Many of us have too much time on our hands; some of us use it wisely; some of us, recklessly.
I won’t go on and on in this post, I merely want to point out that we can’t possibly know all we need to know about a person without spending time with them, listening to them, and learning the life story that brought them to this very moment in history. Yet in social media comments*, I see judgments and declarations being made about people whom the commenter can’t possibly know well enough – or at all – to make such statements. A formerly buff man suffering from Covid-19, posts before and after photos of his decimated body and commenters declare the reason he looks so different is that he hasn’t been able to take his steroids for weeks. JUDGMENT MADE WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE PERSON INVOLVED. A story about a frantic mother looking for her child who wandered away from home is castigated by a stranger on social media who declares the mother probably had something to do with the child’s disappearance. DECLARATION POSTED FOR ALL TO SEE WITHOUT INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OR THE PEOPLE INVOLVED.
Bullying on the internet has been around for quite some time and it is always unfair and ugly. With so much time on our hands and with such uncertainty filling everyone’s days, why add to the stress and fear by publicly berating perfect strangers by entering unfounded and unfair statements? Can’t we instead treat others in the way we also want to be treated? Imagine you are one of the individuals in the above stories, already devastated and at the lowest time in his/her life, and being berated and demeaned by callous and hurtful comments?
We can’t possibly know all we need to know about strangers to make intelligent statements about them.
And even if we did know enough, why post such harmful ugliness for all to see?
*I make a point of not scrolling through comments on posts – but when coming across an article of interest, several comments are always visible.
Roofing Neighbor responded by saying the work was being done because of leaks that were disrupting family life and causing an unsafe environment for their family of five. It was indeed an emergent, rather than an elective, roof repair.
Angry Neighbor and Roofing Neighbor went back and forth and back and forth while those following the stream excoriated Angry Neighbor for being such an )&*?+^$%^&#% to the tune of 47 comments by the end of the day. I happened to notice that Angry Neighbor and Roofing Neighbor had stopped commenting way before that time so they had obviously removed themselves from the fray.
The next day, there were 137 comments, none from Angry and Roofing Neighbor, but comments nonetheless from uninvolved people still ticked off at Angry Neighbor’s rudeness in bashing his next-door neighbor.
What is this all about?
It’s about fragile psyches angered and worried about the state of our country and our world in the time of Covid-19. Sure, such social media harassing and bullying has been going on for quite some time now, but I have to believe it has worsened because of how vulnerable all of us feel.
A dog backed into a corner lashes out at perceived threats.
We are all backed in a corner right now with no proven safe way out. Most of us are doing our part in trying to contain a menace that threatens our very existence and that of our loved ones, but thus far, no relief is on the immediate horizon. We are petrified, and instead of treating each other with kid gloves, some of us are kicking others when they are down, a practice that need not happen. Instead…
As a human race, we must choose between:
- the violence of adults, and the smiles of children;
- the ugliness of hate, and the will to oppose it;
- inflicting suffering and humiliation on our fellow man, and offering him the solidarity and hope he deserves for naught.
Even in darkness, it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. Every moment of our life is essential; every gesture is essential. Our role in life is to give an offering to each other. – Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel
Much has been said about how impersonal – or even cruel – social media can be. That certainly is the case many times over, but social media can also be a way in which to stay connected with those you care about but with whom you are not able to get together as frequently as you would like.
That is the case for me.
I currently have 60 Facebook (FB) friends, most of whom are those who are close friends and family members. I’ve never felt I needed to post ginormous numbers of friends in order to be a valid Facebook user; I’ve just always been thrilled to be able to follow the lives of those with whom I have a history.
When I first opened my FB account I sent friend requests to everyone I could find on the site. One of those was my daughter, Erin, who indicated that she preferred to keep her FB life separate from her mother/daughter life. I totally got that – and still do – so Erin and I aren’t FB friends but we communicate so much, we always know what’s the latest and greatest in each of our lives.
It’s just this year that my FB family has been enlarged; I’m reaching out to my nieces and nephews and other fabulous family members who – when I first started on FB – were quite a bit younger than they are now. And joy of all joys, they’re reaching out to me! Quite frankly, I figured why would the younger set care about what this geezer-in-the-making is doing with herself? Turns out, they do care, and it’s been glorious, and I certainly care about what they’re doing. The added benefit is that when we do get together, I’ll be far better acquainted with them because we’ve stayed connected on an ongoing basis.
Connecting with others – having contact with them – tears down walls that need not exist. I’ll leave you with a quote from The Power of Kindness about what lack of connection can result in:
We can also do the opposite: build walls, as well as find ourselves in front of others’ walls, and decide that this is an easier, more practical way to live . . . Distance may be safer. But our lives are poorer without the nourishment that these people can give – nourishment in the form of stimuli, different points of view, fresh emotions.
The incapacity of being in touch with others can become a tragedy of solitude. We become our own prisoners.
No thank you.
This entry was posted in 21st Century Living, Community outreach, Family issues, Health & Wellness, Personal Struggles, Quality of Life and tagged bullying, Facebook, Piero Ferrucci, Power of Kindness, Social media, social networks.
I love this poster found in the above attachment that compares today’s social networking with yesterday’s; quite a few yesterdays.
Remember when you were younger and you spent so much time playing outside with your friends that your parent would say, “Dinner is at 5 pm. Be home by then, please.” That’s how it was in our household when we were kids. My sister and I said goodbye to mom and dad in the morning, played all day with our friends, and didn’t return until the appointed dinner hour.
I know I’m showing my age, but I don’t care. I’m glad the Internet was “created” but I wish social networking was more social.