I don’t know about anyone else, why they use social media, why they post what they post, share what they share, etc., as I won’t presume to know what they are thinking, what their motives are, but for me, things like Facebook and blogging are my only social outlets. I tend to connect with people, bond with them, share and discuss the same things I would if I were sitting across the table from the person having a cup of coffee.
I log on knowing not everyone I encounter will share my views and opinions, there will be things we’ll agree on and other things we’ll disagree on. I know sometimes the exchanges can become spirited, passionate, and at times even heated, but I hope I’ve been wise in the selection of my friends and we can accept our differences, celebrate them and not try to change one another.
There is a lot of stuff on Facebook that I have to overlook, ignore, or hide. I scroll past a good bit of content daily. There is a great deal of content that comes across my “news feed” that I don’t want to see. I don’t want to see pictures of abused animals, abused children, guns, people posing with guns and dead animals, racist language or images, hate speech, religious stuff, insensitive jokes, etc., the list goes on and on, but every day I’m subjected to these things. I log on to Facebook to visit with friends, see what they are doing, post and share things that speak to me.
Obviously, the people who are posting all that stuff I don’t want to see are posting it for the same reasons I post what I do. It has meaning to them. Rather than comment on posts I find objectionable I’ll usually scroll past or hide the post so I don’t have to see it. If the individual habitually posts things I’m not interested in seeing I usually just “unfollow” them, which eliminates their posts from my news feed. I find there are things we have in common, things we can talk about and share that avoid topics where our views and opinions differ.
I know that I can’t control what others think, believe, feel, so I don’t try to. I just had a friend today tell me she lost another friend as a result of a political argument. I told her I’ve tried to avoid or limit the political arguments by never calling names and never trying to change someone’s mind. I ask them why they feel the way they do, why they believe what they think is true.
I try to be respectful of others, I hardly ever curse, I try to be diplomatic and tactful with my responses, (this too can get me into trouble as I’m often accused of being too subtle, or trying to explain too much).
People get very angry about things that I post, or the comments on my posts. I get private messages accusing me of censoring what people say if I delete comments that are racist or cruel. I have been accused of “limiting free speech” by taking down abusive comments. I’ve been accused of only allowing opinions and views that agree with mine. I’ve had people delete me from their friends list, some of them sending me a private message telling me what I think, what my intentions are, telling me how I feel. I’ve had others delete me and block me without knowing why.
I’ve gotten a lot of advice when I shared that I lost a friend. People tell me to be patient, they will be back and I should accept them back; I’ve been told to close that door and walk on; I’ve been told that when someone is going to take you off their friends list they should, at the very least, offer an explanation; I’ve been told I need not feel obligated to explain myself, say “no” and mean it, not feel I owe anyone an explanation.
It’s all very confusing, honestly.
There’s a lot of, what I call, “new-age” BS shared on Facebook. “Always think positive thoughts”, “Every thought you have is put out into the universe and negative thoughts will manifest in your life”, “If you think it, it will happen.”
I’m told to do, say, and post what I think is right, that I owe no one an explanation, should feel no need to justify sharing the things I do, but I often find myself explaining choices I make, justifying my position or action, usually to the same people who tell me not to care what other people think and to not feel obligated to explain or apologize.
After losing someone I thought of as a friend recently, I’ve been re-evaluating what I post. I supposedly lost this friend because she felt I posted too many political posts. This same friend encouraged me to post in a way that “called – out” organized religion and to not care what others thought.
There are times when I do feel as if I’ve been bullied on Facebook. I really get upset when people presume to tell me what I’m thinking, what I’m feeling, what I meant by something I’ve said, instead of asking me, or accepting my explanation regarding my comments. I lost a friend, who’d carried over to Facebook from another site, because she kept insisting I was enraged, insisting I had to be bitter and that I would never be happy until I admitted these things to myself. No matter how much I reassured her I did not feel that way, explained why I didn’t feel that way, tried to reason with her, she continued to argue with me. I’m often left feeling that one has to have a “thicker skin” than I to participate on social media.
Currently I’m considering what it is I’ll feel comfortable posting in the near future. I’m thoroughly tired of this petty nonsense. I feel as if people are constantly trying to manipulate what others are doing. There’s a lot of passive aggressive nonsense posted on line.
I suppose I could post nothing but sunshine and lollipops, but then there would be people who’d say that’s a waste of time and energy, too much fluff, not enough substance. I could continue to post and share what I do now, but that would risk losing more friends. I suppose I could stop posting for a while, catch my breath, use Facebook to socialize rather than share my views.
I’m really very confused. I don’t know how I feel. I have a couple of friends saying they are taking a break from social media, but for me that would be like a self-imposed isolation. I really need the interaction.
I think I need to do what I think is right, and value my own feelings and needs as much as those of my friends. We’re all supposed to be grown ups, we should be able to let others be who they are and not feel threatened or offended by someone who doesn’t agree with us.