Somehow, whenever something huge happens in this country, we take to social media like wildfire. We spread our words around, we boast how we feel about situations that usually have little to no effect on us, and then comes the throwdowns we have with people whose opinions might be just the slightest bit different from our own.
Personally, I've partaken in the debacle myself. I've gotten angry at someone for saying something that I thought was entirely irrational. As a matter of fact, I chose to hide that person from my news feed from now until the end of eternity. But I can't help but think longer and harder on this matter when it comes to one basic question. Why the hell do we suddenly care so much?
Honestly, thinking back I wonder if we really care about what we're posting or if we're just focused on the possibility of a reaction. There have been times where I have knowingly posted something on a section of my social media arsenal just to watch people go wild. And there have been times where I have kept personal opinions off of it for the exact same reasoning. So this begs the question, asks us to really answer one thing:
What are we more hungry for? The truth or conflict?
Naturally, most of us will respond with the better nature in our head, telling ourselves that we're honestly just searching for the truth in all of these crap post news articles. Fake news websites fueling us to spark near instantaneous fights with friends, family.
Some articles too far left, too far right. Some so down the middle the fight isn't there to start, but by the end of the comments section, you're wondering what on earth happened to get from point A to point B. Case and point: The 2018 election. Where people really learned what stock they were made of and where they stood on the podium of the political platform.
Relationships were tested, friendships ended. And all over the endgame which literally no one was actually satisfied with. And from there we have center focused all of our efforts on debasing our President, causing more fights, more trepidation, and naturally more conflict amongst ourselves.
Back in the day, it was common practice that if you don't have anything nice to say, you didn't say it at all. Part of me really wonders what happened to those times. Part of me thinks social media destroyed the common man's ability to agree to disagree, to leave things in such a place where we could find the middle ground.
I really try to think back to a time before social media. Where battles were fought verbally in debate club, or even over the lunch table in classrooms, but now we're all so enveloped in the LED screens of our shiny little connections to thousands of voices and minds all over the world because it makes us feel less small somehow.
Somehow with Facebook and Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram - even LinkedIn -, we feel like there's someone out there if we broadcast our every feeling who will relate to us when there are people sitting in the very same room feeling something close to the exact same thing.
I feel like we've become a civilization hellbent on making sure we're heard while forgetting the old fashion notions of polite prerequisites of conversation, like hearing an opinion from all sides without getting hostile, respecting someone else's beliefs.
What happened to those days and times, how did we even get here and this far away from them? Did it sneak up on us, or did we see it coming and just choose to do nothing to really prevent it? Did society numb us to our surroundings to make tragedies easier to deal with?
I look at the fights we get into with the people we love and watch as the wounds we self-inflict leave us so wide open. Wide open to being hurt by the smallest commentary from people we hardly know who don't agree with everything we say, and before they can explain if they agree with at least some things, we stomp out the chance to connect. We defend ourselves against attacks that haven't come because we've become soft. We've become fragile to the idea of meeting someone halfway.
The question no longer stands that we have become a social hierarchy of who's right and who's wrong, but the question is how do we remember to tread softly on the territory of common grounds? How do we remember to not bash, or ridicule someone for their ideas and opinions, instead of how do we gently inquire about what got them to that end? Is there any way back to the simple conversation? Or, again...has social media left us wide open?