As social media continues to blossom, an ugly trend is growing: one that threatens to upend the social interaction that sites like Facebook and Twitter have brought.
Whether it be politics, religion, or our views on sexuality, it’s apparent that many of us are so wrapped up in our own beliefs that we’re harming others and society in general. We’re posting about our passions, but instead of spurring meaningful conversation, we quickly escalate into heated arguments over differences of opinion.
Educating the masses and standing for causes is great, but when it damages relationships, it comes with a real cost. When we push people away, we harm them and ourselves. We may be pushing away a Realtor, an accountant, a babysitter, a future close friend. Wouldn’t other people would be better off knowing you as well? Some of my most trusted friends are people who disagree vehemently with me on politics and religion. These are people who I can trust to babysit my kids or put me up for the night if necessary.
If I could give you all a word of advice it’d be to love and respect the people you chat with on social media. Love them enough to consider their feelings, and to get involved if you know they need some help or guidance. Stand up for what’s important, and learn to ignore some of the things that aren’t. Be the person that will call them out on drug abuse or suicidal posts. Be the person that’ll know you’ve argued enough for one day. Make a point to come around to something you can agree on and always part on good terms. Social media has tools to help us keep our sanity. Use them! Hide posts and unfollow certain groups.
Let’s face it, none of us are the lawyers or politicians we pretend to be on social media. We need our friends a lot more than we need a particular politician in office. We can influence each other in positive ways, and even pull people to our way of thinking, but we’re not going to do that if we’ve all unfriended each other. If we want to influence our friends, we’ve got to start by being a friend.
Take a moment to realize just how priceless our friendships really are. I’m not calling for an end to political posts or memes, but I am calling for us to be considerate of the people we’re talking to. You may save a life one day by offering a kind word, and if you do, it won’t matter who they voted for whether they’re Catholic or Muslim.
I hope that the spirit of this article finds its way into your life and that we can all find ways to join together for the greater good.
Have a pleasant day!