Social media can make a mountain out of a mole hill.
I recently posted a blog about double standards, regarding how men are treated today (they can be mocked for their appearance and lack of intelligence) in commercials, on social media, and by some people in general. My argument was that if women were treated as poorly as men were, there would be women angry about it, and rightly so! It all stemmed from a post on Facebook about a female friend (no longer friends, more on that later) mocking an aging rockstar, specifically, his looks. When I commented about man Vs woman thing, I was met with some angry and dismissive responses. But it did inspire me to write last week’s blog, “Ye Olde Double Standard”.
Apparently, it hit a nerve… with the female friend’s husband, who I have known since I was a little kid. To make a long story short, he sent me a short, nasty message and blocked me on Facebook, soon followed by his wife, who wrote a lengthy response. I didn’t read it all because that isn’t what social media is about.
Believe it or not, social media isn’t about communicating with people.
Ok, yes, there are times when we do actually communicate with people. We share stories, funny videos, and even commiserate about life. That is actual communication.
If you Google the word “communication”, this is what it says…
the imparting or exchanging of information or news.
“direct communication between the two countries will produce greater understanding“
synonyms: transmission, conveyance, divulgence, disclosure
I highlighted the important parts of that definition, “exchanging of information” and “produce greater understanding”. In short, people talk back and forth about things. They tell how they feel, what’s on their mind, etc. That is why people blog (as far as I know). They tell how they feel and what is on their mind. Other people who read it, reply with their thoughts and feelings.
Going waaay back to where all this started, my (at the time) off-handed comment on equality got some responses, but no actual conversation about what I had mentioned. Thus, I wrote a blog about it, to hopefully better explain my point. Then came the nasty FB message, the blocking and ending with a short-story length about how I must be having struggles, that I’m an asshole, etc. etc. etc.
In short, no actual communication.
Why? Because it is easier to say what you want, without having to listen to anyone else. It is easier to type 1000+ words about how right you think you are, and how wrong everyone else is, than to say “Why did you say that?” It is simpler to shut down communicating than it is to keep the lines open.
If you are thinking “Ooo, he seems all above this.” I’m not. It frustrated me that what seemed so minor has grown to be this stupid FB falling out. I was pissed off enough that I deleted the lengthy comment my female friend sent to me. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t. For a few minutes, I blocked her. But I unblocked her soon after.
Social media may not be the best line of communication with people, but it seems to be the only one that people use. That is, IF they want to use it.
That may be the key right there. They have the ability to communicate with someone, yet they choose not to. So do I. The real question is, do they, or I, want to?
Many years ago, my best friend was going through some stressful times. I was clueless to this, either because he didn’t share the stress he was under, or because I couldn’t see the signs. But when one sign did appear, in the form of an email that didn’t sound right, I called him. I wanted to talk to him, to meet up and talk about what was going on. He didn’t want to, and my lack of maturity and calmness only made things worse. After that call, we didn’t speak for years. Luckily, he had the courage to call me up and we patched things up.
In that case, I wanted to reach out to him. I wanted to communicate.
In this case, it seems what I was trying to communicate was blown so far out of proportion, and was taken waaay too personally, that the message was lost. It was replaced by the need to exact some kind of righteous retribution, a need to ensure that the party that wronged them (IE: me) was told just how wrong I was, how misguided my words were, and that they feel sorry for me and my delusional rantings.
Which is pretty much how many comments on Facebook, and social media, tend to go. Other people telling us how wrong we are, how sad we are, or how bad they feel for us for being so wrong.
Which is much easier to do than actually communicating with someone.
Especially a friend you’ve known for most of your life.