Social media can be great for so many things. It can rekindle friendships, loves and put you back in touch with school mates and family members. It can help you keep much better contact with people that live far from you. It’s great for finding groups you would like to be part of. It can keep you informed of many things that are going on in your community, state and country overall.
But it can also cause a lot of division between neighbors, family members and friends. It can also make you feel about yourself if you get into the very bad habit of comparing your real life to those you see on social media. People only put their best face forward on social media (for the most part.) You rarely see pictures of people sitting around watching television or stuffing their face after a long day at work. No, you only see what people want to brag about and what they are proud of. You don’t see anything they don’t want you to see. So never look at someone’s social media account and think they have a better life than you.
It can also cause hurt feelings. It has in my case when I’ve seen a group of friends posting pictures of a gathering that I never got an invite to. It also can cause hard feelings when you get seemingly ignored at times completely and are left wondering if someone is upset with you. A lot of it seems like high school and you’ve been kicked out of the cool group. (Not that I would know what that is like…I was never in the cool group!)
But things are somewhat getting out of control when it comes to the nastiness, dismissiveness and straight out bullying at times. I see this mostly on my neighborhood community board and these are supposed to be my neighbors. There is over 7-thousand people in the group and the fighting among members (you know, your neighbors) has become so extreme I’m ready to give up and get out of the group altogether. I hesitate to do so because I feel like I will miss out on upcoming events and news that is taking place in our area. It honestly feels like grade school at times with the taunting and name calling and bullying. I’ve mentioned before that the top complaints we get the board is fireworks being shot off, people putting their dog poop bags in other people’s trash cans and whether we should be feeding the ducks bread or at all. So, we get certain people who think it’s funny to put up a post of a cart full of fireworks and say they bought out the place and can’t wait to set them off that night. Or there are comments made on a post that has nothing to do with the dog disposal issue bring it up. It’s so silly and not necessary. Once in awhile it may even be funny but this is happening constantly. I call them the shit stirrers. And unfortunately, they are the most active and the nastiest of the bunch. If you don’t think what they post is funny, then it is you that has no since of humor which means you will face ridicule and name calling. They love to post gif’s of crying babies and the nastiest things I’ve seen since high school.
In my personal opinion, the biggest issue and problem are the political posts that people insist on posting over and over again. Again, in my opinion, it looks like our community page is a cheer leading site for one political party. And if you have the audacity to disagree with these posts or say this isn’t the place to post it you will be subject to ridicule, name calling, bullying and just plain old nastiness. I have been told many times I can choose to keep scrolling and it ignore. That is true but I am tired of having our community board being viewed as a rally group for any political party. I think it makes us look bad and it doesn’t affect our community directly so it’s just another way for the same old people to stir up the same old shit. I put up a political post myself recently just to say that there are people that disagree with the constant political posts and made my case for the other side. I did it because I was bored on a Saturday afternoon and I figured it would keep me busy for awhile and honestly, I’m tired of the quiet majority being ignored. Well, I certainly opened the flood gates. Before it was all over there were over 400 comments on just this thread alone. Most of them were bashing me. I did have some back up and some praise for demonstrating the other point of view. I did have some people reasonably explain to me why they came up with their views. But the nastiness that was ladled on me was extreme. I was prepared for it. I was only going to respond to people who were making a rational comment. So, I didn’t let it bother me too much. But I actually had one person who told me to go cry to my mommy. I was tempted to tell her that my mommy was dead but I figured that would invite even more nastiness. I even had a friend text me the next day saying she wanted to send me a friendly text since people said so many mean things to me in the post and that she was glad I stated my point of view. That was very nice but I told her I knew going in how I would be treated. So, my point is…why can’t I post my point of view without fear of this type of treatment. If it were the opposite side making a post and they are called names they cry foul and lash out. But these people are obviously just trying to stir up trouble. And they are very good at it.
But my question is why? Why do we feel entitled to be so nasty to people? Again, these are supposed to be our neighbors. Now, in real life I know that people in my community would do anything for me if I needed it but become vicious when they get behind the keyboard. It’s crazy. Can we try to treat people online the same way we would in person? Is that too much to ask? It might be…I’m not sure. I will keep you posted as to whether I leave this group or decide to forge ahead.
It is Taco Tuesday. Please spread a little kindness today. We could all use it. And make it your best day yet!
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