How many times have you been scrolling through posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media platform and found crazy outrageous posts? How many times have you found super funny posts...that were at the expense of a person's feelings you knew or didn't know? I know that I see crazy stuff all of the time. I see stuff that's funny, scary, gory, creepy, overly sexual/perverted, vulgar, straight up nasty, sad, mean, racist, and everything in between. It's all over the internet and we all have the power to perpetuate it (which I'm certainly guilty of at times) OR we can choose not to spread it any further even if we want to read or look at it ourselves. Doing both has consequences. Have you ever thought really hard about what the consequences are? Let's look at some examples:
To perpetuate/share and keep these types of posts going can:
-Evoke a reaction from your social media friends that you want (maybe you want them to laugh, see how ridiculous something is, be grossed out, get angry with you about some kind of injustice, speculate about something, etcetera). It can also get reactions and feelings you don't want...
-Hurt someone intentionally or unintentionally because somehow your comment or fact that you were part of spreading it led to someone feeling really embarrassed or depressed because they could not handle the negative reactions. Yeah, this is a reality of social media and many people may feel like, "If you can't handle it, don't post it! It comes with the territory." While there is some truth to this, do you really want to be associated with something that hurt another person? A lot of times minors get caught up in this crazy social media world and learn the hard way. Ever wonder how all posts we see got there in the first place? Someone just thought it was a good idea...and it got spread.
-Give you a reputation that you may or may not want because if you are known for posting certain types of things then that does shape other people's idea of you, your values, your judgement, how much respect you have for yourself/others, what type of parent/spouse/partner/family member you might be...I can go on, but I think you get the picture right? Yeah, people shouldn't judge others, but we know they do. We all do. It's human nature and part of survival. Anyway, don't think for a second that you're not being judged simply by what you post. Your posts are kind of an extension of who you are and what you like. What do your posts or posts that you share on your page say about you ...and exactly who is seeing them? Co-workers, classmates, family members, kids and/or more? Do you care? Be honest to yourself if not anyone else.
To NOT perpetuate/share and keep these types of posts going can:
-Save yourself and other people time and potential heartache by not having negative rooted things to read in your/their feed that may or may not even be true. How much time have you wasted looking at stuff that leads to nothing but negative comments, mean jokes, or people getting heated at each other...over what? A post. What if you chose NOT to post or contribute to stuff like that yourself?
-Help you not be associated with someone else's relationship problems OR cause your own. Spreading certain posts or posting questionable pictures can be like spreading gossip or how much it appears that you don't respect a current relationship you may be involved in...he say she say is all speculation, so why contribute to someone else's or your own drama? Social media is probably not the place for dirty laundry or your dirty thoughts. Even if you feel something needs to be communicated...Why not be grown and have a face to face conversation? ...or put that smart phone to your ear and have a one on one talk. Moments of gratification from social media whether it be to chew someone out, put another person on blast in any way that could be hurtful, or be a little too open about our sexual desires is not worth risking important relationships...is it?
-Avoid having people important to you see you in a less than respectful way or just personally labeling you a certain way that you may not be. Think about who you are impacting. Your family/kids or elders in your family, someone at your job who could impact your work situation, people you look up to and respect are people that you may not want to have a bad image of you. How we conduct ourselves on social media will impact who see's whether we like it or not. What impact are we having?
These are just some of several ways that our posts, what we share, and the way we comment on some posts can effect the bigger picture of how we are perceived. Busy Fams challenges YOU to just ask yourself at least 1 of these key questions as you play on social media:
- Why am I posting this and what is my intention for the person/people who will see it?
- Is this post/comment going to be helpful to people who see it or is it rooted in negativity?
- Is it really even worth the time?
- Why do I "LIKE" this and what might others think if they see that I "LIKE" it?
- Am I just spreading this for shock value/sensationalism?
- If it's just funny and I want to share the laugh, who/what is being laughed at...is it a real person whether I know them or not (even a celebrity)?
- Is there anyone that I would NOT want to see what I'm thinking about posting? Why?
These are just things to think about. This is not a question of whether you agree or disagree with all of this. Millions of people get caught up in social media. It's part of our lives now. The question is how much time are we spending on these sites, who are we impacting, and is it worth it? We all have a different story behind what we get from it and what we want to experience. Many of us don't even give it a second thought. That is the intention of this post; to encourage a second thought. It is a super hard thing to do. It's easier said than done. Don't believe that? Try it then. I dare you! Please share any thoughts or reflections in the comments section.
Check out two of my favorite spoken word artists (Jefferson Bethke and Propaganda) on the impact of time spent on-line. Enjoy!
Image borrowed from "Why Media is So Addictive article" above.