Many of us have a love/hate thing with social media.
Is it connecting us? Or ripping the fabric of society apart?
Both at the same time, maybe?
I’m no social psychologist, so I don’t have the answer.
All I know is that — especially on Facebook — people can tend to easily dip down and express their lowest selves. They turn from nice, warm, reasonable people into complete buffoons.
There’s this guy who’s a Facebook friend of my wife… He’s constantly posting the most obnoxious comments and posts — the ones that make you think we’re living in the 2006 dystopian comedy, Idiocracy. Anyhow, I found out he was going to be at an event we were going to and was terrified. But at the event, I met him and thought, Hmmm… THIS is the guy? Seems nice enough. Reasonable. He’s putting together good sentences, is super friendly, and seems to have a level head. What the…?
Here’s the effect that social media (keeping our focus today on Facebook since it’s the funnest to pick on) has on people. It makes them think they have a sort of digital bullhorn to shout through, but they’re physically removed from the crowd, so no one can tackle them mid-sentence and wrestle the device from their hands before showing them the door.
You get it.
I’m preaching to the choir here.
But here’s my word of advice — because most of us are guilty of this in one degree or another.
When you share on social media, tell yourself that it might be the last thing you ever say.
No kidding. You’re not lying to yourself because it could be true. The next minute in this body is not guaranteed. (Although, chances are, you’re going to be fine.)
Not to get too dark here, but it brings things into perspective (as is common for most life principles, this is widely applied outside of Facebook, of course).
Before you post, ponder…
Am I okay with these being my last words?
Now, don’t get me wrong… I’ve said fart jokes that I’m totally fine with being my last words (they were really funny, if I do say so myself). So I’m not saying everything you write has to be super deep, thoughtful, profound, etc.
But does it hurt just to hurt? Does it hate just to hate? Does it get laughs from the expense of someone’s character? Does it separate and divide out of pettiness? Is it passive-aggressive or overtly manipulative?
Some things need to be said. Some jokes need to be cracked. Some people need to be called out. Sometimes, even the mundane is beautiful.
Please don’t see this as a behavior manual. I’m not the moral God of the internet (although that would make for a great byline).
See this more as a helpful tip for self inquiry and living in integrity with yourself.
If it helps, great.
If not, go forward on Facebook and spew away.
P.S. This is why I pretty much only share deeper stuff on Medium. It’s designed for thoughtful messaging and to keep trolls silent (a least 95% of them). If you really have something meaningful to say, the venue matters.