chat. We were now on a par with the hearing society. Having access to a visual platform gives us the independence and means we very much needed.

Social media then exploded. I was very hesitant to sign up and in the beginning would only use it for family. Eventually old school friends arrived on scene and with practise came experience and confidence. One day this was quashed by a bully who thought he could manipulate me. The internet and mobile phone services gave him a confidence that he was anonymous to me from behind a screen and a mobile number. Being me, I managed to work out who he was and he fell into a trap by confirming his name. He panicked and relatively sent me death threats. Which I kept as evidence for the police who gave him a warning. Since then, I had learnt to keep most everything as evidence – just in case. I became ultra-cautious of everyone but on the other hand, I have met and made some new friends who I cherish and look forwards to making more although, I believe in quality rather than quantity.

Without the internet, many of us would not have found several of our long lost relatives and childhood friends yet without electricity, this would not have been possible.

But… There are social media groups and people who use social media (in other words is just a platform for them to use) who abuse the guidelines which are there for a reason – to protect the users and the members. Dangerously, the delusions of grandeur and power trips which feed their ego and their characters determine their fate because with actions comes consequences. It is only those who can remain true to themselves and retain a level head that will in time see past the falseness, the drama and people’s manipulative ways, succeed due to experience and honesty – which is the best policy.

For most, the internet has its pros and cons. The cons of which I have mentioned and conclude the internet is a very dangerous place indeed. It has at one point managed to destroy my heart and soul but here comes the pros because as always there is a balance – it has also saved me from disconnecting with my family and friends, some of whom have proved very inspirational to me and are the main reasons behind why the Tree House was built and especially why, it keeps on growing stronger. Healing my heart and soul with love and laughter.

In order to get the best you deserve, you need to give your best otherwise you will get what you give. Fate works in mysterious ways and decrees what we do, who we are and teaches us how to be so “Look Up”, find the balance and enjoy life – it is what you make it.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

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