Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Just Social

Social media has been less social and more media recently.

I don’t even know what that means exactly, but there’s a difference. I prefer social.

Before, I could depend on social media to inform me of goings-on, but it has escalated into something that I can’t understand. In the name of being heard people are at each other’s throats, shouting over each other and drowning everything out. Opinions fly; tempers flare. Everyone says the same thing, but throw in a misused word or the whisper of judgment and intolerance reigns. Nobody communicates as well on the internet as they do in real conversation, and never is that so apparent as in social media.

My online haven was filling with impulsive talk of hatred, judgment, anger and outrage. Attacking became the daily fare there, and after just enough time tolerating the fighting, I grew tired of its uselessness.

So I cut back.

The result was that I stopped hearing the arguing and the judgments against judgments that insist that judgments are wrong. In effect, I changed the channel.

When hate and outrage against hate and pointing fingers at what’s wrong and who’s wrong was the name of the game, I stopped being a spectator. I know what’s right and wrong and feel awful about some things I see in the world and I do what I can to live my life and stay my course.

When my son was a baby, four planes crashed into three buildings and a field and thousands of people were killed. My husband and I watched the news about this event around the clock. We couldn’t do anything about it but watch and live our lives and be conscientious of how we were living.

In the years that followed we read the newspaper and watched the evening news to inform ourselves of current events. I usually skipped the Op-Ed section of the newspaper because while I know that people are free to voice their opinions in this country, mine - like most people’s - are rarely swayed by another person’s opinion. Plus, there was usually ranting, and I experienced enough ranting from my toddlers at home.

I’m on social media a little bit these days, spending most of my time on Facebook in fun groups and chatting with friends and checking out pictures of friends’ kids and wishing people Happy Birthday, often a day late, because that’s how I roll socially.

I still get my news from the news and not from my friends’ opinions. That rule of manners that says to stay away from hot button issues like politics and religion in conversations may be old fashioned and unpracticed, but there is a thread of politeness that can be sustained. 

I can listen to your views. You can listen to mine. We agree on most things, but I believe in x, y and z, and you believe in a, b, and c. I like you. You like me. We don’t have to convince each other of anything, do we? This is a free country. We can believe in some different things and not hack each other up. But we both have to agree to do that for it to work. Let’s try it.

After all, the news will come and go, but you’re my neighbor, and we might need to depend on each other more than anyone else in the world at some point.



  1. I miss your throwback pictures on Facebook. They still pop up here and there but I looked forward to those. Honestly, your Facebook posts are refreshing and make me laugh so much. You are doing social media right, my friend.

    1. Thanks Kari. I find it hard to be light and silly when there's so much ugliness, but I'm trying to get back to it. You are a very good role model for me in this endeavor. I love reading everything you've got going on. xo

      I just started up the throwback pictures again! I thought I had exhausted all the good ones, but ho ho ho there are more. :)

  2. I think your second to last paragraph (or was that the last and the two sentences were just that? I don't know lol but anyways) should be tattooed on a few heads...too much? But seriously, Tom and I struggle with this. I need to be heard but he needs to be heard louder and last haha haha although he totally would disagree with that.
    There's a lot of frustration right now. The election definitely isn't helping... and I think it's causing a lot of hurt feelings when realizing that some neighbors, co workers or friends feel strongly one way about what someone else may feel is unjust behaviors. I've unfollowed a LOT of people and will consider following them again after the hoopla of the election is over. I like you. I wish we had time to talk more and actually get to know each other outside of FB, and me stalking your blogs but we will get there, you know why? Cause I LIKE YOU:)

    1. Ha! You make me laugh. I like you too.

      I had an experience one day where I suggested to another person that sometimes we can inadvertently add deeper meaning to what others say and we miss their real intent. The comeback was not kind, and it actually escalated that person's fury against what she rails against. It really made me see that sometimes people just want to be angry about things.

      I'm not here for fighting. I'm here to enjoy life and the people around me. xo

  3. I can scroll past the negativity for the most part (and truthfully, my feed is pretty respectful, even when people disagree, so I guess I'm lucky or have chosen my friends wisely?!); and yet I, too, am growing weary of the constant debate/confrontation/outrage.

    As you said, I don't change my views based on a link someone shares. Pretty much ever. And I believe we can all disagree and still love each other. In fact, that's the BEST time to love each other; the best opportunity to offer grace and acceptance. In what better way can we hope to influence others than to show them love no matter what?

    What's hardest for me to reconcile now are the people who are mad at those of us not engaging. I know of several Facebook friends who think taking a LOUD and widespread stand is obligatory.

    I do take stands, just not on Facebook, you know?

    I want Facebook to be about kids and dogs and funny pictures from 1982. I want to go there to feel happy and connected, not sold someone else's anger.

    (And believe me, I know this means I have the privilege to opt out. I get it. I do. And I live my life in this transparency; I teach my kids and speak to friends and family about privilege and rights and all the hashtags. I JUST DON'T WANT TO DO IT ON A SOCIAL MEDIA SITE.)

    So. I guess what I'm saying is I agree with you. And I am looking forward to a cool-down on FB because I'll miss you if you're not around...

    1. I used to scroll past or unfollow the negative stuff. But it became too much. I was spending so much time doing that, that I missed the funny animal videos and first day of school pictures. Well, maybe not the first day of school pictures. OMG SO MANY FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PICTURES

      I am not a fighter. I come at you with my hands spread wide, every time. I know this is not realistic for every person in the world. I know that a lot of people don’t operate this way. I simply always have.

      This: "In what better way can we hope to influence others than to show them love no matter what?"

      This is my life's motto. In everything I seek peace and love.

      I came here for the funny animal videos and first day of school pictures. I’ll stay for them, too.

      I guess the only stand I have to make is to remain in love. I can do that.

  4. I'm trying to spend very little time on Facebook and Twitter, and as you say sticking to the fun groups and leaving the vituperation to those who want to complain about stuff. Instagram is a great comfort, too, and there aren't many that post political stuff to it.

    1. Vituperation - perfect word. I like your style. Insta is good for a quick update on what people are actually doing with their lives.