I recently came into my living room to find my teenagers watching Spongebob. While Nickelodeon used to play on our TV 24/7 I hadn’t seen Spongebob in years or for that matter, both of my kids watching TV in the same room – so I sat down for a minute to watch with them. In this particular episode Mr. Krabs had posted a bulletin board in the Krusty Krab for people to post good things about his food and Spongebob calls it, “A place where a yearning populous can express themselves freely.” Originally people posted nice notes and pictures but, suddenly a poster known only as “P-Star 7” said that the Krusty Krab was terrible. Mr. Krab decides to take the bulletin board down but gets accused of censorship so he leaves it up. Upset, Spongebob replied to P-Star 7 apologizing and asking how he could make things better, signing his paper as “FryBanshee 139”. But instead of helping it just makes things worse with more people taking P-Star 7’s side and saying bad things about FryBanshee 139 – then people are posting nothing but bad things about everything. Spongebob at one point declares, “People, can’t you see what’s happened? This bulletin board has become a bullying board!”
If it doesn’t you haven’t been on social media lately.
I watch social media more than I participate in it, and my participation would be what most considers “Fakebooking.” Meaning I post a lot of pictures of my dogs and my kids doing good things and I usually don’t post political stuff or get wrapped up in the current “hot button” topics. I do it consciously and purposely, not because as I’m trying to convey I live a perfect life with cute kids and dogs but because I like to keep some (most) things personal – like emotions, political views, religious views, or my opinion on a variety of subjects. But you have this blog, you say. You post all kinds of things on this blog that are basically just your opinion. True. But trust me, you really only get about ¼ of what’s inside my heart and brain and I prefer it that way.
Back to my point.
I watch social media – and I read all the horrible comments made. The juicier or more controversial the post, the more out of control the comments get. And sometimes it isn’t even controversial. One person I know posted that she liked a particular picture of President Obama – that was it. There was a picture of President Obama with his girls and their dog and she posted the picture and simply said, “What a nice picture of him enjoying family time.” The things her so called “friends” said were remarkable, they attacked her for being persuaded by media staged pictures and people went on tangents about various political opinions that were in opposition to the current President’s views. I guess, in this day and age, even posting a picture of a President – absent of any political view – is reason enough for our “friends” to feel compelled to verbally assault us.
It’s not just politics. It’s everything. One of my niece’s friends was posting about something funny that happened to her at Meijer and mentioned her daughter riding Sandy the pony, but she had to add in parenthesis that her husband was watching the daughter while riding Sandy the pony. Why? Because this gal knew some “friend” would have felt the need to point out that her daughter was too young to ride Sandy unattended, or another would share some horror story of her child falling off Sandy because she turned her head for a second. All totally irrelevant to the story the lady was telling about the funny thing that happened in the check-out line but she knew some comment would have been made had she not mentioned her husband was carefully and dutifully attending the daughter riding the mechanical pony ride. One of the bloggers I follow innocently posted a picture of her child’s pumpkin seat riding on the shopping cart at Target and got mom-shamed so badly she may as well have committed murder. Seriously, people wrote they simply could no longer follow her blog because she was such a careless human being. Uh… guilty… I used to put the pumpkin seat on the cart at Target. And to many perfect parents horror I had one kid who insisted on chewing the grocery cart handle and damn the days I forgot the shopping cart cover!
These are a few examples of hundreds I have witnessed lately. So here’s my question: Would these people say the same things if they were face to face with this person? Some would, for sure. In this lovely “no filter” era people seem to think it’s acceptable to say whatever comes to mind, whenever and however they please giving little to no regard to the person they are talking to. I get aggravated at people who offend others regularly and claim they have “no filter” – that’s not true everyone has the capability of filtering their remarks some simply choose not to be considerate or respectful of the person they’re talking to. And trust me I understand how hard it is to filter remarks in so many situations but I was raised that it was the classy thing to do. Maybe no one cares about being classy anymore.
So think about some of the people you know: friends, co-workers, acquaintances, parents of kids your kids know…. Whomever. Now picture a small dining room with enough room for twelve people. Could you imagine, using people you know, filling those twelve dining room spots with: 1 black person, 1 white person, 1 Christian, 1 Muslim, 1 Republican, 1 Democrat, 1 pro-Hillary, 1 pro-Donald (because I don’t think Republican and Democrat quite cover it at this point), 1 gay person, 1 straight person, 1 police officer and 1 criminal. Yes, I know a person who could fill each spot. Now in that small dining room only large enough for twelve people you are forced to see the person not the label. Suddenly all the awful things you recently said about police officers seem oddly out of context when you’re face to face with one and realize he’s a husband, a father, a boy scout leader and goes to a church close to yours. And think of all the times you’ve made comments that were anti-Muslim based on things you’ve seen on TV, do those comments reflect all Muslims? Including the one sitting across the table from you who was born in America and currently studying to be a doctor because she wants to save lives?
In that small room, suddenly you might realize you do have a filter. It’s easy to sit behind a computer and type all your opinions when you’re not face to face with a person. And yes I do know people who would still, face to face, say some of the awful things they say online. Maybe they might water it down a little, or may express some remorse after seeing someone’s facial expression after their harsh words. That would at least be an improvement.
Basically I guess I just miss the “social” part of social media.
Adj living together or enjoying life in communities or organized groups
Key words: ENJOYING LIFE
No one enjoys having to defend themselves or their ideas – even the ones that are surprisingly innocent like putting your kids pumpkin seat in a grocery cart. And if someone you know posts a picture of their favorite political candidate and you like the other candidate – calling your “friend” names is probably not your best most adult move. I mean do you really think calling someone a douchebag because they like someone you don’t is going to make them question their choice? Maybe question their choice of your friendship….
I miss the days of the good old bulletin board – you know like Spongebob said “A place where a yearning populous can express themselves freely.”
signed (anonymously) pinkbookdiary153