The irony is you are probably reading this through some sort of social media outlet. Let’s be real. That’s how I find most of the articles I read these days. But it's time to talk about the ugly of it all.
The cold hard truth about social media is that somewhere along the way it created an us versus them mentality; you are either with us or against us. The attack mode switch has been activated, and there is no space for disagreement or varying perspectives.
I don't know about you, but there are so many days when my newsfeed is flooded with negativity. Memes, quotes, and posts are shared over and over again, and no one takes the time to check their validity. Many of these posts spread hate and make generalizations about whole groups of people. It creates a never ending cycle of misinformation.
I see people posting things that they would never say to someone in person or bring up in face-to-face conversations. People hide in plain sight behind profile pictures and the coldness of the internet. It gives us an out. We don’t have to see the expression of the person our comments might hurt. We don’t have to defend ourselves if they offer a rebuttal. We don’t have to empathize with their perspective.
Ignore, delete, block…
Please don’t get me wrong. There are many things I truly value about social media. Keep all those pictures of your cute kids and fur babies coming! I also think it is extremely important to use your voice. Speak up and out for what you believe in and what lights a fire in you. But that’s just it. I miss the voice.
Through the computer, we lose what makes us human. We lose the inflection of our words, and words are so very powerful. We lose the expression on our face. We lose the reassuring touch. We lose our vulnerability.
Doing life with people is hard. Seeing their tears and sharing in their pain is not as simple as a like on Facebook. It’s sitting in that awkward silence when words fail you. It’s seeing the anguish on the face of someone you’ve hurt. It’s talking through your differences.
All I am saying is we are trying to teach our children how to navigate this new world of technological abundance and many of us adults are struggling. We are parenting in a world that is nothing like the one we knew as children. To be completely honest, I'm not sure where we go from here. But I hope we find ourselves in a place that moves away from collecting friends and back to truly valuing and investing in them.