In today’s environment the one thing we can all agree on, this past year has been a sh&% show. Everything from Covid to work/life shifts, political division, and now, to spice things up, we’ve got the Delta variant and vaccine wars. It’s sad, it’s frustrating, and at times it’s heartbreaking. I have lived in my community close to 50 years. Most of the time, it’s been a community of “doers”. Never in all of my time here have I ever felt animosity against someone who didn’t think the way I did. However, until social media, I really didn’t know how someone else thought. Turns out, I know now more than I ever thought I would, and our community is divided, angry, and quite frankly, unrecognizable.
In my opinion, one of the biggest culprits of divide in our community stems from social media. As I mentioned earlier, I might have known someone’s political persuasion or position on something specific, but it never turned in to a verbal war. Thanks to social media I believe not just my community, likely communities all over, are seeing friendships ruined. When friendships are ruined, things change.
When it comes to Facebook, I’m not a big fan. From a business perspective, it can be valuable. When I started on Facebook, it was so great to reconnect with people I hadn’t heard from in years. It was a great way to share updates and life’s chapters with friends and family. Not the case anymore. Now it has become a stage for bullying, ugliness, and flat out intolerance for anyone who thinks differently. What happened to the community that always found a way to agree to disagree? What happened to friendships that were void of political discussions because the person mattered more than the politics? Well, as far as I can see, that’s gone.
I see behavior from adults on social media that wouldn’t have happened prior to FB. But now, the ugliness that is taking place is being defended as freedom of speech. Well, I’m in total support of freedom of speech. I also support the belief, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. As adults, we are the ones setting the example. We are the ones that should be showing the next generation the power of patience, tolerance, understanding, and the ability to agree to disagree.
One of my favorite quotes about social media is by Erin Barry. “Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it!” Everything on social media has become divided and angry. The minute we build alliances with only those who agree with us, never attempting to understand those who don’t, we are in trouble.
I wish things were different. I wish like any healthy relationship, we could talk about things in an open forum without judgement and the position of, “I’m right and you’re wrong.” I wish we could accept that others are different and think differently and that’s absolutely o.k.. In fact, it’s important to have different views and perspectives. However, when bullying and hate become the norm, we have lost our way, we have lost our humanity, and we have lost our community.
Thinking out loud,