“Social media spark a revelation that we, the people, have a voice, and through the democratization of content and ideas we can once again unite around common passions, inspire movements, and ignite change.”
― Brian Solis,
I read yet another post about the People On Facebook You Should Defriend Immediately. The list included: The political ranter, the baby pics poster, the oversharer, the bragger and on and on. Hypothetically speaking, say I did this, there would be no one left to be friends with! I think we miss the point of social media – it’s social. Meaning, that you are sharing space with people that feel and think differently from you.
What is particularly curious are the people that hate on social media while on social media. You can close your computer or put your phone down at any point. It seems to be the cool thing to say you hate social media. Or, that the relationships are not real? I’ve actively maintained a lot of relationships by way of Facebook. That may not have been possible 15 years ago.
Social media isn’t for everyone. In some cases, it can cause significant conflict and challenges in relationships. I think people say things online that they would not say in person because there are little if any social consequences. In the real world, if I call you a name, I have to deal with the consequence of seeing your face and knowing I hurt your feelings. And, if I’m not a sociopath that will hurt me, too.
Social media is a place for all of the life stuff. I think it’s fine to brag, overshare, talk about your kids, talk about your pets, talk politics, and rant about nothing. If something bothers you, you can scroll right on past it or you can block seeing that person’s updates without defriending them. I cannot handle seeing pictures of abused animals, even if it is in an effort to raise awareness. So, if you posted those pics, I probably don’t see your posts anymore. But, if I’m curious to what’s happening in your world, you’re still there for me to peak in on.
Social media is like a big party and we’re all invited. You don’t have to talk to everyone at the party. You don’t have to go to the party. And, if it upsets you to see what people are talking about, maybe put your phone down for a minute and take a break from the party. I just think it’s silly to say what your friends should post and not post.
Who am I to say? I think I might have a Nickleback CD buried in my closet and I am a fierce supporter of social justice. Maybe you should defriend me. Or, maybe I will keep my lovely conservative friends so I can share in what’s happening in their lives and they can share in mine. It’s rather perfect for me as an introverted extrovert to chat with people that live in different parts of the world (or down the street).
I don’t always like what people post and sometimes it upsets me, but I want to stay connected. I want to see your kids grow up. I want to see your sunsets. I want to know that your job is going well or that you suffered a big loss in your life. I want to see your fun adventure because I might not have thought to travel there without first seeing you do it. Remember, humans are wired for connection, that’s why Facebook is a billion dollar industry. And, it’s okay to admit you like being connected.
I think what happens is that we get into comparing our lives with others. That’s just useless. We all struggle. We all face hardships. Some people are comfortable sharing their challenges online and others are not. But, there is no use thinking that someone has it better than you because they posted their new car or their engagement. Celebrate their success and get back in your own lane.
Anyway, I probably won’t defriend you unless you’re vulgar, cruel, or crass. Or, if you inbox me something inappropriate. I might deactivate from time to time to focus on other things, but I’m sure I’ll be back to the party. I’ll miss you and that’s okay.
“Now, see, that’s why everybody wants Internet friends. You can find people just exactly like you. Screw your neighbors and your family, too messy.’ Dovey’s phone buzzed, and she laughed, ignoring it. ‘The trouble is, once you filter out everybody that doesn’t agree with you, all that’s left is maybe this one retired surfer guy living in Idaho.”
― Barbara Kingsolver,