Saturday, November 19, 2016

Why Social Media Civility Means So Much To Me

People who follow me on social media may think I am simple...naive...ignorant...or... well I am sure many have differing opinions on me. The truth is, I am simply being me and the way I want to view life.

For years, I have coped with depression where I hoped to die but could never go through with it and anxiety that got so bad I had a bad instance with it while stationed in Germany. I have used multiple drugs and been to at least 4 different therapists/psychiatrists over the years. One day while using Xanax (and sometimes probably over using it too), my daughter asked me if I needed it and I wondered myself.

I started to slowly work on finding things that would help replace my need to medicate. I explored writing as at least two therapists encouraged me to do and it was a huge help. I tried massage therapy because my back issues after the Army could use it too and it helped.

You know what also helped: making friends on social media who were awesome and generous. I found Twitter especially to be a place where I could have fun with like-minded people and have pleasant and fun conversations with. I found people I could discuss wrestling with...discuss sports with (especially Syracuse)...and other topics that I could learn from or at least just enjoy the conversations. I also used social media to learn about blogging and I loved the idea of sharing my ideas and thoughts with people I liked and valued their opinions.

That was 2009-2010.

Fast forward to 2016 and I am still blessed to have some of the greatest friends I could ever meet that I likely never would have met if not for social media. I have been given opportunities and been able to help share stories and experiences of mine and others in the hopes we could help others. It's been my escape at times from reality & my chance to be a part of the lives of my friends.

However it seems more so now than ever, there is a growing amount of hostility and hatred permeating throughout social media. People are constantly attacking others over their differences and turning them into personal attacks instead of ideological differences. What was once my safe haven for sanity is not a breeding ground for bullying, trolling and all around rude treatment of others who may live or think differently than they do.

I will admit that when I joined, my tweets may not have been politically correct and I may have rubbed people the wrong way (and likely sometimes still do) but I try not to do so intentionally. I'd rather have a discussion over our differences in a respectful manner than offending someone. I am a believer in you live your life and I will live mine so long as nobody hurts anyone else.

I know life is not all rainbows and cute puppy dog gifs but why can't there be a middle ground of respect? Why must some incite fear and anger to get their point across when most times respect will progress your opinions in a manner some may find more acceptable? I used to love checking my Twitter feed to see what news was breaking or what kind of fun idea was being enjoyed. These days I log in and I find my patience thin with all the negativity and constant bickering and personal attacks over every possible thing.

I don't pretend to have the answer to the worlds problems and I don't know how to help make things more cordial but I sit it writing this wishing I did. Life is difficult enough and yet often times we choose to make it harder by spreading hatred into others lives instead of love, respect and tolerance.


Why can't we just say, "I know you live differently than I do and that is not the life I choose but I respect your right to live that life." and simply go about living our lives the way we want? Why can't we get on Twitter and Facebook and realize that we are different and try to learn from each other and grow as people? Why must we label others with political or religious labels and deem someone who thinks differently a lesser person? Why does it seems so difficult to live in a free and civil society when we love touting our freedoms meanwhile shouting to take away the freedoms of those we disagree with? And why does every thing have to be a battle of political correctness, class warfare and entitlements?

It's odd as I write this to think back to the joy I once felt knowing how grateful I was for social media knowing these days sometimes I truly wonder if it is even worth it despite the great friends I have made. What was once my source of happiness and escape is becoming more and more a reason for me to contemplate whether I should continue to use it before my past issues completely take me over. I miss those days.

I hope one day we start making better personal choices and respect each other the way I truly believe God created us to do. He created us differently to learn from each other and experience life as much as we could and instead of embracing that we seem to be more content to live lives filled with rage over every small difference or issue that comes about. I feel sad for our society and fear where we are headed. I fear for our future and I'd give anything to show the power of love and respect when we can work together to understand our differences and respect each others lifestyles. I hope one day soon our true leaders in society will stand up and preach about love and acceptance instead of spreading hatred and negativity. There is room in our society for all of us to lice as we choose and respectfully allow others to live their lives as they choose.
I pray we find something soon. I will continue to try and share joy and spread love but I fear so many seem content with the lack of civility and want to continue this way. As a result, social media will continue to be a playground for those who wish to look to pick fights and instead of embracing each other, push more boundaries and push people to limits that are unnecessary and unproductive.
"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." Mother Theresa