Social Media Over 50 Part III
I suppose I am cynical. I laugh at that thought because I knew in my 20s, as a single mother, I would never be surprised again, and that I was cynical. My cynicism has reached a new level in the last ten years on social media.
I am grateful social media didn’t exist when I was a child, working through the trials and heartaches and awkwardness of adolescence. When I was a kid, I lost a friend each year of high school; one in a hunting accident, another by playing with baseball bats on mailboxes on a rural road, and the third from an undiagnosed heart issue. These days kids lose their friends from suicides, or being abducted or lured away by pedophiles met on the interwebs.
Studies have shown over again that social media leads to depression, and my own experience shows me this as well. Typically, I would get my coffee in the morning, look over the media, and even if I woke feeling great, I would soon descend into a lesser state. I do wonder if the same thing happened as we had our coffee and perused the morning paper, perhaps it did, but the paper was actually a paper, easily thrown away, burned or recycled. The paper did not have a pulsing blue light behind it with an instant response to your opinion.
When I was in my 20s and 30s, there was no such thing as revenge porn, where a lover could record you and send it out to twenty thousand people, who copied and reposted and sent it to another twenty thousand. When I was in my younger years no one sent me dick pictures because they would have to take the film to be developed – I laughed at the thought of the person handing the pictures over the counter. When I was younger I had a couple friends who I’d talk to on the phone, old landlines, now I have over 300 friends and I’m not sure if I’ve had a real conversation with 90% of them, or if I would even know them if I met them in the grocery.
An interesting thing about social media is that we get our news in memes, some funny, some truth, some lies, but after seeing so many posts it becomes hard to discern the truth. And on social media the need/wanting to be accepted by your peers is even stronger than it was when we were young. On social media we post our selfies - look how great I look, look how happy I am, look at all my friends.
I do recognize that I am odd. I’ve never been one for “girls nights” or lunches, I have never been popular, I’ve never been a bridesmaid, and I don’t have a “tribe”. I am one of those folks who like to read books, write them sometimes, and think about the “what if” things.
Before you call me a hypocrite because I’m still on social media, I will say that I have met some nice folks on the board that I would not have met without it. Some of those folks are close to my heart, and we have had real conversations, and sometimes phone calls. Also, I will say reconnecting with old best friends from elementary school and seeing what they did with their lives, and how they followed their passions have been inspiring – one name stands out, and what she’s done with her life and passion almost makes social media worth it. She and I lost touch after high school, but she is living the dream she always wanted.
On social media I am inundated by memes about love, light, and acceptance of every-damned-thing. But the love is marred, the light is muddy, and the acceptance is mostly not acceptable. On social media, I think too many times that someone is protesting too much - and after the tenth post how they love their new “hook-up”, and then they are broken up and hate each other three months later … yes, I am cynical.
Social media is mentioned in a third of all divorces these days.
Yes, I have grown cynical after ten years on social media, and I’d wager that most of us have, although we probably don’t talk about it as we post another picture.
I know that I miss the times before when we lived our lives, however grand or normal they were, and didn’t require the attention and opinions of 300 or 1000 strangers to comment upon them.
On social media, we are all stars. On social media, we are all important. On social media, our lives are fabulous.
I guess, in hindsight, I miss when we knew that fact on our own and didn’t need likes to prove it to us.