Social media hate/love: Catch you on the flip side

Sometimes I think: “I should dump all my social media accounts.”

I get irritated by people tweeting or posting about foods I should or shouldn’t eat. Sometimes one post telling me that I SHOULD eat a certain food is followed quickly by another telling me that I should NEVER eat the food. It’s irksome.

And people can be horrible. Hateful. Mean.

But I don’t dump my social media accounts.

All those contradictory food posts make me realize how much I trust my body to let me know what it needs.

And people can be so wonderful. Inspirational. Kind.

I decided to ask my circle of social media acquaintances for their thoughts. The results wouldn’t stand up to scientific method scrutiny, but they represent an overall picture of the situation. And that is:

For every bad, there is a flip side of good.

We don’t like:

  • HATE that is easy to spread, aided by anonymity. “I do not like how cruel and thoughtless people can be when not face to face,” one person said. “How quick to judge, and attack, how divisive some posts can be.”
  • FALSE NEWS and rumours
  • SHALLOW “LOOK AT ME” POSTS, sometimes mindless and trivial
  • ADS and blatant self-promotion

But then, we stick with it because all those things have a flip side. We like:

  • ALL THE LOVE AND CONNECTION, with friends, family, distant connections and people we wouldn’t connect with otherwise. “The other side of that the hate] is how kind strangers can be; how supportive and uplifting,” one friend said. Another added, “I’ve developed supportive friendships around the world and have met several of them.”
  • USEFUL INFORMATION, breaking news, information in emergencies, recommendations for services, event notifications, genuinely happy news from friends, and hobby groups.
  • PEARLS OF WISDOM AND INSPIRATION, intellectual stimulation
  • PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE, finding out about something we need
  • THE BOOST we get from others who share their creativity and positive experiences
  • ENTERTAINMENT “Oh and I love the cute animal videos,” a friend said. Don’t we all.

There are valid reasons to cut and run from social media. There are valid reasons to stay. I’ll stick it out, because I’m an optimist.

Catch you on the flip side.

* Exits whistling *

15 thoughts on “Social media hate/love: Catch you on the flip side

  1. Jennifer Grant

    I tried Facebook for about 2 weeks at the urging of my daughter then eliminated the app. About two years later I tried it again for a whole month at the urging of a friend. When the month ended I closed out my Facebook account after deciding that I could live without the constant, unwelcome chatter in my life. I am a person who has not got a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account and feels they are living a full and rich life. I do get a pang every now and then when I tell my children some family news and they had heard it already two weeks ago (and why the hell did they not tell me!?) but otherwise I am thriving in a life without any social media beyond email. It feels good! And anything I really need to know somehow gets to me anyway…. just maybe a little bit later than the rest of the world.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Interesting … I have wondered about the reasoning behind staying away from it completely. Those sound like good reasons! For me, so far, the good outweighs the bad. We’ll see what the future brings.

  2. Ally Bean

    I don’t do FB because the brief time I was on there I found my ‘friends’ were ill-informed and unkindly. I left, no problem. I do Twitter and IG because I learn things from those sources which is my motivation for most everything I do. Learn something.

    And I keep a personal blog, of course, because that’s what all the cool kids do. Is that not so?

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      Ha, ha. A cool kid it is! I must say that I found discovered some sides to my friends that I wasn’t aware of before after I read some of their Facebook posts! I tuck that away as useful information. I keep my number of Facebook connections low and positive, and a visit there gives me a boost every day. I’m on Twitter the least because I find it more difficult to filter out the less desirable stuff there. Instagram is relatively new to me, but I’m enjoying its vibe so far. Overall, I try to cultivate the aspects of it all that make me feel good and keep the negative to a minimum. Sometimes that’s more challenging than others.

  3. Janet Givens

    I love Facebook. My participation in certain FB groups (mostly closed ones) brings a great deal of pleasure to me. And, it’s how I sell most of my books, edorviss as lot the ebooks. But I have rules. I am very dictatorial on who I let into my timeline: No one. Only I can post there. I also unfriend easily and often. Yes, it’s a silo of likeminded people. We all believe in curiosity compassion and courage, my 3 Cs. And I’ve got over 1500 “Friends” (that took some getting used to). I also take breaks from social media, often. A day or two. And while I have accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn, I rarely go to any of them.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I enjoy Facebook groups and connections too. I keep my Facebook connections low, so it is a space where I share more personal aspects of my life with close friends. I turn to Twitter for breaking news, but stay far away from the toxic things that happen there. Instagram is fun, and I enjoy that the feed there is always up to date and not a recycle of posts I’ve seen before, which is often the case on Facebook. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, it seems.

  4. marianbeaman

    Social media is almost a “must” for authors. Facebook is where I have connected with my friends and readers. Also, it’s where I’ve found great groups for my genre: National Assn. of Memoir Writers + We Love Memoirs to name a few. Recently, I found “Growing Up in Elizabethtown, my home town and my memoir setting. How cool is that!

    Instagram is the most “fun,” medium, but I don’t seem to have time for that “third thing.” Twitter doesn’t make sense to me although I’ve used it for book promo and often share others’ books and blogs. Like you, I’m an optimist and in these times of social distancing, I value these connections.

    I stay away from posting political and other inflammatory topics. My attitude: ranting is a turn-off + I don’t think anyone’s mind is changed by divulging the ugly. Timely topic, Arlene, and thank you!

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I think that Facebook groups are a great way of pulling like-minded people together. Those of us who connect that way would not want to give it up! I agree about Twitter. There are people who love it, but I find it a bit too “all over the place” for me. I prefer my more intimate Facebook world. I have very few connections on Instagram and I’m being mindful of keeping it that way.. Choosing to connect with only those I really want to see a lot. It’s an interesting journey!

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I limit my connections on Facebook to people I really, really love. It is a positive place with lots of love and laughs. It’s the site I use most frequently. The secret is – keep it positive!

  5. roughwighting

    Every once in a while I tell myself to leave social media. But will I? NO. First, a blog is social media, and it’s brought so much light and positivity and new friends to my life. I LOVE blogging and reading the posts of others (like yours!). I joined FB about 10 years ago so I could see family photos, but now it’s mostly to connect with friends (I’ve ‘met’ high school and college friends who I hadn’t connected with in years) who don’t live near. I enjoy seeing their family photos. (I choose to not read ANY political comments – they can be too nasty and divisive). And all of these friends have been so supportive of my fiction books and children’s books. Twitter, I haven’t figure out yet. Just don’t get it, but I enjoy Instagram just for the challenge of taking fun photos and seeing the photos of others. Pinterest. WHA?? I can’t figure that one out either. 🙂

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I agree – I’ll never let social media go. I love staying connected with people I love, even when we’re not geographically close. I find Twitter unwieldy too, and way, way too negative and hateful. But, I do turn to it when there’s breaking news and I want to know something fast. I HATE that it has become a news source though. So many journalists make up their reports based on what people have said on Twitter. What kind of reporting is that? Lazy and incomplete and …. I could go on. I tried Pinterest for a while but closed my account. It had no value-added for me either. And as for the blog – Yes! How lucky I am to have connected with the blogging community. It’s been fantastic.

      1. roughwighting

        Funny – I just saw Laurie’s post on “what’s your favorite social media?” You two are on the same “page” to speak, and you and I are, for sure. Twitter is no fun when it becomes just political and pointed. Thus, that’s probably why I’m seldom on it. To the positive, the fun, and sharing the LIGHT of our lives!

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