I recently was given a stark reminder of how discerning we should all be in what we consume online, especially in social media. This is even more important for those living and working outside of their native country, as we are not always able to verify facts from local sources back home.
I had discovered a social media group with a name that on the surface might suggest a community of expats from a particular country of origin. I like to join and engage with these groups just to offer resources and learn more about the challenges that the expat lifestyle presents in a particular region, or for those from a certain country. It was apparent quite shortly afterwards that the originators of the group really seemed to be mostly focused on attracting like minded people of a specific political bent. Post after post used click bait style tactics directing you away from any form of enriching and supportive discussion, and into engagements that were not only negative but quite disturbing in their vitriol. In fact when I wrote a short post to introduce myself and say that I intended to share articles and resources for expat support, my post was deleted because it “did not meet the terms of the group.”
The expat life can bring enough challenges. If there is one thing I stress with all my clients, it is to maintain a healthy balance of positive thinking mixed with critical consideration of all that is presented to you. Just as in personal relationships, not all have our best interests in mind, or are indeed aware what they are. Don’t simply maintain connections through the tenuous commonality of being a fellow expat, without the other aspects of positive thought that is needed.