It recently occurred to me in a coffee-time conversation with a good friend that the capacity of individuals to share in and embrace each other’s happy moments is quickly dwindling. Said friend mentioned that the world we live in today has various social media platforms on which to parade around our achievements and happy moments in front of the masses, friend or foe. I was already aware of this shift in communication, and I also knew I was overly participating in the new trend. Then the poignant moment came. He said, and I’m paraphrasing: people are so inundated with each other that no one wants to be happy for your achievements, your progress. But they are quick to jump on the bandwagon of celebrating the negative. It’s a silent participation in your most intimate moments.
This may seem obvious but I was hesitant to accept it as reality. I have already begun the downward decline of my appreciation and enjoyment of said Facebook craze, but I decided after this conversation stuck in my craw that I needed to test this theory.
Let me begin with what I concluded from my “test.” 1.) My friend’s hypothesis is true. The masses participate more in random comments or negative observations. 2.) The positive received very little love in the way of “likes.” 3.) People mostly subtly participate (and by that I mean they stalk the hell out of your wall).
Here was my test:
- To my pool of over 300 friends (maybe 10 actually know of and love the ugly parts of me), I posted a few random comments regarding the ways of the world or something that happened to me. I ensured each of those posts contained a slightly or obvious negative undertone.
- The first post received 22 “thumbs up” and 11 comments.
- The second post received 19 “thumbs up” and four comments.
- Then I posted an announcement of an something positive. I received two likes the first week (the usual suspects). In the following weeks it slowly raised to nine likes (again the usual suspects).
I found myself genuinely disappointed. What I had feared social media was doing to our ability to interact and communicate with each other was actually happening. A general google search on the subject will bring you a slew of articles that broach the subject and mostly with the results and reactions we’d expect. The stats yielded from studies will leave you wanting to deactivate everything immediately. The breeding of passive communication and pure laziness has taken over for the fine art form of interpersonal communications, a skill listed on my c.v. for decades that seemed mostly unnecessary until recently. It’s actually considered a practiced skill now. You can interact with other humans without the use of social media or technology? Hired!
Forbes magazine tried to get us to stop the madness before the new year was rung in with an article titled, “3 Reasons You Should Quit Social Media in 2013″ which highlights a UK Study in which 50% of respondents noted that social media has an overall negative effect on their lives. We all know we should. We simply can’t help ourselves. I can’t help myself.
Last week I was in a funk for what seemed like entirely too long and for reasons I couldn’t identify until I began drafting this post. I was genuinely disappointed with people in general and decided I did not want to contribute to it anymore. I also did not want to continue giving those who don’t actively participate in my life a glimpse of what it’s like. Why call me or visit me if you can virtually do it on Facebook, right?
Now I do realize the irony of the fact that I’m writing this blog post which will post to my Twitter and Facebook accounts accordingly, but I suppose I justify the madness if it helps promote a business, or in this case a writer’s work. So that’s how I’ll trek on.
Just yesterday a good friend told me they don’t have a Facebook, a Tweeter (ha!), or anything of the like. I asked why and the response was so simple and so refreshing a thought: I have never liked people eavesdropping on my conversations. It’s hard to escape a life like that when everyone knows everything. I like me time and it’s hard to be present in certain moments when you are clouded by crap.