The pendulum of my love-hate relationship with social media has been swinging toward the hate side lately. I’ve come to the conclusion we need a new platform. LifeGram? RealBook? I don’t know. But I do know what my rules would be…
- Anecdotal stories about YOUR life, family, friends—totally acceptable.
- If YOU wrote something, created something, accomplished something…by all means, SHARE. If your kid, spouse, granny nanny, or someone else you PERSONALLY KNOW wrote, created, accomplished something…by all means, SHARE. Let your cyber community celebrate with you!
- You need something? Prayers, a recommendation, book suggestions…don’t shy away from putting it out there. We are here to support you, even if we’re thousands of miles away.
- Photographs of your kids, dogs, mom, grandpa, nephew, bestie, current view, recent vacation, smiling spiffy faced selfies and/or just finished crying your face off selfie—ABSOLUTELY ALLOWED. Because more than just about anything… I want to see YOU and YOUR REAL LIFE in photographs and videos. I eat that stuff up! That is the true beauty of social media…the ability to connect, support, and love on those we don’t see in our daily lives.
But FOR THE LOVE, can we all just cool it with, well, basically, EVERYTHING else?
Maybe I’m just grumpy? Then again, maybe not. I believe there’s likely an army of others on board with this, so hear me out…
I subscribe to news agencies in the form of old fashioned news papers, television, pod casts, radio, and yes, social media. I do not need my social media “friends” to inform me of current events—locally, nationally, or globally. Please assume I’m already reading the articles, watching the videos, listening to the latest, and in general, reinforcing my already strongly-held beliefs with a variety of my own personal selection of information outlets.
Okay, so that last bit was a jab. But…it also holds a lot of truth.
Research has shown time and time again—sharing information on social media does nothing to change strongly held beliefs and/or habitual behaviors. What does it do? At best, it makes us feel good about ourselves when people agree with us. At worst, it incites a level of back and forth banter among friends and strangers that often lays waste to all normally acceptable rules of engagement or civil discourse…which leads to assumptions, judgments, and divisiveness.
It’s not that we can’t engage in the intelligent discussion of opposing ideas. I had a freaking fantastic discussion the other night at my book club. Six women sat around a table, representing a variety of political ideologies, and we civilly discussed heated, sensitive topics. We absolutely did not agree on every issue, but we did listen to each other, value opinions—even opposing opinions, and we participated in being actual real life friends discussing actual real life issues. Mind-blowing, I know.
Maybe that is the way we should always tackle expressing our point of view when it comes to controversial topics with our friends? Just an idea. Oh wait…I have another idea…maybe we should exercise our ability to abstain altogether from engaging in arguments with people we don’t actually know, ESPECIALLY when we’re not actually SPEAKING to them, but rather reading tone-deaf commentary? Something to ponder.
The thing is…I’m over scrolling endlessly and seeing nothing but…garbage.
Can I get a filter button that gives me only actual real life?
No sponsored ads. Nothing to buy or sell. Nothing regurgitated, sensationalized, or spin-doctored. No recipes. No “motivational” spam. No cartoons—political or otherwise. No human interest stories or human horror stories—unless I ACTUALLY KNOW the humans in said stories.
Is that too much to ask?
Friends, I really, truly do not aim to offend. I’m just…tired.
Life feels a little heavier lately—in a very personal way, and also in a much larger, national and global way. Maybe it’s just like that…you get to a certain point in life and *poof* it gets harder…because…it becomes more important.
Could it be possible that while we give away minutes of our hours, and hours of our days, and days of our lives to inanimate screens, what we are hoping to see reflected in them is that which we are trying so desperately not to miss?
This life of mine is flying by. My parents will read that line and laugh, but they will also slowly nod, identifying with the truth of it. If there is one commodity we all must spend wisely it is time.
The irony of these particular sentiments being shared on a blog, which will inevitably find its way to hundreds of news feeds, is not lost on me. Some will argue it’s contradictory to value time, yet admittedly spend so much of it engaging in, and contributing to, social media. Perhaps they are right.
But for me…I’m searching that screen for you, your children, your triumphs and challenges, and us—how we are the same and how we are different, how we share this experience…this real life. I don’t want to miss it. I want to share it with you, and I love that so many wish to do the same with me.
My far flung friends, family, and acquaintances, peek into my life through the lens of social media, and I believe they enrich it with their cyber support and virtual connection. I try to do the same.
Maybe we can make it a little easier on one another…by filtering the feed. Not by applying a filter over any of it, but rather, by filtering out the parts that aren’t really of us…leaving behind… ACTUAL real life.