These past few weeks at Sunderland have shown both the good and bad of social media.

As frustrations grow among Sunderland's fanbase, that can sometimes manifest itself, with some, to over-the-top and sometimes extreme responses on social media.

Chairman Stewart Donald closed his Twitter account last month, claiming he had received abuse that went beyond what was acceptable - though he was keen to point out it was from a small minority.

While supporters are more than entitled to their opinions, there's an argument that the narrative on social media is often too negative, with the more extreme views often the ones that receive the most attention, and therefore reach the furthest.

As far as abuse towards any individual is concerned, just one supporter doing so is too many.

Of course, now is not exactly the time for positivity. Sunderland supporters should not be expected to sit back and just accept the club winning just two games of Parkinson's 11 in charge, and the team not looking anywhere near capable of promotion so far this season.

But football is still learning to adapt to social media, which allows views about individual players that might have at one time been confined to a conversation in the pub between two disgruntled supporters and no further, to now be sent directly to the individual player in question.

Asked about the negative mood on social media, Parkinson said: "I don’t read it and I think any manager or player who is on social media is foolish.

"You don’t go on there to say positive things. It is quite often negative and I have never gone on it.

"Even early on when message boards were first coming around, I didn’t look at them.

"The people at the club keep me informed about whether there is anything relevant I need to see in terms of speaking to the press but I advise the players to ignore it and focus on the job.

"It can affect them. They’re human and no matter the job, something like that, constant negative feedback will knock you and affect your performances."

Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson
Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson

Sunderland's players certainly look devoid of confidence right now.

In particular in their two most recent games their reaction to conceding has smacked of players whose morale is low to non-existent. Against both Coventry and Burton their response to conceding saw their performance levels dip dramatically.

As such, social media is perhaps not the best place for them to be, as Parkinson attempts to lift the players and instil belief among them.

Like any walk of life, if you're constantly told you're bad, eventually you will start to believe it, and so constant bombardment towards players on social media can have a negative affect on players.

They are after all only human.

But Sunderland fans are certainly not alone in taking to social media to voice their views after games - and there's an argument that to play for a club as big as Sunderland the players need to have the character to do so.

It's not all bad though. One thing Sunderland fans did show in this past week was how social media can be used for positive reasons also.

Supporters' website Roker Report set up a GoFundMe page on Monday, setting an initial target to raise £2,000 for the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, and Sunderland Foodbank ahead of Christmas.

The fundraiser reads: "At the heart of Football is community, and at the heart of community are good people willing to dedicate their time and money to supporting those in need. No one wants to rely on food banks or soup kitchens to feed their children, but while we may feel powerless to fight the institution that has caused his hardship, we can fight to bring a modicum of security to the most vulnerable by giving a few spare coins or an hour of our time over to a cause like this. Where people would otherwise face malnourishment, food banks are the flickering flame of a beacon in an otherwise dark night.

"The people at the Sunderland Foodbank and the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen do an amazing job of ensuring that families and homeless people all over Wearside don’t go without - but unless people assist with their kind donations, none of it is possible."

As of writing on Thursday evening, their initial £2,000 target had been smashed, with supporter donations creeping towards £12,000. The Watmore family donated £1,000 to the cause.

And Parkinson was keen to point out this generous act that proved social media wasn't all negative.

"The donations from supporters for those less fortunate this week is, of course, a great example of when social media can be used for the better," Parkinson said.

"Duncan Watmore's family donated some money to that as well, which I think is great.

"Of course, especially coming up to Christmas, it's so important to look at and think of people who are less fortunate than ourselves, and that campaign shows that social media can be used for good also."

You can contribute to the Roker Report collection for the Sunderland Community Soup Kitchen, and Sunderland Foodbank by heading to https://www.gofundme.com/f/christmas-foodbank-amp-homeless-shelter-fundraiser, or you can find a link to the fundraising page on Roker Report's social media channels.