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by_joshua_earle-4

People today are talking a whole lot about fake news… And there’s a ton of it, true… But mostly what I see when I check Facebook are people ripping their hairs out in outrage about the latest offense du jour.

And immediately after, 10,001 parodies, memes, and complaints about the same offense du jour.

And I am getting tired of it.

I got into social media to be in touch with my friends, to receive — and more importantly — to give value.

I couldn’t care less about 99.999% of what people are getting offended by these days, because:

a) Most times their “offense” stays right on social media, they never intend to change the world nor even their own selves because of it.

b) The source of the “offense” is so far out of their reach and control that they are just serving to further amplify whatever is supposedly offending them.

c) Their “sighs” and “eyerolls” are just a petty way to feel a bit of false excitement in the midst of a boring life.

d) It’s usually something not worth eroding social connections for.

All of this to say this: right now, I’m really missing the time when social media was about discovering other people’s thoughts, values, and attitudes.

It was a constant learning experience, we felt like world travelers… because, in fact, each mind is a new world.

I miss when we could discuss about a topic, but there was no FOMO, there was no competition for Likes — I mean, “Reactions” — nor a race to go viral. It was just pure connection with other human beings.

We built long-lasting connections, not frail “friendships” that get blasted upon the mere sight of an “offense.”

Our respect and dignity for one another was way above in our list of priorities over how we labeled each other, or even ourselves.

Our status rose based on the cool things we were getting accomplished, or how we managed to help one another, not on our level of sarcasm and cynicism and how much it earned Likes… I mean, “Reactions”.

We could discuss the news and give our opinions, yet we weren’t trying to skewer each other over our differences.

When one of us complained, it was because we sincerely hoped for someone to provide a solution, whether it was advice, a helpful thought, or to just hear “I know how that must feel” from another human being. The complaint itself wasn’t the substance of our message.

I really miss that social media… But you know what?

It’s still alive.

It’s right here.

I see glimpses of it when many of you message me privately and I see the real you.

I see it when — in the most unfortunate of circumstances — you post a heartfelt message when a loved one passes away, or when you raise awareness for a good cause you truly believe in.

I see it when you talk about someone you know that is in need, and ask for help.

I see it when we’re the weakest, when we must hold on to something true because the fake stuff just won’t cut it during those moments. It would be like grabbing onto floating sponges while the river carries us away and we’re drowning. No. At those moments, what we really need is a rock to hold on to, or someone to throw an end of a rope at us.

We need something real. Authentic.

And when I see those moments, that’s when I can still see the essence of why we were given these channels in the first place.

But you and I can keep it alive.

You know how?

By not sharing nor riding on whatever trend everyone else is talking about.

By making an effort to be unique and valuable.

By thinking about how our message can affect others.

By not being duped into thinking that words are just words, and on the other hand understanding that we have the power to write, post, share, or publish things that can seriously and deeply affect others.

By dropping our agenda to change people’s worldviews — it ain’t gonna happen through Facebook, let’s just accept it already — and instead letting others know what we sincerely believe.

So this is somewhat of a complaint, but not really. It’s more of a cry of hope.

Hope that we can sustain what we (you and I, you know, I’m talking to you) have built.

Let’s make this more about our wins and less about what we all hate anyway.

Let’s keep in touch.

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