I try and fly under the radar on lots of issues in a public sense because most often, it’s not worth the banter through a computer. I don’t escape it every time. But I do like to be proactive in trying. I like conversations, not battle grounds. I’ve seen, judged, and been subject to being quickly defined by my Facebook status’ – most topics these days are used to stir and incite debate not conversation. You better put the right thing down so you don’t get slammed. You better post the right link or you’re gonna get a debate. You better show how great your family is, not talk about real issues, put up the front. It’s safer that way. Make the case for Christ, non-GMO foods, how you raise your kids and keep your kids away from mine.
We have successfully and voluntarily segregated ourselves online. It’s easier to make assumptions about people when we put everyone in a box. It’s neater that way. No one strays outside the lines and surprises you by being seemingly double-sided or hypocritical. Where my hypocrites at? *raises hand*
We’ve stopped conversing, even though we’re talking an awful lot.
Hopping online these days feels like entering a judgment gallery. There has been so much dissension circulating on my social media feeds. I don’t enjoy reading half of the statuses or links shared anymore. I’ve been up for trial more than once in my life and usually by the people that have praised me at one time, have then called for my exile. To be honest, that was a quote I saw someone post on Facebook, and thought it was so true! So I’m using it, because I’ve felt it. It came out way more elegant than how I would have said it. 🙂 It’s a struggle to write from rawness at times, because I have to check my heart and not write from a place of fear or hurt. It’s a constant renewing of my mind and resistance to “make myself known no matter what” for lack of better self-control on my part.
As a social media professional, I have witnessed the GREAT influence we can have in a public forum. Instant accessibility to affirmation and praise others, grow businesses, connect the unconnected. It’s pretty amazing and awesome if you think about it.
I have also seen the other side. The side that’s become another outlet for people to slam, grossly self-promote, and another way to shout our dissatisfaction with others’ opinions. People can’t just share anything, anymore without being questioned. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Our statuses have become the bumper stickers of our day. Our picketing lines; Our rally signs.
I won’t provide an explanation for the choices I’ve made for my family. They are ours and have been carefully researched, prayed over, & thought through. See, there I go thinking I need to justify that to the reader. It’s like a reflex. The debates online can range from vaccines, to food, to healthcare, to gay rights, to Church, to countless other controversial topics. We are a free America, but I counter that we are not acting as such. I counter the thought that because I make a decision it then becomes the right of others to have an opinion on why making that decision for my family was incorrect, based on their truths.
These choices are not WHO I am. They aren’t who YOU are. We are people. Souls. The core tenants of who we are as souls craves one thing, love. And in fact, we don’t do it very well. We don’t love well at all.
That’s the piece, as people of the human race, that we are missing. We are defining ourselves and others by choices we make when it comes to food, fear, failure, church, politics, kids, parenting and even things outside of our control.
We trade influence for the win.
So then I started to ask myself these questions: Would I shout everything I do on social media to as many people as I do now? Confidently. In a room of people I actually like, standing & reading my status updates? Would I do that? Some reading might answer confidently “I would, yes. Because I believe them to be truth.” See, I didn’t ask whether they were true. I asked, would you choose to shout it AT people you loved in order to prove a point?
I’ve found asking questions – real questions – not statement questions – could change our discourse with others on social media, completely. Without this change, we lessen our influence globally without the return on investment we so desire. In our aloneness, we become convicted in our approach and therefore foster feelings of frustration, anger and self-rightesouness. We’re putting ourselves in the corner, even though our hearts would tell us to do the opposite if we stopped to listen to it once in a while. But we’re too busy talking at one another.
We gather information to attack and to strategize, to make a point, instead of just listening. We feel the need to orchestrate and write others’ journey for them, based on our truths. Are we so scared we become unable to listen without feeling defensive. Is the opposing thought so debilitating to our own truth, that it would change our perspective because we listen to it? And, what if our perspective changed in the future because of an experience we had yet to have. What say you then? Still sticking to your guns? I’m not. Been down that path before.
The person who speaks has a soul. They might be a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, a friend, a someone. They most likely have experienced something YOU haven’t. Or experienced the same thing, but thru a different lense because of their worldview.
The scope of our worlds could get exponentially larger and that much richer if we started listening and dialoguing again.
Sitting down to write this post, my heart felt heavy that friends and families, people you actually enjoy in person, we all mark our votes and stick to our safe places in an effort to protect our own. In doing so, we become alone. Another day on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram. Choose your poison.
The community building tools we’ve grown to love, aren’t the issue. I like to call it user error. We, the users, are choosing to divide our communities. If you don’t have a conviction about it today, you will tomorrow because someone will be telling you how it is, as you drink your morning cup of coffee.
The one THING we can’t live without is eachother. I know this to be true. I believe we were created for 2 things. And the core of those two things is L-O-V-E.
I believe our convictions should have purpose behind them – not just fact slaps. Our opinions can be ours, but let’s stop slapping one another with them. Let’s remove ourselves from the jury, put down the stones, the ideas, and judgments.
Let’s all just shut up and love one another.