When social media first became a big deal, I wasn’t interested. 😏I thought it was folks sharing what they ate for 🍝dinner or where they went for 🏖vacation. My own life was screaming by at warp speed, so I didn’t envision that I had the time to post my own entries or read those of others. I also wasn’t sure that anyone would even care what 🎥movie I just watched. I really didn’t know what I had to post that would be appealing enough to put into the 🌎world. I was just living life- like everyone else. Social media was not even a consideration.
Then, we had the Joplin 🌪tornado. The tornado that ripped one-third of our city off the map. Cell 📱phones didn’t work properly or at all. Reliable communications could only be sent through things like Facebook and email. Facebook pages were developed for people to ✅mark themselves safe or ask for support. Some lists looked for the missing and kept track of the dead. 😢Social media became more than just a place to read about the kind of 🍪cookies someone baked. It was a lifeline.
That’s why I signed up for a Facebook account. I had to ✅mark my family safe so that schools, employers, family, and friends knew that we were okay. I wanted to check on others and find out ways that we could help. It wasn’t long after that initial need for Facebook before I realized that it provided more. I reconnected with 💕old friends and learned about events or new businesses in my area. While it took me a while to feel comfortable enough to 📝write on my page, I found that I actually enjoyed posts about 🥗meals or 🏖vacation photos. Who knew? Social media was kind of fun.
Through the years, I’ve learned a few things. My list of friends included talented 🎨artists and dedicated 👟athletes. Videos made me 😂laugh until I cried or just cried. Snippets of sporting events or choir concerts or school 🎭plays brought smiles every time. I 🎉cheered from the sidelines of your successes. I 🙏🏻prayed when your posts showed pain. I found recipes and 📚books from recommendations of friends. I learned whether or not roads were ❄️icy in the winter. Sometimes, I simply wasted time as I scrolled through my news feeds as a way to detox from another busy day.
I’ve also been disappointed. 😞I’ve been saddened. 😡I’ve been outraged. Friends have posted hateful words and mean-spirited memes. People have shamed family, friends, colleagues, and strangers. Friends have ridiculed each other- often saying things that no one would dare to say aloud. 😳People I know and respect have written words that shocked me- and yes- changed my viewpoints at times. Have you ever read some scathing remarks aimed at your beliefs or profession or habits? I have, and I wondered if those writers knew that I fit in the categories they’re mocking. 🤔If they did, would they still consider me to be a friend? Would I be one of the ones they hate or insult, or would I somehow be an exception because they know me personally? Where is that line?🤷🏻♀️
I’ve sadly discovered that it has the capability to be a 🌀frightening rabbit hole that I am not willing to go down. Will I stop using social media? No. I think it has a place in our world if we use it the right way. I can’t stand with anyone who chooses to use social media to spread negativity and hate. ❌I just can’t. Life is too short. People are too important. It’s social media, for goodness sake. Social literally relates to community and compassion and gathering. Nowhere does it suggest spite or disrespect or viciousness.
I reluctantly climbed onto this social media bus years ago and discovered that it had the potential to promote ✨positivity. That’s how I choose to use it. It’s a way to connect with friends who live far away. It’s a point of contact during this pandemic. My quarantined mom watches 🏐volleyball games and views photos of her grandkids who live near and far. We go to 💒church via Facebook Live right now. One friend shares an uplifting quote every day. It provides a virtual neighborhood for our schools. It has a place, for sure.
What if…social media shares goodness? 💖I know that everything isn’t always good. It’s okay to ask for help or complain. If you need somewhere to vent, do it. It’s possible to declare frustrations without bringing poison. Invite your virtual friends in to help. If done correctly, social media should be a safe space. ✨Remember that. Just choose the words we share with goodwill in mind. 💞