The Awkwardness of Social Media

One of my early adopted friends from when I joined Twitter in March 2007 made a comment that has stuck with me all these years. There had been a natural calamity — Earthquake? Typhoon? — and thousands of people had died. (It’s been a loooong time.) In the aftermath of said tragedy, for those of us not affected, we continued on our merry tweeting ways like business as usual.

He was offended. So much so to the point that he actually passively-aggressively tweeted something like: “Please be sensitive to those who were affected by (insert tragedy) and avoid tweeting messages that are not encouraging to them.” Or something like this.

I was taken aback. Granted, Twitter was young and the people we followed in those days felt almost like one’s own exclusive club. But to have an expectation that everyone would collectively commiserate was unfair. I wasn’t callous but neither was I emotionally vested in the tragedy. And even if I was, I would never have expected someone else to change their behavior on a social network on my account.

Births, Deaths, and Everything in Between

Me and Hana
Pray for Hana’s recovery from being burned

Kyera’s niece through Jordan was in an accident recently when her dress caught fire and she suffered third degree burns over  30% of her body. Their entire family has been posting updates and changing their profile pictures to little Hana. Everyone who knows what happened has been thinking about her and praying for her recovery.

As I was puttering around Facebook the other day, which I only do to keep tabs on work, my newsfeed assaulted me with updates from around the world: Grandparents gushing over their first grandchild, friends excited over their newly launched website, a friend mourning the death of her aunt and sorely missing her departed father, the Yorks posting updates on Hana’s surgery.

Social networking has turned us into microsecond attention span holding individuals who spew niceties and unpleasantries as fast as you can hit Send.

I offered my Likes, my one-lines of comfort, my prayers and thoughts for healing, and my mind went back to my friend’s request on Twitter for people to only say encouraging things about what was hurting and affecting him. I put myself in the shoes of those who were sad and wondered how they must be feeling about the gushing and squealing around them. My solution is to avoid all forms of social networking when I’m hurting.

I see it everyday on the different networks I trawl and I sometimes feel like I’m almost Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as I respond and reply.

“LOL.”

“I’m so sorry. My thoughts are with you.”

“OMG. Puppies!”

Social networking has turned us into microsecond attention span holding individuals who spew niceties and unpleasantries as fast as you can hit Send.

I think we’ve all been there. It’s awkward really.  But what is one to do? Sometimes I don’t say anything at all. I choose silence and go the route of private messaging. Instead of broadcasting my thoughts, I let the one person they’re meant for hear them. And then I go back to my usual chatty self in public.

How do you put social in social networking?

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2 thoughts on “The Awkwardness of Social Media”

  1. To be honest, I say nothing if I feel nothing about it. And 9/10 times, I feel nothing about it. But that is just me.
    People want attention these days and all for the wrong reasons.

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