Opening up a blank Word document should inspire excitement. It’s a blank canvas to fill. Instead we open the document and see all of that white space with a little cursor sitting there in a juxtaposition that is both mocking and winking. This is not unlike how I feel about why social media inspires us to forget to be kind.
I’ve been in this space for close to eleven years. I’ve had an Instagram profile since 2014 where I discovered the Bookstagram community. It was a fun discovery I didn’t expect to enjoy as I did. The no expectation days were the best days. It was lovely. Long story short, I fell out of love for multiple reasons including the stifling of creators.
But learning and observing all of this is showing me something else about social media.
DISCUSSION | CANCEL CANCEL CULTURE: THIS IS HOW I’M JOINING IN
In the recent weeks I’ve observed two situations that convinces me that social media inspires a lack of goodness. Before I go forward I do want to state I believe in personal responsibility. I believe in owning up to something if you do something wrong. That said, social media does nothing to inspire humans be good.
The controversy is on a page I follow religiously and had felt “at home” in. The dust up was first stirred up after a post went up where the comments began to disagree with the content and caption. In all honesty, the comments I read weren’t bad. What I saw, outside some that did seem out of line, were an agree-to-disagree kind of way. The page posted up something the following day clapping back at the comments. Also totally fine. Here’s why I think some of it went wrong.
The response misunderstands some things, and allows their bias to affect their response. It says its page is not “debates” and also discusses the understanding they cover topics opposing their value system. I think on the part of commenters, some of them are, yes, unkind. Many were 100% fine even in disagreement. We’re supposed to want this. Some commenters should re-think what they said. Most shouldn’t feel the least bit guilty. On the part of the respondent, they miss the point of these comments and in their rush to clap back, they didn’t respond well… and honestly, I think they make some assumptions that aren’t there.
I also think it’s unfair to say they aren’t “debates.” Anytime you leave off with “what do you think of…” or you post something “controversial” (which they sometimes do), you are, call it what you’d like, open for “debates,” discussion or discourse. They also seem to resist constructive criticism.
In scolding comment group B, they come off as chastising group A, who should feel no guilt. In turn, some of comment group A on the respondent’s post come across as “better than you” which is what they accuse the B group commenters of. And thus is a vicious, nonproductive cycle.
This I all say in a self-teaching way. Writing this is part of that learning; and constructive criticism is all about learning.
Social media has a bubble of anonymity and protection. It’s all behind a screen where you can be anyone you want without having to face someone. Because of this, social media fosters this “instant” need to clap back or leave some sort of smart reply. We don’t read something, react (privately), breathe and then, if we want, come back and comment. Discussion is good. Conversation is good. Debate is good. But we should encourage this because it’s how we become critical thinkers. We have to have grace.HOW SOCIAL MEDIA INSPIRES US TO FORGET TO BE KIND. #SOCIALMEDIA #BEKIND #KINDNESS #OPINION #DISCUSSION #THOUGHTS #OPINIONS Click To Tweet
I know through all of this I’m again re-thinking social media. I’m again wondering where I go from here. It’s a dilemma constantly on my mind. But it’s also something that troubles me in a “bigger” picture kind of way. This quote from Sweet Sequels’ page always hits me because I take it as meaning that, yes, we put certain things on social media, but that’s not the sum of our life. I often wish mass amounts of people would take 30, 60 days off social media, go out and do life. Talk with people. See their expressions. Hear their tone of voice. Go places. Experience things. It’s never going to happen, but if it did, I think we’d find the human connection and experience would improve.
We have this weird irrational fear that if we’re not on social media somehow we’re missing out. The truth is, and this the real secret, by being on social media, we’re actually missing out on life. That’s where good is at.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree or disagree? Have you observed things you wish you could constructively share thoughts on? Have you ever experienced a situation you wish were handled differently? Do you think social media makes us worse? Do you think I’m dead wrong? Comment all the comments below – let’s have some good discussion.
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