Social media emotional Growth and responsibility

 
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Recently I was ‘pulled up’ by a friend of mine about a post I put up on social media where I tried to encourage people to just be a bit more positive and kinder to each other. The gist of their comments were a joke at my expense at trying to be ‘inspirational’. It was a light hearted jibe by a good hearted mate but one that made me think. As we all know, social media can be a feral landscape at times and I tried to put the comment aside but I wasn't however able to stop thinking about what was said. The conclusion I came to was that we can still all be who we are, as well as still trying to put a bit of encouragement back into other people's lives and it shouldn’t really matter to anyone else.

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Having been on Social media a number of years now and reading thousands of comments on many posts I do believe some people/friends don’t want you to grow (be it a conscious decision or an unconscious one). Sure some may have known you as a younger version of yourself. More rough around the edges, with possibly less of an understanding of the world, or as the person with the irreverent sense of humour, always having a biting take on something or a dry wit that cuts straight to the heart of an issue, and to them that is who you have to be because that is what is expected of you in their world, and they think they understand your place in things and that is one less thing to worry about to enable their world view to make sense to them. And that is something I simply don’t agree with.

For me life is about constantly evolving and growing. Not always growing at an alarming rate because that is just such a hard thing to do, but stretching who you are little by little to accommodate new things and possibly view people and events from different angles and allow these new things to expand and broaden your horizons.

We had a TV very much like this. Video recorders came much later!

We had a TV very much like this. Video recorders came much later!

A few of my thoughts about negativity on the internet and the slippery slope it is.

Now I grew up in a time of no social media. In fact no internet. We had three TV channels and as a kid if I wanted to watch cartoons, we had an hour a day of them during the week between 5 and 6pm or I’d have to get up early on a Saturday morning to catch kids TV. And before eyes are rolled, this was in the 70s and 80s. Y’know, where all that cool music came from and parents had no idea what their kids were up to on the whole.

So what this really means in the context of this blog about social media is that that unless you became tabloid fodder you could be a screw up amongst your friends and strangers alike (and oh did I abuse that privilege) and it lived and died there on the whole. Of course you’d bump into people in later life and they would bring up some of the stupid things you’d done and you’d feel that sickly feeling in the pit of your stomach, shame, embarrassment, or sheer anger that those memories would evoke, but they were still reasonably low key in the scheme of things.

This tranquilised image of a bear falling out of a tree went viral

This tranquilised image of a bear falling out of a tree went viral

Now, with the advent of the internet and it’s ability to transmit messages around the globe pretty much instantly you can go viral and the effect on your life can be dramatic in fantastic and destructive ways to say the least. And the public’s insatiable appetite for such things means that these things that are put out into the wild will never really die. They are stored, archived and trotted out again and again. This then means we need to behave a little differently.

Take Ghyslain Raza, AKA the Star Wars kid. He did what a lot of us would have done if we’d have had a stick and a video camera handy in our pre Internet youth. We’d have made out we were Jedis or Sith Lords, swung the stick around like a maniac and recorded it to see how bad ass we’d looked. And then possibly on the flip side, had we discovered the footage we’d have shown it to as many people as possible. Youth and stupidity go hand in hand a lot of the time and hindsight shows how cruel we may have been without a little more life experiences to temper our actions. I could cite hundreds of Cyber bullying posts but that isn’t really my point here. My point is that no matter how someone perceives you, you are allowed to grow and if you want to put positive vibes into the world, then do it. Sure we want to laugh at stuff that isn’t always politically correct, sure we want to comment on some of the more ‘woke’ peoples comments on social media and point out that not everything is a micro aggression, but we are still allowed to grow no matter who we were and have been.

How someone perceives me isn't something I can influence. What I put out into the world is my responsibility.

We've all been inspired and supported at times. Surely we can put that back into the world.

As I’ve grown older, these are a few of my favourite quotes.

The more I see, the less I know for sure
— John Lennon
What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are
— C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew

The images below are snapshots in time of a person. Sometimes he grew, other times he’s retreated. As much as I love photos, they rarely tell the whole story