Social media is burdensome.
Don't get me wrong, I love social media. Ideas and information are shared and discussed all over the world by so many people, and I think that's pretty cool. I can laugh at something someone said a continent away and share it with my friends, I can read someone's analysis of my favorite book series that I've never considered before and feel wowed, I can look at shared art and stories and be amazed and a little jealous of the creators' skill. I can see and understand not just events happening around the world as I would by just watching the news, but I can also get a glimpse of how the people affected by it daily feel. They share their stories, their perspectives, in a way that you don't get in small clips from news sources. It allows for a more open mind and a greater sense of empathy and compassion for those around you. I love the way social media does this.
But this is also why social media can feel burdensome. So many stories are shared, constantly showing up in feeds, and it can feel incredibly overwhelming.
It sounds selfish to say that sometimes I don't read over people's stories; I can't stand to look at the hurt that people are putting out on their social media because it suddenly feels so hard to constantly care. I don't always feel like that, but when I do, I feel guilty. It seems horrible to say that I only came online for jokes and silly comics and the latest news in celebrity drama. It feels bad to say that I came online because I didn't want to care about what was happening in the world. So when I see a story that should get exposure, when I come across news in my feed and skip right over it, I feel bad, but it feels worse to me personally to read it because my heart feels so heavy.
It feels burdensome to care. And that sentence feels so so selfish. Caring is the simplest show of support I could give to anyone or to any cause and yet I still find myself sometimes feeling too overwhelmed to do that. I'll feel fired up to do something to help the world become a better place, and the next moment I feel like I'm powerless. And I know that it is all in my head, but I still feel like I can't change anything. I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and we agreed that for all that we want to be optimists, we find ourselves weighed down by cynicism. It was, in all honesty, a pretty outwardly bleak conversation. But mostly I felt relief that I wasn't the only person out there that was overwhelmed by the world. A conversation with another friend had us both agreeing that sometimes we skipped over things on social media because it was too much to look at, that it was exhausting. I find it both comforting and concerning that I am not the only person who feels this way.
So I decided that mental and emotional breaks are perhaps a bit necessary for my sanity, but that, of course, I should never stop caring about what's going on. I'll skip over a post today and like it to look over tomorrow when I'm feeling more prepared to deal with things. Then I'll share the story because it's important that we all are aware of each other's pain, of each other's struggles. Social media can definitely feel burdensome, but I think ultimately I prefer the weight of knowing over the lightness that would come from a lack of awareness. Ignorance might be bliss, but at what cost? So I will continue to read and watch and share other people's stories as I come across them online and hope that by doing that, at the very least I am burdening someone else with a sense of awareness and care for the world.