I’m still amazed by adult human behavior.
How we choose to treat one another, interact with each other and hurt others simply stuns me.
And with social media now being a prominent way of communicating, the interaction is less personal and often times more passive-aggressive.
Are You Guilty?
Do you hide behind social media?
There are untold benefits to social media.
It was originally created to assist with:
- Connecting, or maybe reconnecting, with family and friends
- Staying up to the minute on local news stories
- Sharing special occasion photographs
- Telling stories
- Promoting business
- Engaging with customers & followers
- Finding others who share your hobbies and interests
Social media was never intended to cause intentional hurt or omission.
Nor was it ever meant to be used as a barrier to hide behind. Yet, regularly one sees posts or shares from someone you know who would never utter a particular message face-to-face.
Instead, they will post on social media. Testing the waters. Seeing if other like-minded people will “like” their share. If not, the post is quickly deleted.
Of course, it’s always easier to confront or pontificate behind the barrier of social media using a keyboard.
In pre-social media times, this behavior was referred to as cowardice.
Messaging and sharing on social media, like all communication, has consequences. Some quite harmful and hurtful.
Ever Ask Why?
- Has social media dumbed down your critical thinking?
- Are you one of those who believes all that is posted and shared?
- Have you lost your ability to critically think about what is posted and shared?
- Have you forgotten that there is always another viewpoint or another side to the story/share?
- When did we forget there are two sides to every story?
For instance, if someone posts images of a group family photo and one person from the family is missing, do you ever stop to wonder why?
- Was that person ill?
- Was that person unable to travel to the location?
- Worse yet, was that person informed of the family photo session or event?
- Was an invitation even extended to the missing person? If not, why not?
- Did the missing person have a conflicting event?
- Do you just assume the missing subject chose to excommunicate him or herself from the setting?
Again, has social media moved you to the point of believing all you see and read without seeking the double-sided truth.
How Big is Your Pie Slice?
There’s a reason Instagram and other platforms now allow you to monitor daily usage. For some users, the amount of time spent looking at social media sites has clearly gotten out of hand.
A great exercise to try is drawing a circle. Next, slice the circle up like a pie. Make each slice the amount of time you spend at work, with your spouse/partner, with your child(ren) if you have any, on your faith, on wellness, like yoga or other exercise, eating and sleeping, personal improvement/education and on social media.
Do the largest slices of your pie represent how you truly want to live your life? Is your legacy in people and good deeds, or is it disproportionately on social media?
Of course, you know social media followers and friends are generally not those who show up for you when you’re in need. It’s been said that if one has five individuals (s)he can honestly call friends, (s)he is a rich person.
Keep that in mind the next time you are scrolling, swiping or posting with a loved one nearby.
Have You Lost Your Emotional Intelligence?
Emotional intelligence is loosely defined as having the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.
Empathy is the ability to share and understand the feelings of another.
How are you doing with your emotional IQ and empathy?
On-line bullying by both adults and children is the most obvious sign of loss of emotional intelligence and a lack of empathy. So is forming a group and excluding natural members of a group.
For instance, if you’re planning an extended family reunion and you invite everyone in the family to join your Facebook Closed Group (and the event) except the few you deem undesirable, you’ve lost your emotional intelligence and you definitely lack empathy.
It’s time to start examining one’s behaviors impacted by the omnipresent social media platforms.
While the original intent of all forms of social media was noble, the resulting change in one’s attitude, interaction and approach to fellow humans, including one’s own family members may need some examination.
Questions for You?
- Have you ever stopped to think about how social media has changed your behavior and/or attitudes?
- Do you hide behind social media?
- Are you communicating less face-to-face or ear-to-ear and using text, email, direct messages, etc. instead?
- Are you an online bully?
- Do you exclude with intent?
- How are you spending your time? Do you need to shift some priorities?
Share your thoughts/comments here.
©September 2019. Linda Leier Thomason
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Linda Leier Thomason writes freelance business and travel stories along with feature articles. Her work experience includes a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Read more about her background and qualifications by clicking on the “Meet Linda” tab above.