In This Moment

My social media feed has been consumed by all sorts of insanity over the past week. I’m sure you’ve all experienced similar stuff. Activist and apologists from various points on the political spectrum have offered their take on many issues. Religion, gender, sexual preferences, gun violence and terrorism have been hot button topics. Along with the *professional* insights, I’ve been inundated with all sorts of posts from friends, family, acquaintances (random people I somehow find myself following on Twitter), expounding on these same subjects.

I’ve done my best to stay out of the fray.

Social media has convinced most of us that our opinions are not only important and insightful, but indispensable, and everyone we know (and in some cases, don’t know) needs to read our observations on every little thing. I am not immune to this feeling, and have made far too many pretentious, didactic posts on all sorts of stuff. I am sure many people have had their opinions of me negatively altered by this foolishness. I feel a sense of shame when I encounter one of these posts (stupid Timehop) and always wish I had been smarter, less reactive, more thoughtful.

When I am in the same room with people I care about, I can engage in respectful debates, even have intense disagreements, and not let my anger win out, but the same conversations with the same people on social media can actually make me dislike a family member or a friend. Why do I react so badly to words on the page/screen? Is my connection to humanity so weak that I lose it the moment I lose physical proximity?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, and I’m not sure any justification really matters.

Not posting a response seems to help. I still feel the rush of anger, and that urge to respond emotionally to something I disagree with does not go away quickly, but I have yet to regret a moment of silence, or scrolling past an argument rather than adding fuel to the fire.

I am learning to recognize that instant of resentment as false and circumstantial, though it is not any less potent. I am learning to better control my digital reaction. I am trying to contribute more joy, more positive things when I post to social media. I still want to speak out when I feel it necessary, when my silence would be misguided, but I want to do it with less arrogance and pride.

People over things. Love first. 

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About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

5 responses to “In This Moment”

  1. veggiechickalldaylong says :

    Very insightful post! As one who just posted a book instead of a blog, I totally understand. I’ve kept out of it as much as I can, especially when we have cable news 24 hours a day, and every bit of social media is addicted and letting us know every second or so. I feel the same way about commenting, friends, and family. I actually do not speak to a sister because of her posting hateful comments and I think it is beyond incomprehensible that a relationship like a sibling could be lost because of social media. I have learned myself to calm down with quick reactions, even if the post was meant to get my quick reaction. Many don’t care what they get from their post, as long as they get. It’s like realizing that it’s really true that some people don’t care what kind of response they get, as long as they get a response. Its nice to see Im not alone with my feelings, and that they can be overcome. This gives me a little hope that perhaps I can be even a little bit better than I was yesterday. Thank you!

    • fenster says :

      Thanks for the comment. How unfortunate to lose a sibling over social media. It only reaffirms my commitment to myself to be more thoughtful and careful. I don’t want to feed the machine, because that machine can never be filled.

  2. jmh says :

    Oh, if only everyone followed this advice! There’s something about the starkness of people’s rants on social media that can instantly change how we feel about them. I know I’ve been shocked to discover through social media that some friends of mine are racist, bigoted, or otherwise misguided.

    I’ve definitely unfriended people who post the equivalent of hate speech on social media. Would I have more tolerance if I was with them face-to-face? Maybe, but I don’t think I’d like them anymore than I did when I unfriended them.

    • fenster says :

      Those sorts of rants deserve a response. Racism, sexism, etc, are things I will always fight. Usually, I get uptight about things that aren’t that clear cut. Politics, other sorts of silly rants, they are harder to pin down, and usually not worth the stress I feel in engaging.

      • jmh says :

        And it’s not like anyone’s mind is ever changed by arguing with them on social media, anyways. Best to save your energy for more important things.

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