Thursday, February 6, 2014

An open letter to my social media friends

There are many things I am still learning about life and maturity. So my open letter is not coming from the guy who has figured it all out. However, I want to issue a plea to all my fellow social media users. I believe we have allowed social media to distort how we deal with issues in our lives. Let me explain.

One of the drawbacks of social media is that it has dulled our sense of what should be shared publicly and what should not. We have become so accustomed to telling everyone about our lives that wisdom has walked out the door. We over share details of our lives that should be kept to ourselves or our family. There are such things as inappropriate status updates - and it has nothing to do with the amount of clothing you are wearing. 

You know this to be true. How many times have you been on social media and read a status and thought to yourself, "TMI" or "over share"? How many times has your spouse or friend said to you, "did you see what _______ posted on Facebook today?" So we are all aware that this happens. But what we like to think is that it doesn't happen with us.

Instead of keeping certain things to ourselves or taking time to process issues with people in real life, we blast our thoughts for all the world to see. In doing this we think we are being authentic and real, you know, really sharing our lives with others. But instead what happens is we live under the illusion we are actually dealing with issues when in fact we are not. We actually start using social media to be passive aggressive and "make a statement" when what we should do is pick up a phone or go sit down with someone.

Airing out your marriage problems on Facebook is inappropriate. Talking about how bad someone hurt you or how disappointed you are in someone is not Facebook material. Why? Because these are things you should address with a much smaller group of people in real life, not the social media world. You may garner sympathy and a slew of encouragers, but what happens if you are the problem or reason for the dispute? What happens if you are in the wrong? People on Facebook don't know that...because they are not really in your life. They are in the life you portray. There's a big difference. 

People I went to high-school with 15 years ago, that I do not see or interact with in daily life, do not need to know I'm angry at my wife or grieving some internal hurt. Why? Because they cannot do anything. Social media was not created for dealing with life issues. You can stay in touch with people through social media, but it is not supposed to be the place where our relationships take place. And because of that, it is not the place where we air our problems and hurts, at least not the real ones. Those are reserved for the people who are truly in our lives. These are the people who can love us enough to tell us when we are wrong. They are not just people who will "like" our latest rant because they are ignorant of the actual details.

May we learn to exhibit self-control and recognize that not everything needs to be posted for everyone to see. Instead of rushing to update our status when something happens in life, perhaps we need to take time to process and think and consult people who are really in our lives.

The guy who has to delete many status' composed in frustration and hurt

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  1. So much to learn from this. Thank you!

  2. I looked at and found a social network DEDICATED to making people happy and avoiding negativity!! I immediately put it on my phone LOL

  3. I hear you, Erik. Social media was created as another means of connecting with other people, and also as a way of emotional release from the stress that we feel everyday. However, it’s really frustrating that there seems to be no limit on what we should or not post.

    Layla Stabile