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April 16, 2020

social media is awesome... when used right

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why we love social media

By Ella Bowman, Paws in Work Mental Health blogger

You know you’re in your friend’s immediate thoughts when they send you a picture of a dachshund having a bath in the sink. A chihuahua wearing glasses. A piglet and a hedgehog having a nap together. Okay, so that one was classic cute, but this next one, this is going to blow your mind...

We do have a complicated relationship with social media on account of its comparison culture, trolling and data concerns, but, well, it’s pretty fantastic, too, it’s gotta be said, when used right.

posts of puppies

Firstly, there’s the joy of seeing Great Content. And whatever that may be to you. For Paws in Work, it’s a good meme, or a video that alleviates the seriousness of the news preferably involving a puppy sneezing, or sleeping, or just being a puppy. And content that’s thoughtful and doesn’t feel gratuitously like it’s trying to promote its sharer. Good news that puts smiles on our faces, shared in the best interests of its audience.

supportive communities

Then there are the communities of which you can be part. Perhaps it’s a group for ethical breeders on Facebook with dog-loving folk sharing pictures of outrageously cute puppies, and sharing know-how: ‘my puppy won’t stop barking, what worked for you?’; ‘my dog hasn’t touched her food for two days, but the vet says she’s fine: any ideas?’ It’s a community of sharing and caring, and is a support to a new dog owner that’s trying to figure puppy parenthood day by day. And if there’s one thing we know to be true it’s that the dog owning community is a generous one with their expertise.

This is the tip of the iceberg in terms of online communities offering support or solace. Social media has enabled people who feel marginalised and without a voice to congregate with like-minded others, feel supported, discover services and solutions and lark about from the comfort of their bedrooms. This is no small matter if you can’t leave your bedroom, whether because you’re self-isolating or because you’re physically unable to. Equally, people can remain anonymous as they begin to externalise their shame: if you’re embarrassed to admit to your loved ones, or your doctor, a thing that is troubling you, then why not ask it of the internet? And realise then, after all, that you’re not so alone, nor so strange as you first thought. Used with care, social media can be a balsam for your mental health.

staying in touch

At Paws in Work, the team is fortunate enough to work everyday with litters of puppies, which is the greatest excuse to get out there and meet people from companies far and wide. They’re lucky to get booked up way in advance, which means they don’t always get to return so quickly as they’d like to companies desperate for another puppy hit. Like with anyone we meet in life, social media is a great way to check-in and stay in touch with the people they meet along the way, or see puppies’ updates on the Paws in Work channels before they head to their ‘forever homes’: people always love seeing the puppy they especially bonded with as it grows from a sleepy ball of fur into a playful little nipper!

So waste no time in following the team’s updates on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, of course, but some other great ones to follow for cheerful pupdates are We Rate Dogs, Dogs Working from Home, and then of course, for useful information and to connect with a great cause, make sure you follow Dogs Trust, too. You won’t be disappointed, whether you own a dog or not.

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