Too Soft For Social Media 

Today I am reminded of why I took a social media break. I posted something this morning regarding my disinterest in using an airline given their shoddy track record and most recent incompetencies in the news. 

Right away a contact jumped on my post and used an over-arching (and inaccurate) analogy to accuse me of making an unnecessary assumption. The fact remains, however, that my simple repost and reflection was nothing of the sort. I was stating my personal opinion based on facts I’ve gathered over time, and expressing my personal feelings about the airline’s service and competency. 

Of course, another contact “liked” the argument with the overarching and inaccurate analogy in response to my post.

This experience reminded me again of my disinterest in being connected to argumentative people – those who tend to attack simple expressions (that were not even a harmful expression of anything significant to begin with), and also to those who support or encourage that behaviour.  It has been a really valuable learning experience being on social media and being so well – and in many ways, TOO well – connected. 

I come from a very large extended family of  sociable people. Though my personality is a genuine introversion rather than extroversion, I learned how to value a quality connection with the people around me – as opposed to a superficial interaction with small talk – and found that this created many more quality connections one through another. I know this thoughtful approach is something that was cultivated through the extended family relationships with which I was surrounded while growing up. 

Taking that learning into my adult life, I’m not surprised that I’ve become known for “knowing everyone” or always running into someone I know – mostly in London, but often even outside the city. The problem comes when the desire to be connected is exploited by something like Social Media. We use it for staying in touch with family, sharing photos with friends, and even for expressing thoughts and feelings. In many cases, though, I am finding that social media is not always a space for sharing the latter. 

If only surrounded by people of like-mind/heart, in theory, this space of interaction sounds wonderful! Sadly, many of us are not prepared for the outcome of the experience of opening ourselves up to connecting with others on a wider spectrum. It starts out innocently enough, with the hope of broadening horizons or spicing up life. However, those of us with softer hearts are often taken aback by the harsh reality of “free speech”.

Not everyone is concerned for another person’s emotional well-being. Many will actually go out of their way to look for a fight or approach a conversation (even a comment) with an argumentative stance. Surprisingly, there are many individuals that I have met in real life after first meeting online from whom I’ve had to disconnect because of their aggressive behaviour and methods of communications online. The instance described above is just one example.

Today I had the conversation with yet another friend about this exact topic. So, I know I’m not alone in this thinking. Still, I am sad to admit that this issue has quite literally reduced me to tears at times. For this reason, I sit here again re-evaluating the benefits of connection. I am ever so grateful for my online connection to family. I am also grateful for the opportunity to connect to some amazing and inspiring individuals who have encouraged me and supported me on this wild journey we call life. 

But…more and more I am realizing that social media is not always a wise place for a soft-hearted individual like me. I still see my soft heart as a strength more than a problem, it’s just that I need to be more diligent in protecting it while not allowing the negative naysayers to tear me down.

I guess it’s a process….

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