The pathos of social media
Every one of us has seen it – and some of us are plenty guilty. We’ve seen or posted (or both) posts on social media that get your ire up for a number of reasons. You’ve no doubt scrolled across Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and seen the comments (and made your own unwritten responses in your mind) – perhaps such things as:
- “For your information, the things people are saying about my sister aren’t true. Stop slinging mud!” [how about you stop slinging it right here?]
- “Feeling depressed.” [here she goes again – creating drama]
- “Some people ought to not be in this family – just sayin’. ” [hmmm, I wonder who she’s talking about; maybe she’s the one who should step out of the family?]
- “I’m just shaking my head. How can people be so stupid?” [yeah, I’m wondering that about you; you put this out there without any explanation. What is anyone to do with that?!]
- “Yes, this explains how I feel about no one understanding about my illness.”[okay – I get it that you don’t think you’re getting enough sympathy]
Blessings of social media
I love social media because I can stay connected with family members in other parts of the US and in other countries. It’s easier than a phone call. Social media saves time: one person can let an entire family, community or church know of an event or concern by just making one post. Plus, people can look at the “news” when it’s convenient for them and not be interrupted in the middle of dinner or while in the grocery store. In addition, I’ve “attended” many cousins’ funerals by watching the live-stream later – funerals I would have missed entirely were it not for social media.
I enjoy social media because I am a reader and not a listener. Reading about an event rather than hearing it helps me retain the information. I know some people remember better if they hear it, but I’m the opposite.
Social media is an avenue for Truth and learning about truth. It’s an avenue for encouragement and bringing Salt and Light to the world. While it’s certainly true that we must be careful what we read and believe as truth, especially on social media, it’s time we recognize our responsibility to be wise and cautious in what we read and in how we respond (as in any other form of entertainment or news events.)
The bane of negative social media
We can spend time getting caught up on bandwagons, discussions, and fear mongering. Sometimes we get caught up in rifts and petty things that ought not take up our time. When it comes down to it, there are some things we could – and sometimes should – do that can help us in our struggle.
There are things we can do to help us control our time on social media. Recognize the areas that pull you down, then either choose to do something about it, or drop out.
Choices on negative social media
- Scroll on bye. Just don’t comment. Keep scrolling. [Sometimes not responding makes the person look more foolish than if you respond – especially when that person will do anything to have the last word.]
- Pray. Oh yes, we all need that. When you see a post that disturbs you, do you start by praying for the person? This is something I’ve been doing more of – and oh, does it change my tune!
- Unfollow. If you’re tired of the drama, you can click that “unfollow” button. You can still be somebody’s friend without having to see all the drama.
- Unfriend. There’s no stipulation that you have to be everybody’s friend on social media. You can just unfriend the person and leave the drama behind. Especially if posts keep showing in your feed that have vulgarity and inappropriate things you don’t want on your screen, just remove that frustration. You can still be friends in real life.
- Block. When there are people who continue to barrage you with comments (either on social media or otherwise), sometime’s it best to block that barrage. It helps keep you healthy. Blocking someone can be a form of protection. If you need that protection, go for it. If you’re not strong enough to keep scrolling, then sometimes consider that your best offense is to remove the frustration in this way. It doesn’t mean you can’t be that person’s friend in real life, but you don’t need to deal with that sickness on social media. The truth is that much of the barrage we get on social media is stronger and leaves a greater impression than it does in real life. For starters, we can go back and read the negativity over and over. Many times what folks say to us on social media are things they’d never say to someone’s face.
The good, the bad, the indifferent
Coming to terms with social media and its effect is healthy for all of us. Recognizing the power and the pull is essential for wholesomeness for all of us. By taking the steps necessary and creating boundaries, we can use social media for good. Yet, we must constantly check ourselves if we want to maintain a healthy balance in what we do. Don’t get caught up in the spiral of negative social media. Take the proper steps to protect yourself and promote good will to others in your social network!