By Dawn Onley
Social media has many plusses. It gives us access to a plethora of information resources. There’s a group for just about everything, making it pretty difficult to not find what we’re looking for. But my favorite aspect is it allows us to reconnect with our colleagues and classmates, in a fun and engaging way, and to stay abreast of family news. To top it off, it’s comedy gold.
It also has more than a few minuses. It’s addictive. It’s a tremendous time suck. It feels mindless and self-absorbed and negative more often than not, and if we’re not careful, it can reduce us to mindless, self-absorbed, negative posts. Normally just a scroll down the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram feed any time of day contains enough drama and shade to make The Haves and the Have Nots look like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
Yet we still tune in. The attention-seekers’ “Look at me!” posts annoy us, but we look because of the whole train wreck thingamajig. We immediately hate ourselves afterwards. The game requests keep coming no matter how many times we delete. The political posts draw us in like they were aimed to do. It takes great restraint to keep scrolling when we read something that is blatantly false. The scantily-clad women we see, thanks to our friends’ likes. The shares, and prayers, dares and players.
But what drives me the maddest are the posts that are flat out mean and malicious. The ones where people seduce craziness like a snake charmer hypnotizes snakes. And the crazies respond in droves. Mean people suck.
Unless one has been missing from Planet Earth in the past decade, it’s kind of hard not to see the shift in how information is disseminated and how social media represents a new paradigm. One irony that I’ve noticed is that social media users have become sensational in the same, oftentimes offensive way that some criticize the media for being – posting disturbing, insensitive, crass, perverted and bizarre videos, innuendos, news articles, and updates on a daily basis – sometimes multiple times throughout the day.
I’ve made a concerted effort this year to keep the vast majority of my posts positive – which isn’t too difficult for me because that’s largely who I am and also what I like to read. I try to include words and images that inspire and motivate. I want to be able to scroll down my page and read stories that uplift and not tear down.
There is plenty wrong with the world. Our social media imprint doesn’t have to be one of them. Use it for the greater good.