#WritingChallenge Day 1: Five Problems With Social Media

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I’m pretty sure this isn’t the first time a list has come out that has involved all the “problems” associated when people get involved with social media. However, this isn’t some personal “pet peeve” list as many of the others are. This short list won’t be about a lot of my personal feelings. Yes, I have plenty, but there are enough of those out there already. I won’t be fussing about people posting their kids, pets, food, etc. Of all the things that could be posted, all that stuff is harmless. Also, those people who create those, what I call “whiny” lists, need to be mature enough to realize that certain things will not interest certain people.

In other words, if a woman just had her first baby, what is the harm in her posting about it? Obviously if your children are older or you have none, you won’t be as excited as she will be. But news flash: IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Same with pets. Some folks are into pets and others aren’t. Even though I’m not a huge fan of pets myself (largely because I’m allergic), I find it silly to see people fuss about others posting pics of their pets.

Another news flash, people who do that: EVERYTHING PEOPLE POST WILL NOT BE OF INTEREST TO YOU. GUESS WHAT? YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY PERSON THEY HAVE IN MIND WHEN THEY POST. It’s laughable that some people complain about things like this that others post as though they they have to be entertained in some way. You don’t. People post for their own reasons or for people OTHER than you.

This list will hopefully go a little bit deeper. Yes, these are ultimately still my opinions, but I’m not going for that “pet peeve” list. I’m sure many can agree with some of what I write here.

Anyway, on to the list:

1. People who post anything and everything without regard to who will see it. “Privacy” and “internet” should never be placed in the same sentence, unless one is talking about how they do NOT go together. Folks still complain about privacy when it comes to social media, but if I’ve learned anything with having used the internet over the past 17 years, it’s that the internet is far from foolproof. No matter how many privacy settings are used or how much you think that ONLY certain people can see this or that, the fact is that everything you post is out there. EVERYTHING. People will post things about co-workers, bosses, family members, etc., and while I’m sure many don’t care who sees it, quite a few don’t really consider who will see at first, because the top priority is posting it immediately. Their minds haven’t gone far enough to stop and realize who will see whatever it is. After the fact, sure it can be said that the person doesn’t care who saw it. But the truth is that many times, again, they haven’t thought that far into it. My philosophy is simply this: If you’re not okay with the entire world seeing it, then do not post it. Period. You don’t know if those privacy settings are working as they should, or better yet, who on your list could relay this or that to someone who isn’t.

 

2. People who say things to others or behave in certain ways that they know they would never do in person or in public. I’ll bet that close to 99% of the people who fall in this category would claim that they would say the same things and behave the same ways to someone’s face and in public. Since most of the time, there’s no real way to prove that, it doesn’t even make sense to me as to why people do this. Folks will sit on here and threaten each other, hurl insults, call each other names and the list goes on. I don’t get it. It doesn’t make you look or sound any better or even more mature. I can sort of tolerate when it’s younger people or teenagers. No, it’s not okay, but most of them are just learning about what all they can do on the internet. The ones I’m talking about are those who have been of adult age for many years and have used the internet for more than a day. These are the ones doing this. It really is not impressive at all to me to see someone in their 40s or 50s and every word out of the mouths (or fingers) is cursing or them calling someone “stupid” just because opinions don’t match. It’s embarrassing. Again, the same things would never be said to someone’s face and most of the time, hundreds or even thousands of miles separate the two interacting with each other, so it can never be proven as to whether or not it would really be said to directly to someone. My suggestion is to just exercise to same amount of class online as you would do in person. Then again, some people don’t know the meaning of “class.” In that case, carry on.

3. Folks who share false information. Forget what I said about me not posting my pet peeves. That’s out the window now and I’m sure many of you reading would forgive me for this particular one. The beautiful thing about social media is that information can go viral, which means it can spread very quickly and many people in the world can see it. The ugly thing is that people who have way too much time on their hands like to create hoaxes or false information that they know people will get fired up about and because of the desperate desire to be “right,” most won’t even bother to fact-check before sharing the false information. In other words, if a person knows that certain people out there hate animal abuse, they could create fake stories and pictures because they know the animal lovers would be quick to share it without thinking twice. The biggest ones I see are about politics and race. These are very simple: Make up something about the other side and those who are against that side will believe everything that supports their stance, while they question everything that doesn’t. That’s it. Then add the classic, “Share if you agree; ignore if you don’t care/are stupid” and more gullible people will follow suit. The desire is to be among the first to share whatever it is so friends can jump on board, or people they don’t like can be annoyed. It’s really not even rocket science.

4. People who would rather communicate through social media than in person or over the phone. Don’t get me wrong; many times, this is acceptable. We can’t stop and pick up a phone every time we turn around. With communication being so much easier through social media, that has widened the gap between the amount of people who would rather communicate through social media and those who would in person or over the phone. However, there are people who absolutely will NOT talk to someone on the phone or will want to see them in person because they would rather communicate strictly on social media. I’m obviously not talking about those who live in different states/countries or those who aren’t the tightest of friends. That makes sense. It’s those who know that they will avoid answering their phones (not because of being busy) as they remain on social media just because it is “easier” to communicate without having to see someone’s face. Many won’t even answer texts as they’re sitting on and actively engaging in social media. For example, a few years ago, my wife and I lived in the same city as a person we’ve known for many years. On one occasion, this person saw my wife in a parking lot with our daughter, but chose not to stop and speak, only to mention later on that she saw them. On another occasion, I’m going back and forth with her on a status (just conversing about this or that; can’t remember the content at the moment) and the minute I say something like “Hey, we all should get together and have lunch or something,” the comments stopped cold. The funny thing is that the person ended up moving and whenever my wife or I drive through that state, she says that we “should come to visit.” Hello…we lived in the same city for a few years and there were many opportunities for us to visit with each other. But social media has created this for a lot of people. It has allowed folks to not “have to” see each other in person or talk on the phone. To me, in a lot of ways, that’s really sad.

5. People who stop dead in their tracks to post or read. This is not to say that people don’t have the right to be on social media or post and read as they wish. Not at all. I’m talking about those whose phones are no further away from their faces than a few feet. Even worse are those who walk and read/post without their heads coming up ONE TIME. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people almost get hit by cars or have run into things because of this. Moving over to the side and messing with your phone is okay. Again, this isn’t about the frequency of people being on their phones to interact on social media. It’s about HOW they’re doing it. I can imagine that there is not a single thing that is that important going on in the social media world where it is worth risking your life or injuring yourselves by walking into walls, light poles, other people and things like that.

Many more to list, of course, but the purpose was to simply speak about some of the problems with people and social media on a bit of a deeper level than to just list a bunch of personal pet peeves. For those who like to jump on and read statuses or tweets, the more you do this, the more “expectations” you’d have about what other people post. I don’t get on social media a ton anymore, especially once I realized that things started bothering me. People are not responsible for entertaining me on social media, nor you or anyone else.

However, as with anything else, there are always better ways to to go about doing things. Social media, as fun as it can be, is no different.

Thanks for reading.

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