Wednesday, August 20, 2014

It's Hard to Tell…or Is It?

“I’m telling!”

I have heard these very words so often during my years as mom and referee.  Soon after, a little person scurries through the doorway armed with a new story of injustice.  

Apparently, it is of the utmost importance that their mom know about it, because deep within all of us is a need to make things fair.  And if I can’t make things fair myself, by golly, I am going to find someone who can.

Isn’t that the pull of social media these days, to find an audience that will sympathize with any injustice I encounter?  

“I’m telling!”

Only, now that I am older and supposedly more mature, what seems to have changed is my method and audience.  It’s powerful to see how many people I can find to agree with me and “like” my status.  It helps me validate my own feelings of injustice.

The problem with this method is that it is shaky at best, and based on a false sense of security.  

I am just beginning to see the magnitude of power there is in the written word of social media.  The need to rally people around me to support my cause can blind me to the fact that my cause may have a false premise.  I just might be entirely wrong. If I base my sense of right and wrong on a system of popularity, how am I any different than the teen who dresses for her peers, whether or not the rest of society deems her appearance attractive or proper?

How often do I experience something funny, or sad, or maddening,  and I immediately think, wow, I need to post this!

Why?  Because, deep down is a need to feel validated. But, how many “likes” is enough? Twenty? Thirty?  Fifteen, with a few comments thrown in?  Well, yesterday, twenty made me feel good, but my friend got 55 likes on a photo of her kid and it wasn’t anything great or new, or even that cute. So, now, I’m gunning for at least 60!  It’s almost addiction!  I need to have more and more “likes” to make myself feel good.  

It’s time to step back and get a dose of perspective.  Who are those whose opinions matter most to me? Is it a friend I haven’t seen in 20 years, or even someone I have never met? Shouldn’t the ones I love and value most have the most influence on me and I on them?  

When all is said and done,  when I reach the end of my life, how many of my social media friends will do little more than like the status that informs them I have passed on to another world? It’s time to put time into the ones whose lives I have been given the responsibility to mold and affect, those with whom my heart beats. Those I like most.  Those I love.

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