Healthy Living

The shift in social – Taking a break

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I desperately needed a commercial break from social media for awhile.

It started simple enough. I was away a few weeks back and couldn’t sleep. So naturally I started surfing FB feeds to catch up on what was going on with everyone.

And there it was.

In my feed was a video of a woman, holding a baby. The link bait title called it Mother From Hell. I won’t link it here because it doesn’t deserve to be spread any more.

The baby starts to cry and the woman starts violently slapping its face to make it stop crying. I couldn’t continue watching, the imagery made me physically ill. I quickly went on to another part of Facebook in search of rainbows or happy updates. Instead, I found another post of a security camera video in which a little child (like we are talking maybe 2 or 3) getting the shit kicked out of him by a grown adult. I started to cry. There were children getting hurt and yet the views on both were well in the millions.

I needed to get this imagery out of my head but as I scrolled again, I was struck. Struck by how angry, how entitled or simply how awful people were being online. How bitchy has become so part of the norm and mean posts tend to be the ones that go viral. Social media has become the Lord of the Rings scene when they predict what would happen to middle earth if evil took its reign. Because to me, that’s happening.

And all I could think was, when did it come to this?

I live in the this space. It’s something I normally am all too excited to share with everyone on the beauty, the connections and the merit of being involved in the social space..

Social media is great if it enlightens you, motivates you, helps you thrive creatively, give purpose.

This beautiful shoutout was found in a cafe in Granada, Nicaragua
This beautiful shoutout was found in a cafe in Granada, Nicaragua

But this shift in social… The judgement, the cesspool of content, the mean, the hate, the acceptance of things just so blatantly wrong has just got to stop.

I needed air.

You never know anyone’s full story.

It’s a mantra we have had in our house for awhile now. For us, it provides perspective and compassion on those days when we have none. It helps us seek a different angle of understanding in those moments when it seems impossible not to be full of anger or judgement.

In social, when you see what everyone else is doing, where everyone else is going, how they are excelling, you quickly take a pulse on yourself and question why you aren’t doing, going, excelling near as much as they are.

It creates a space of envy or jealousy but how on earth does that help you?

Yes we were climbing kili but do you see a place to go pee anywhere?
Yes we were climbing kili but do you see a place to go pee anywhere?

This is not the complete picture of someone else’s life and that social media is not a true expression of what life is like for any of us.

It is simply that sound bite that gets on TV.

It’s the highlight reel.

2% of someone’s life and yet so often we weigh ours against that? Why? How can you form an opinion when you don’t have the full story? WHY do you think it’s reasonable to have an opinion of someone else’s life in the first place?

Anger brings on more anger. Haters are gonna hate but you don’t need to lend your hand to that.

I am back in the world of social but doing it with caution. Finding and sharing only things that will lend itself to being kind, grateful, and nice.

After all, you never know anyone’s story.

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Tags : Being compassionate on socialBeing kind on socialhate content being delivered in socialJudging social mediaNasty social media behaviourSocial media kindnessYou never know anyone's story

2 Comments

  1. I think the gut reaction stems from a sense of protectiveness, or possibly from fear. In other words, if we don’t “pass judgement” like everyone else, we’re afraid of ourselves being judged that we are supporting the action. To witness an atrocity is significant not because we can lash out, but it enables someone to remove the veil of secrecy over such an action.

    The problem with revealing these atrocities in any form of disconnected media is that we are unable to stop the action as it is happening. Our call to Witness becomes invalidated. Instead, we feel helpless and outraged without a target upon whom to intervene. The default then becomes judgement instead of helping.

    When I come across a videos such as these, I am most disturbed by the need for the person filming to stay behind the camera. This is because were I in the room, I know my instinct would be to jump in and protect the person being harmed, or to alert authorities. I cannot connect with the inherent need that we’ve developed as a society to film first, judge second and help third.

    I recently watched a video of man obviously having an episode of delusion in the family home, a place that is increasingly becoming a public forum. He was violent, ranting, and destructive of property. The person filming kept yelling, “Call the police!” while she continued to film (presumably with her phone). When he was most vulnerable, this man’s poor mental health became an amusement for hundreds of thousands of people. The tiniest fraction of commentators remarked in his support, rather than laugh at him and the family member he yelled at.

    I hope this isn’t the future of social media.

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