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Social Media Microphone

I remember quite clearly when Facebook was introduced to me by a friend. It was the fall of my freshman year of college, 2004, and she swore this was going to be “all the rage” in no time at all. I bought into it, thinking it’ll be a nice way to keep in touch. Of course, the trick back then was trying to get your friends to join so it would work right.

It was a time when you were limited on the number of characters you could use in a status,  and it was always “Stacey is…” You were given a lot less freedom in creating yourself on a webpage than what we have today. Things began to evolve, and soon you could have your very own picture, you could write your very own statuses (without the annoying “is” directing your path), and you could find almost anyone in the Facebook family.

My friend was right; this had become the “place to be.”

As the years have flown by, I’ve been disheartened and encouraged all at the same time. I see things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as  awesome people connectors and a form of self-expression. I’m able to tell my story creatively through pictures and thoughts. I’m able to keep in touch with friends and family- both near and far. I’m able to spread the word on anything I choose…which leads me to this question for you:

What are you trying to tell the world?

As times have changed,  I’ve seen some sobering displays of disrespect, distasteful outspokenness, and downright embarrassing outbursts. I won’t lie; I’m just as guilty as many in saying that I’ve posted a thought or opinion that I’m not proud of. At the time, it was too easy to post something to “get back” at a person or vent about a situation. All I had to do was write it, hit post, and wait for the satisfaction of people liking it- and therefore obviously (-in my own mind) agreeing with me…

But that’s just.not.right. Remember when you were little, and you said something out of anger or spite, perhaps even taking a swing at someone because you felt like they deserved it in that moment- but were corrected for your behavior shortly thereafter? The trouble with Social Media Microphones is that we don’t always have a parent or a teacher that corrects our behavior or unplugs the power source- so things can escalate quickly. Feelings get hurt and friendships get lost. And unfortunately, sometimes it all happens because of a misunderstanding.

Sometimes I’m so proud of the way people use social media to spread a positive message or awareness of something, to share really exciting life news with their friends and family, to connect with new people in new ways. And sometimes… well, in the wake of things like elections or this “instant news source” that doesn’t always even allow us to know the whole story before forming opinions and taking action or the ability to create alternative personalities and profiles online to totally trick and … sometimes, I just need to quiet the World Wide Web. All of those opinions just get to be too much, and I’m not proud of our human race.

I get that there are times when emotions take over and passion is not containable, but in those moments try to go for a walk. Or write it down using a pen and paper. Find something that will make you slow down and really think about what you want to say. Many of you cannot imagine a time when you didn’t have this Social Media Microphone to blast your thoughts out to the world, but it used to exist. If I was frustrated with someone, I had to just sit with that uncomfortable feeling, write a letter, or make a phone call. 2 of those options made me face the person, and that was not always attractive enough to pursue. As a result, feelings were hurt less. Relationships were destroyed less.

You hold a lot of power with your Social Media Microphone. Use it wisely. Please remember that we’re all human on the other side of the screen.

Retro microphone on stage

 

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