I quit Social Media in 2017. It was too good and so bad.
Months later, we adopted our white German shepherd from a dog rescue. When we met him, after a short get-to-know-you walk on the lead, I opened his mouth and put my hand inside. He froze and gave a crazed roll of the eyes. This was no treat! But, from his calm reaction, we could tell he was patient and gentle. The kids mucked around with him. He wagged his fan-like tail and licked their faces.
Ghost is NOT my distraction when life gets me down. Early on, when he pee’d on the bookcase in the living room, I was reminded of the responsibilities ahead of us. He needs training, exercise, food, water, shelter, regular socialising and love.
The day we came home to an indoor snowstorm and no more cushions in the living room, we discovered his kryptonite; he suffers separation anxiety. If we leave him alone in the house, he’ll comfort-eat whole loaves of bread, entire cakes left out to cool and any other food he can find. Are soft toys and shoes now classified as food?
We’re really tidy these days!
Bless him, but Ghost is an extra burden when the rest of life grinds me down.
However, on our early morning walks together, I pause and watch the sun come up. Like everyone else, I carry a smartphone. I take a snap of the sun, or cerise clouds, or Ghost against a background of striated rocks. I show the photos to my husband over breakfast or send them to family members, but the audience is limited. I wasn’t on social media,
Ghost. He’s a good-looking dog; wolf-like, striking and friendly… Our neighbours all know him by name. If he’s so popular in real life, wouldn’t Ghost be a natural for a wider audience?
The teenage nephew of my best friend gave me a few pointers, and I set up Ghost’s Social Media accounts. I posted a photo of him lying on the lawn beneath a flowering bush: “Ghost in the Grass”. Then he started speaking for himself.
Would his words mean anything? Did the images matter? He and I made mis-steps along the way. But people are pretty forgiving when it comes to dogs. Dogs are loved for making mistakes! Strangers from all over the world connect with him. Today he has nearly 2,000 followers and growing…
I administer his accounts on his behalf. I scroll through his feed, ‘heart’ing the cool dog, cat, rat, alpaca and other creatures’ posts popping up. I respond to his furry friends with woofs, wags, OMDs and innocent, floofy comments. Taking a doggy perspective for 20 minutes a day uplifts and refreshes me when I’m down, while he snores (and occasionally farts), oblivious at my feet.
It feels like a burden sometimes, other times it’s a delight. Ghost showed me perspective on social media and now I have enough of a handle on it to run some Ink Ratty accounts too. Let me know your favourite distraction when you just need a lift.
I’m Rananda, a Sydney-based writer and editor.
With 25-plus years in corporate life, a financial background, a science education, and a lifetime of writing, I know there is more to starting and growing a loyal following than just the words on your website or saving that draft manuscript in a folder.
I bring comprehensive practical experience to supporting your writing needs.