I wrote this blog last September and I just stuck it in my “drafts” folder. I don’t even remember why I wrote it, but the emotion of the moment has passed. Obviously I am much less heated now which is why I feel it’s safe to post this now. Just consider this a “rant” against immaturity in the public arena. I have learned my lesson.
Why do I even bother to get involved?
This is a question that I ask myself so often, specifically concerning Facebook. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to console someone who has posted something sad or depressing, or tried to give advice to someone who complained about a problem, or tried to help someone who really just wants to play the martyr only to have all my best intentions flung back in my face with a pious huff. “Why do I even bother?” I ask myself after the conversation turns sour. I should know better by now.
I should just make a policy to never comment on someone else’s status unless I’m making a joke.
It just seems logical to me that if you air your dirty laundry on Facebook you are opening your life up to comments and observations and criticisms and advice that might be wholly unwanted or completely contrary to your feelings at the moment. But, hey, you invited the whole world to your personal pity-party, so why should you be surprised when others feel free to comment about your life?
It used to be called “minding your own business,” but what are the new social rules concerning personal broadcasts into the public arena? No one really knows. Do we have social networking etiquette now?
I think there’s a proverb in the Bible about this. It goes something like this If you correct a fool, he’ll just turn on you and beat you up. I want to shout, “Hey! I’m not the enemy here. I’m trying to help you… you fool!”
Sigh, I should just keep to myself more and let the vocal ones all clamor around each other, howling their individual complaints. It does make me think long and hard about just closing my Facebook account completely.
But then I think about all the fun things that social media has to offer. I can “talk” to my family every single day either in messages or with video chat. I can share pictures of exciting things that happen in my little world. I can quickly contact people that I do business with and pass along information with amazing speed. And I can keep in touch with missionary friends all over the world.
Then I also think about how positively social media affected our past Itineration (or Deputation or Home Leave, depending on your organizational vocabulary). We spent a year back home to reconnect with our supporting churches and raise funds for the next 4 year cycle on the field. I was shocked at how people had followed us on Facebook for the last few years. People that I hadn’t remembered ever meeting in person would approach me in a church lobby and talk to me like we were old friends! I was shocked at their warm feelings for our family. I was pleased at the way so many churches treated us like we were part of their family because they all knew so many details of our lives from Facebook. It was a dramatically different experience from Itineration pre-social media.
So when I get my feathers ruffled about someone else’s emotional disfunction, I go back to all the reasons why I’m still on Facebook and I’m still blogging and I’m still doing what my mother always told me never to do. I’m talking to strangers. But we really aren’t strangers when I know all your problems, are we. :)
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thorinside/159665961/”>thorinside</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>CC BY-NC</a>
Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/170691672/”>Thomas Hawk</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>CC BY-NC</a>