Don’t Kill the Messenger: Social Media Is Not Bad, But People Can Be

I would like it if people would stop judging and categorizing certain types of media as bad. In my humble opinion the medium is neutral. It is the conveyance of the message. And like any tool available to human kind, it can be used for amazing good and terrible evil.
I was inspired to write my opinion, argument, if you will, because I got moved to action by another bashing of social media. The claim is that if you use social media, you will become depressed. I don’t believe this is necessarily true. And I think the claim misses the point. It is how you use and interpret the messages received and sent through social media that may reinforce or stimulate depression. It is not the neutral conveyance. We give things and thoughts the meaning. And whether it is good or bad, we judge.
I have to admit that part of my inspiration for expressing this opinion is to defend my ego. I love watching TV and sharing ideas, pictures, jokes and messages on social media. I do these things quite often. But because I prefer to receive my messages and communicate with other human beings through TV and social media, it does not make me “less than” people who prefer receiving messages through reading books or talking to each other on the telephone. Why do people feel the need to blame or glorify the conveyance? Or make one more righteous than another? I think the reason is probably ego and a lack of the assignment of personal responsibility.
I can do amazing things on social media. One thing that comes to mind is that I can continue a friendship with one of my classmates from elementary school. My friend, Stephen, and I went to elementary school in Kansas City, Missouri. And since that moment, a long, long time ago, we have both moved off to different cities. Stephen now lives somewhere in Oregon, and I live on the other side of Missouri in the greater Saint Louis metropolitan area. And if it were not for Facebook, I don’t believe we would communicate at all. But because Facebook exists, we were able to, first, find each other, and second, easily share ideas, our experiences, images of love ones and beautiful places. I am grateful that Facebook exists because without it, my friendship with my former childhood classmate would not exist. But it is Stephen and I that have made this a good experience, not necessarily the medium. If we were different people and shared different messages, this relationship could have become a negative experience. I believe that whether the experience is good or bad is up to us. And the strength and quality of the relationship is also up to us. I also cringe when people say, “but those people online aren’t really your friends.” Just because I communicate with Stephen on Facebook rather than calling him on the phone or talking to him in person does not change the quality of our friendship – it just simply makes it possible.
Sometimes people say terrible and awful things. And yet, there has been no campaign to urge people to stop talking. We have the common sense to not blame talking itself. I think we should use the same common sense with all methods of communication.

My Three Areas of Focus

I am an Oprah groupie.  I am not ashamed to admit it.  I have been watching her broadcasts of Super Soul Sunday and Oprah’s Lifeclass on her OWN network since its inception.  Integrating some of the great ideas that have been brought to my attention through these shows has been an awesome, fulfilling and a truly joyful experience.  I enjoy exploring ideas that might shift my perception, and allow me to arrive at a new appreciation of life as a human being.

One of the things related to Oprah that I am entertaining currently is a “O-Course” called “Thrive.”  The instructor is Arianna Huffington.  Many of the things we have covered so far make me feel proud of myself.  I didn’t need the instruction to know that plentiful sleep is important or that working until you fall over is not success.  Today’s assignment was to identify three goals, and then to let go of goals that aren’t a priority and that you can’t realistically include in your life.  Completing this assignment gave me the opportunity to clarify and re-affirm three key areas of focus in my life.  I’ve decided to share these with the biosphere of the internet.  Here we go…

Living life by being present and full of love.  Using this presence to cultivate awesome relationships with myself, my husband, my son and each person I encounter each day.  Removing mindless and numbing things I do out of habit.  Practicing gratitude and making decisions made from love.  Being aware and fully experiencing all the joy in my daily experiences.

Getting my “house” in order:  removing chaos and providing management for my daily life.  Employing self-care strategies to feel great physically:  improve diet, increase exercise, increase physical touch and massage and remove unnecessary stressors.  Employing strategies to make household chores and administrative tasks more manageable and less stressful…and get them completed to create an environment of peace and harmony instead of worry about what needs to be done.  Letting go of self-judgment regarding the things that I realistically don’t have time to do.

Using my employment opportunity not only to help support my family, but as a fertile training ground for helping others while achieving personal growth.  Monitoring the amount of energy I allow my career to consume.  Continuing to cultivate a positive, curious and helpful attitude while working.  Cherishing those with whom I get to spend so much time each work day.  Doing excellent work by focusing on one task at a time and maintaining a slow, steady way of being.

Be Kind to Yourselves

Deep down, I have the belief that we are all connected.  A couple days ago, I had an ‘Ah-ha’ moment.  I formulated a hypothesis that every person you meet in your life is actually another version of yourself.  This is a little far out, but hang in here with me for a minute.  In these alternative manifestations of yourself, different personality traits and characteristics are highlighted.  The dominate traits in others are different, but if you look inside yourself, you will see that those traits and characteristics are present in you.  It is the Universe’s clever way of teaching you about yourself.  It helps you notice, for example, the nervous and excitable part of yourself by giving you a prime example of a nervous and excitable personality in your life.  Or it shows you your innocent and childlike traits when you are in the presence of a little child and for a moment you are both full of wonder about the world.

I have no idea if this is true, but I think this idea is worth examining further.  I think that this idea may give me more compassion and empathy for other people.  Following this premise, I am going to be kinder to and more patient with all of ‘myselves’ I encounter out in my world.