My Confusion with Social Media
I have to admit…I am officially stumped with social media. Or, maybe I am having an identity crisis? To be totally candid, I am really not sure but my guess is that it is a combination of both. Keep in mind, I live in the US where freedom to express yourself has never been an issue…until now.
Social media has opened up the lines of communication in so many ways. I remember in 2010 I was posting and tweeting a ton of articles and information on the situation in Egypt in regards to the “arab uprisings”. Friends would tell me they would refer to my profiles for up-to-date information that our media had not yet received or promoted. This was of course, a huge compliment to be considered the “go to” place for newsworthy tidbits. I would share my thoughts and friends would engage and a great conversation or debate would occur.
It never occurred to me that I need to be concerned about my angle or perspective. After all, it was my profile page and social media is meant to be used to share information and express thought.
Except that in truth, it is doing the exact opposite.
You see, I find myself in a predicament. And perhaps it is only my predicament but I am sure I am not alone. I have found myself far too often questioning whether I should post something, say something, share something…far too often have I found myself with my finger on the post button. Then too nervous to press the button, I exit the page.
Because of judgement and opinions. If just considering the lowest hanging fruit, differences can easily become confrontations which turn into arguments. We all know this is much easier to accomplish in writing from behind a computer, tablet or mobile device. It is amazing how radical people become when they are hiding behind a screen and yet, I know for a fact that many would not make these comments if having to do so face to face.
In the end, things get said, words get thrown and before you realize it, you are in an all out online war…with friends and acquaintances (unless you “friend” complete strangers in your social networks of choice).
However, my issue goes above and beyond that. It has to do with staying neutral, remaining silent and objective which doesn’t sound so bad…if you want to be Switzerland.
Except that this may not be “who” you are as a person. All of the sudden, your identity and reputation become the all encompassing priority and you are back to square one trying to figure out why you joined the social networks in the first place. Maybe to peruse the posts?
Look, I realize that online reputation companies have been created to manage your identity. However, my issue is not as complex…or maybe I am being naive and it is?
Social media platforms were initially the digital soapbox for those to speak their minds, to be advocates for their cause. Except now this digital soapbox has been turned around to slap people in the face for the exact reason they were intended…FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION!
There are so many things I would love to say or post however I find myself second-guessing whether I should in concern for how it will be understood. Don’t get me wrong. I have NEVER cared what people have thought of me before.
when expressing myself may destroy my…life. Ok, I exaggerate…well, sort of. But it most definitely could affect friendships, career opportunities, etc.
You see, this is where the complication is. And again, they may be my issues but lets look at the career angle. For fear of upsetting a potential employer with your viewpoint, I have refrained from posting and sharing things which are on my mind. Many may say-lock your twitter account and keep your facebook profile private. I agree that this is a solution.
when you become facebook friends with people who you may end up wanting to work with one day…in my world, they are real friends who are also on facebook. But now I have this dilemma. You can’t “unfriend” someone so you can post what you want because “unfriending” someone is one of the lowest blows in the online world.
More importantly, you would need to be psychic to know who those potential future colleagues or employers would be..after all, people change jobs all the time and in my case, my interests and passions have changed over the years.
Get me a crystal ball please…
So in summary, what I am seeing is that social media has made a total 180…from sharing everything to becoming Switzerland. Don’t get me wrong. I like Switzerland. Great marzipan and chocolate, cows with bells and skiing (even though I hate the cold). But I am not one to keep my opinion quiet if I am passionate about something. So, I guess I will resort to the phone where I can find someone to vent with!
Ahhhh…are we now back to the future with Thomas Edison??
Now, if I could only locate all my friends phone numbers-mobile, home, google #, skype id’s, viber info (and hope it doesn’t all go to vm) or I may be resorting to txting….