I love social media. I also hate social media. I’ve developed this love/hate relationship because I love what social media has the power to do for good. I’ve seen successful charity initiatives, family and friends reconnecting, celebrations, and of course there is my admiration for social media marketing. But I’ve also witnessed the negative power social media has on its users. Sometimes social media is used, for a lack of better phrase, just to be mean. And I’m not sure if the effect that typed words have on others is always understood.
When I graduated high school and was ready to take on the almost real world, I was a little naïve in believing that everyone would just go on through life, doing their own thing and not caring about what the person beside them is doing.
I’ve noticed this is the case in most scenarios, but then there are the instances where you read or hear certain critiques of people that are blatantly mean. Even the smallest pieces of a person’s life or body can become the subject of criticism and gossip. This always catches me off guard because we all have such different styles and personalities that you’re bound to come across people of all kinds.
No, we are not going to be friends with every person we encounter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show kindness in our interactions with other people, after a person walks away AND when we get in front of a computer screen.
You don’t like someone’s hair? Cool, don’t get yourself that haircut at your next appointment. Does someone have a different political view than you? Awesome! Because you’re actually allowed to express your own opinions (AMERICA, yay). Does someone have a hobby you think is weird? GREAT, let that person enjoy it and don’t try the same hobby in your spare time.
But why make a negative comment toward any of these?
Does laughing at another person’s appearance actually benefit your life in any manor? Unless you’re making money off judging people’s appearance (Fashion Police, looking at you and not as a fan) then I’m guessing, probably not. Maybe instead of frowning upon something we don’t like or agree with, we start looking harder for the things we do appreciate in a person.
Even a random stranger. I know it’s unheard of. Why would you EVER talk to someone you aren’t friends with? Just wait and see the smile on that person’s face when you tell them their outfit looks great, or that they did amazing on that class presentation. I like to believe I am part of the norm when I say that this actually makes me feel a hell of a lot better than ripping on a girl’s dress because it might not be something I’d pull out of my own closet.
There are so many other things–important things–happening in this world to worry about. What other people think of you should not be one of these worries; but yet, we all can probably admit to caring a little too much about other’s opinions at one time or another. The older I get, I like to believe I’m becoming more secure with myself and immune to caring about what the person next to me is thinking because in reality, the majority of people are so preoccupied with their own lives that they aren’t going to notice what a mess you might be that day (or everyday). But then you open up the Internet to see all these judgments…
Scroll through your Twitter feed and you’ll be hard-pressed to find it free of judgments. Personally, I’ve created a phrase as a reminder to double check my own social media:
Never post something that includes the kind of humor Ellen DeGeneres would not be proud of.
I’m by far not a saint over here, but I am working a little harder each day to throw a couple extra compliments around if I get the opportunity. It’s not going to solve anyone’s life problems, but at least it might give a friend (or stranger) a quick smile and some extra confidence during what might just be a pretty rough day.
In the words of the previously mentioned Ellen DeGeneres,
I THINK WE NEED MORE LOVE IN THE WORLD. WE NEED MORE KINDNESS, MORE COMPASSION, MORE JOY, MORE LAUGHTER. I DEFINITELY WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO THAT.”