A lot of registered users scroll through social media without ever giving any indication that they walk the halls of the world wide web. They look but they don’t engage as they scroll past photos and musings. Casually, I’ve had conversations about content I have posted on Facebook or Instagram but very few times have they become substantial. It is what it was, and it holds context or importance no more. Internet etiquette is tricky and on many occasions I have wondered and questioned why others are quick to assume that a like or reaction to a post may lead to more trouble than what it is worth. (Trolls 🧟, ftw.) My heart goes out to the most introverted introverts for whom skipping the online dialogue entirely seems to be luck of the draw; there are subjects that can call to action the quietest of the quiet when facts are misinterpreted or their passions misunderstood and mocked by muggles.
My mission, ever since I chose to accept it, has been to ensure that the peers and counterparts in coinciding social media circles know that I care. That at least another human out there is reading them, receiving the messages loudly and clearly. It takes a lot of scrolling, research and a bit of time to catch up on a day’s worth of information but to me it is worth every second invested. Input, more input! I’d be out of the loop if I didn’t pay attention to what is being said or shown between the lines. My knowledge of my contacts’ lives and endeavors transcend the smartphone’s small screen. I rather be accused of liking or sharing too much online than too little. Being seen and heard have become so difficult in real life due to conflicts and commitments that all I have left as a resource to keep in touch is the thousands of electronic interactions we have daily.
IM and text, email and posts, will never be the perfect substitutes for human interaction. However, when I crave a hug or a small token of affection it is usually these social media outlets than come to the rescue. It is an all frequency hail, an SOS, that can travel the world in a second and reach many willing partners. People will bump into me at a concert or in the middle of a meeting and remember that I needed some emotional reassurance. I wouldn’t get my bucket of love and self-esteem refilled much faster under traditional methods. Growing up in a big family, surrounded by hundreds of physical connections and exchanges made me needy in this way. My soul requires nourishment; watching my friends evolve into better versions of themselves, even at a great geographical distance, does the trick for me.
Information will always find me and in truth, social media behavior will paint a subconscious picture of the person you are interacting with. Giving up too many reactions can lead to confusion and frustrate recipients because how they want you to react to their news and how you actually feel can be diametrically opposed. Constantly reacting can dull the point of what you may find funny or important, and in some cases can misrepresent your preferences o character. As a power play (See 48 Laws of Power), liking everything can be seen as letting your enemies and allies in on aspects of personality and preferences that are best kept private. Sharing my opinions and thoughts comes naturally for me as my view of what should remain private and what tid bits or experiences would benefit the public is not very narrow. Transparency is the bane of my existence because it is easy to fall on my sword if my words are misunderstood. Fine by me because I don’t avoid conflict either, which makes me unique and harder to empathize as well.
One thing is for certain, I will not apologize for being me. For liking too much or commenting when people didn’t want me to interject or share my perspectives. I will not stop checking in on my friends and family, keeping tabs on particular story sequences they are sharing because others may misunderstand my references or internal jokes. Every day, I approach each platform with rejuvenated optimism and resilience. Maybe today is the day a like, post or comment leads to a new connection, to a new passion or material that will change my view of the world for the better. If you are one of the folks who is too wary to let their presence and participation be known don’t skimp on the opportunity to influence and make a difference in someone else’s journey. Most likely than not they will be forever grateful.
Be kind to others, and afford them the dignity and respect assuming they have good intentions demands.
The truth is out there…
*Even though Yay is not a part of my current Facebook reaction ticker, I use Yay! a lot. Looking forward to that addition. 😉