A few times, I’ve come across the quote, “Worry about loving yourself, instead of loving the idea of other people loving you.” This makes me think about social media, and how some people crave their “likes,” and base that on how well they are liked. So many think that if they are social media popular, then they are popular. As an adult in my 50’s, I don’t really care if I’m popular or not!
Yesterday, my daughter and I were talking about a hot political topic, the removal of confederate statues, and how some are blaming social media for making it worse. She mentioned that social media is a good thing for this because it can help us discuss these issues, and we are able to see other points of view. Social media can be such a positive thing, but too many use it to hurt, lie, attack, or spread false information.
I have mentioned that I’ve lived in a lot of places, and that means that I have a lot of friends and family spread out across the nation, and even in other countries. When Al moved here, since he is not on social media, his friends reached out a few at a time, in order to stay in touch with him. This REALLY helped me when I was preparing a graduation book for him with messages from people who care about him. I could reach out easily through Facebook to ask for their cards or messages! They then became my friends. Al has been able to keep in touch with them in this way too. When my son’s ship is out to sea, he has no phone service, and social media is the only way I have of communicating with him.
Because of all of the negativity in our world, and how some use social media to spread hate and hurt, I have chosen to use it as a platform for communicating with family and friends, sending positive and inspirational quotes, funny memes, funny stories about my students, promoting my daughter’s floral design business, promoting or supporting friends’ businesses or endeavors, or even laughing at my own expense when it comes to my clumsiness or my escapades with creepy crawly things. I try not to post political things (although I will “like” or maybe comment on them), religious things, etc. It isn’t because I don’t have strong beliefs, but I just don’t want to invite an argument that I started with one of my posts. I have stated a few things, so I know people know where I stand on those issues, but for the most part, I try to keep away from these topics on my wall. I have friends and family who are all over the board on these issues. I choose to keep it more light, and use social media as a tool to make people happy, inspire them, keep them feeling good about themselves, and make them laugh. If others want to post political or religious topics on their wall, that’s entirely their choice. That’s okay! If it is negative, or I don’t agree with it, I don’t have to read it, comment on it, or even continue to follow that person.
A few years ago, I had a former childhood acquaintance attack me on social media over political differences. I did not invite this conversation. I did not encourage this conversation. The things he was saying were just outrageous, hateful, and mean. In the middle of it, I deleted him as a “friend” (someone I hadn’t seen or even really thought about in over 30 years), and fortunately, his comments disappeared. I will only do this if someone is completely out of line with me. Usually, I just “unfollow” them if they annoy me. I’ve had to block a couple who were stalking or making me uncomfortable. I know people have unfollowed or unfriended me for whatever reason. That’s their choice. I try not to be offensive to anyone, but if that’s the way someone else sees it, then they probably don’t know me well enough to know that I would never use social media to hurt or attack anyone. Actually, I would never use ANY platform to hurt, attack, or offend anyone!
I see a few people on social media who I think are insecure, lonely, or hurting. This may be the only outlet they have. If it helps them to find a support circle, or if they have found solace in writing about their struggles, then social media has been positive for them in this way. Maybe having a lot of social media friends gives them hope and security.
I sometimes see a post that declares not all posts “are about you.” I’ve seen people get really upset thinking someone is passive aggressively attacking them through their posts. Maybe they are? I don’t know. I find this a bit outrageous, and I don’t even know how to defend it. Directing aggressive posts at people, or thinking every post is about you…….I don’t have an explanation for either side on that one……
I do believe that social media is a tool, but how we choose to use that tool is the key. In a world where there is so much negativity, anger, spitefulness, and hate, we should all try to use it in a positive way. Please be careful with how you use social media. Remember, it isn’t a popularity contest. Love yourself. Love others. Don’t use it as a tool to seek revenge, approval, spread lies, hate, or anger. Use it to BE KIND.