Thursday, November 1, 2012

Social Media: Friend or Foe

I've learned some interesting things through the course of  this disaster called Sandy. Many have taken to social media to stay engaged with others and to learn how people are doing. But like a huge conference room where multiple conversations may be taking place, not everyone is discussing the same thing.

I've known people to share so many stories via Facebook and Twitter. Death of parents. Loss of home due to the economy. A breakup or divorce. People are quick to jump in with an encouraging word, kind thoughts, prayers. And I truly believe the empathy that folks have on social media.

However, it seems that people want everyone to feel and react the same way to every situation. But that doesn't happen. I've had no power or heat since Monday, so I've chosen to get by with humor on social media. Of course I stop and look at the photos coming through of the devastation Sandy has brought and I greatly feel for those so affected. But no one can understand completely what someone is going through. The fact someone posts a photo of their child trick-or-treating after commenting on your lack of power, or their family vacation once you've mentioned the death of your parent doesn't mean their sincerity for you isn't real. It simply means people continue living their own lives and social media is one's way of being social.

So yes - I've learned lessons and I hope others do too. We shouldn't be upset with people online because their lives/their pains/their joys are different from ours. What they are feeling is just as important. People do mean it when they invite you to come to their place to take a shower. Or the restaurant I went to last night (to eat in the light) and they offered to charge our phones while we ate. 

Lastly, if Sandy brings out the humor side in me - I think my social media friends appreciate that more than hearing how depressed it is looking at a dark wall each evening. Instead, I'll talk about the shadow puppets I'm making on the wall.     

6 comments:

  1. Great post. Social media is great, even with all the political propaganda and stuff. From someone not on the forefront of this storm, or other events, it's often difficult to know what to say to those friends who are on the front lines. I want to offer a helping hand or a kind word, but I can't say I know what you're going through. Recently my power was off overnight because I forgot to pay the bill. That was enough to drive me crazy. Mostly because I was beating myself up for forgetting to pay it, but I did get to miss out on the first Presidential debate (blessing in disguise). Going days without seems unimaginable.

    I've been lucky I guess. As I look at all the photos coming in, I'm filled with awe and sadness. For as much as Social media brings us together, it sure makes the world feel so far away at times.

    Hang in there my friend. It's still okay to experience our joys in the midst of sadness. It's what makes us human and great writers.

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    1. Thank you so much, Rick. You are so right about this. And now...I can be thankful that my power JUST came on. :-)

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  2. Hi Greg, Thanks for sharing your post. I admire your courage to always talk about issues many know so well but don't always want to talk about in public (online or offline).

    Glad your power is back on. Hope all is well.

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    1. Thank you! Hope you have stayed well during Sandy.

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