Social media: the “always on” connection to friends, family, trends in business, what’s happening in the world. Readily available at a moment’s notice. The always connected world is so important in business and in our personal lives. How we manage our connections socially is a lesson in life for all of us. Those social media moments can become consuming and in some regard unhealthy. Let me share my experience….
Facebook was a place to connect with my friends and family across the country. A way to watch and experience the lives of my connections and feel a part of their journey – even at thousands of miles away. Pictures of children as well as pride in academics, athletics, and life achievements all there with a click or a scroll. What was once a wonderful thing slowly manifested into a platform for anger, hate, and lack of respect.
I am clearly not opposed to freedom of speech or people’s ability to share opinions on topics such as politics, addiction, sexual orientation, religion, etc. That’s what our country was founded on and a belief system that we can all share and participate in. But what happened to being kind? To being okay with opinions and ideals that may not be aligned with yours?
Social media has fully uncovered the lack of respect for each other in a very public fashion. Family, friends, and strangers attack each other with such vitriol, disdain, and hatred. People piling on to social network pages attacking strangers for thoughts, experiences, and opinions.
What was once a source of social connection and enjoyment was turning into an obsession with the hatred and trying to understand why. It began causing me stress and a true unsettling feeling. I considered deactivating and taking a break but it didn’t happen…..that is until one morning I witnessed what I call my breaking point. Enough said – I deactivated the account.
With time to decompress and think through my action I realized the person I was punishing was me – my connections to friends and family were gone. It then dawned on me that with twitter I can choose to follow who I want…..and I could do the same with people and pages on Facebook that were becoming too toxic. I decided to take the high road (no, I did not create an alias FB account) and be true to who I am. I reactivated Facebook and blocked or unfollowed people or pages that don’t foster a positive spirit of community.
One week later, I am reconnected with a different perspective. I can check on friends and family each day and I can post my thoughts and opinions with kindness . I can share the spirit of respect, inclusion, and kindness and model those tenets on Facebook as I do in life and in my other social media venues – LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
As my friend Jenn always says, Be kind. Always be kind.