There was a time, 2011-ish, that I would have admitted to a social media addiction. When I woke up in the morning I, sadly, would immediately check Facebook to see messages my friends had left overnight and see what the World had in store before I even picked my head up off the pillow.
Fast Forward to 2013 and I’m quite disgusted with the direction it’s taken. All those politically nonsensical hoax emails that I have directed to my junk mail folder now appear in my Facebook news feed, how convenient! The religious Hokus Pokus email messages that were usually scattered in between directing me to “forward this email or burn for eternity” have also found their way to the feed. If I were to log in around 9 pm any night of the week, I’d find posts summarizing the day, as well. “Took two dogs to the vet, shampooed my carpet, cleaned out the fridge and called the exterminator.” What? What am I supposed to do with that information? While I’m at it, how many pictures of you sitting in your car or standing in your bathroom making goofy faces into the mirror do I need?
Lending to the insanity, the ease and speed at which crazy lies have been spread. How many pictures of Obama NOT saluting our flag have you seen? How many times have you been told that leftover onions will kill you? When Facebook changes settings, count the posts telling you to adjust YOUR settings so MY photos won’t be syndicated to complete strangers – think this through, it doesn’t work! How many missing children alerts have you seen that use pictures that are at least 20 years old? How about that kid with cancer who will receive life saving treatment if you repost his bloody picture with hospital equipment around him, but then it shows up again in a child abuse note, and again with someone pleading for you to PLEASE buckle your kids into a safety seat? People seem to be CRAVING depression, drama and heartache, forwarding anything they see that tugs on their heart-strings, even if they KNOW it isn’t true, so their like-minded friends can also shed a tear or be stirred to anger.
Taken from the U.S. National Library of Medicine:
Last reviewed: March 7, 2012.
Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality that usually includes: False beliefs about what is taking place or who one is (delusions)
Of course, they’re talking about a mental illness brought on by chemical imbalance, substance use or medical complication, but I’m going to suggest social media could be a trigger. How many times have your emotions been stirred by something that isn’t even real? Have you ever become angry about an injustice that turned out to be invented? How far have your religious or political beliefs moved since you registered for a social media account? Were those moves justified, or influenced by nonsense someone made up to stir emotion? What happens when something you believe is challenged in the Real World, can you separate what you KNOW to be true because it’s true and what you’ve learned from garbage hoax posts online? Beyond that, what happens when you see someone in Wal-Mart that you recognize from Facebook, and their recent surgery comes to mind, but you’ve never met? In a “normal” relationship, you get to know someone in graduated steps as you become comfortable with sharing information. Would you walk up to them and discuss the details you commented on so easily from your iPad? Is that not weird that you know so much about this person yet feel uncomfortable striking up a conversation with them at the Post Office?
I was standing in line at the grocery store this past Friday and looked around me. Three lines were open, and the going was slow. I was surrounded by a dozen people… on their smartphones. I’m going to assume, and I don’t think I’m overreaching, that most of them were on Facebook. I turned around and talked to the couple behind me in line and found out we go to the same church. He’s from Louisiana and she’s from Russia. I found them at church Sunday and I have now befriended someone new, without social media! We can have REAL conversations and get to know each other. She speaks no English and quite frankly, I look forward to learning a little Russian (again). This is how the world use to work! How, I believe, it SHOULD work. I have no idea what chores they did at home Saturday, I don’t know if they have eczema or a gimpy fin and I don’t have a single “duck face” pic of them standing in their bathroom, and I’m ok with that.
Social media isn’t “social” at all. Why do we need our own personal paparazzi collecting information about us and spreading it to 300 of our closest friends that we’ve never met? How dysfunctional is that? To the people I’ve shared too much info with in the past, this is an apology. Now that I know better, I do better.
What Say You?