Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Social Media ~ With Power Comes Responsibility

With power comes responsibility. I tell this to my kids all of the time. I teach it to my students. I try to own it in my life. There is so much power in social media. Power to hurt...power to build up. Power to convince and persuade. Power to lead astray. Power to encourage...power to tear down. Power to inform. So. Much. Power. From a psychological standpoint...I can tell you that the reason home based businesses want you to turn to facebook is because if you put information in front of people daily, whether they are for it or against it, indifferent or already persuaded...if they see it every day in front of them...their curiosity will be perked. Its human nature. Same goes for religious beliefs. Diets. Parenting theories. The list could go on endlessly. And you represent those things you stand for...you give them a name. Facebook is like a limitless newsfeed...our minds are constantly hit with conflicting arguments from every angle. Vaccinate or your kids will die. Don't vaccinate...and they will die. Gluten free will kill you. Gluten free will save you. Love others no matter what they have done. But those same people seem to hate those they term as bigot  Christ followers. I got tired of the noise. The constant, unending noise. It wasn't just the conflicting information constantly bombarding my senses (or the subtle psychological manipulation)...it was the comments too. The hate. The need to be right. One of the people in my newsfeed posted something about parenting and how she hates parents who... and guess what...I do that thing she mentioned. So she hates me? And the passive aggressive nature of posts. I know passive aggressive. Its my go-to when I am upset. So I can pick it out immediately because I can be a pro at executing it (just ask my husband). For as much as I am working on that...it angers me immediately when I experience the other end of it. I felt like I was losing a grasp on Truth. Listening to constantly conflicting voices of man back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

And the addiction. I hate addiction. I am waging war at anything that controls me (or those I love). And as much as I didn't want to admit it...I was addicted to facebook. I am not sure it was an addiction so much to other peoples lives as it was an addiction to the information. I have learned a lot from what I have read from articles posted. I think I was afraid I would miss something big if I wasn't on there. And I may. But the question here is this: is all of this "knowledge" and "information" hurting or helping us? Back in the day....people did what worked for them. They didn't live under the constant anxiety of doing it wrong or the constant threat of doom (come on...how many blogs do you follow of parents whose kids became chronically ill bc of some obscure disease?). The truth is that we have become slaves to information rather than information serving us. Why is anxiety so high right now among 30 somethings? BLOGS. Facebook posts of so and so's child getting abducted, sick,  or even a random tree limb falling and causing a traumatic brain injury in a child. The thing is, these people have a voice...a platform. I think when we read these people's story we see that they are living in our worst nightmare...and a part of us wants to follow along to know how the story ends. And when it ends tragically, we weep, we question...and we shoulder the anxiety in one way or another to our list of concerns about what if something happens. But along the way we learn that there can be grace unimagined...that people can survive the unimaginable. So we keep coming back for more? Thirty years ago these same things happened. We just never heard of it. Because we didn't have internet. I am not advocating that we shouldn't read these people's stories or support them. I know when Everett had his health issue when he was a baby, your support was invaluable to me. I don't know what the cure is. I just know that I needed to stop the noise.

But I am not an extremist. I took a solid week off. Now I am on facebook here and there. Still unsure of where to land exactly. Long distant family members love to see pictures of the kids...I do enjoy and learn from many things I read on there...I like to stay in "contact" with people. But the noise. How can we speak so much of love, and yet get so angry at someone who dares disagree with us? Where is the love? Hurt begets hurt. When people respond in unkind ways, I can usually see it for what it is. They are hurting or have been hurt.

The irony: I am writing this BLOG and posting it to FACEBOOK. Because there is power in social media. Power to form community and build relationships...find comraderie and encouragement. Find solutions to every day problems. I think you can probably sense my inability to decide where to land on this issue. For as much as I wish we could all go back to the way it used to be...I see the benefits of what we have now with this free exchange of ideas. Which brings me full circle. Power. With responsibility comes power. How are we using that power today?