What Do You Think?

These are interesting times we live in.  We are a nation hyper concerned about privacy yet we air out our lives on social media.  We get angry if a company breaches our privacy.  There are heavy consequences for that company in fact.  But we have no issue sharing all kinds of things on Facebook or Twitter.

For those of us who are old enough to remember life before the Internet, these times are particularly interesting.  The younger generation sees social media as normal life.  Sharing your life, feelings and everything else with the rest of the world is normal.  For us older folks… well we should have the ability to be a bit more objective.

When I look at the posts of many of my friends on Facebook objectively I am amused, confused, disturbed and surprised.  Some of you like to share every single place you go to.  Others like to point out everything in your life that sucks many times a day so that people have the opportunity to feel sorry for you.  Still others like to post things as a generalized, passive-aggressive ‘attack’ on someone that they know will be reading the post.

I am guilty of most things I listed above.  Without a doubt I have used my Facebook or Twitter account to air out some anger that has risen inside me.  I have “checked in” several times in a day (I don’t know why).  I have been passive aggressive.  The question is, though, would I do most of these things in real life?  Maybe some of them.

All of this is done in a public forum.  We are all hungry to read this stuff too.  But be honest, has it shaped your opinion of some folks?  I know it has shaped mine for sure.

It’s much easier to use social media to premeditate the way people see you than it is to actually live for real in front of people.  In real life, you don’t have the luxury of rewriting your script before presenting it to the world.  Nope… you just live.

We don’t really tend to be ourselves in social media.  I venture to say that no one is who they portray themselves as on Facebook.  How many people do you know on Facebook that appear highly spiritual (for example) when they are not?  How many times do you see who I really am when you read my posts?  Inside information…  I generally revise my posts several times before sending them out.  I bet you do too.  But that’s not what you get when you hang out with me.  You see my flaws, my strengths and my character in the wild.  I hope it’s more positive than negative.

I think that social media has an impact on the development of our character.  It’s much easier, for example, to write a vague, passive-aggressive post about someone without actually naming them than it is to call that person and deal with the issues you have.  Character.

I am certainly not against social media by any stretch.  It has its purpose for sure.  But I am concerned by the actions of my friends and sometimes myself.  I think we have adopted this social media beast as a ‘natural’ means of having relationships.  But these type relationships are fraught with flaws and misunderstandings.  Have you ever had social media miscommunication with someone because you couldn’t or didn’t accurately say what you wanted to say?  Or maybe it was misinterpreted?

If we were all honest, we would have to admit that a tremendous amount of our social media actions are an effort to get attention.  We all want to be heard, read, patted on the back, felt sorry for, praised, etc.  But social media should be an accessory to real life relationships, not the sole means.

I was thinking… what if you had to sit in a room with all of the people on your friends list and speak the words to them instead of posting them on Facebook?   Isn’t it the same thing?  No it’s not.  We all know it’s not.  I just went through my last few posts and chuckled at the thought of sitting in a room with all of you and saying these things out loud.  I challenge you to do the same thing.

I don’t mean to offend anyone.  I truly wasn’t thinking of any specific individuals while writing this out.  But if I am offensive to you, I encourage you to remove me from your friends list.  I am sincerely not hurt by that and I don’t want to cause anyone unnecessary grief.  But if you like my offensiveness, feel free to follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

This has just been a disjointed spewing of what’s on my mind.  Sorry for the lack of organization and flow.  I just wanted to pour out some thoughts on pixels before they left my extremely short memory.  I only revised a couple sentences.  You can trust me.