Have you ever logged into your social media account only to find out a close family member has passed away hours, or minutes before? How did you feel? What were you’re thoughts? It’d be safe to say, shock, confuse, perhaps denial, or grief, but before all of those emotions that comes along with lost can even begin to be processed. The assumption has to be made that the secondary response was, why did I find out like this? Why wasn’t I called? Who would post this information before the news reached me?
We are in a time when clicks are dollars and dollars is God. If you’re not clicking or swiping you’re not living. If you’re not getting liked you’re doing something wrong. Americans on average check their phones 46 times per a day (not accounting for other ways in which people connect to their social media) and as high as 76 times per a day. Can you think of anything else that gets as much attention throughout the 24hrs in a day? A decent amount of people would own or admit they are addicted to at least one type of social media platform. If that doesn’t apply to you, you’ve certainly seen the dramatic, “I’m leaving Facebook everyone! I’m going on a hiatus” followed by “…I’ll be back at some point.” Only to see said person return to your Newsfeed in the blink of an eye, more determine and deliberate with their post and status updates. “I’m Back!” Perhaps, it shouldn’t come as a surprise we have reached a state of overwhelmingly alarming and gross culture of over-sharing.
There was a time when, “Don’t air your dirty laundry” was a conduct code most followed. When privacy was valued, your home was a place to cherish, your family and close friend your outlet, and your business your own. Instead, now we’ve reached a place where all things, all aspect of your life is fair game to toss up as a post in the name of …But what does that like represent? What does it really mean when, the first thing you think to do when your mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, aunt, uncle, best friend, childhood friend e.t.c. dies and instead of calling others affected by this lost you post it? You post how they are now gone– in the very moment you get the news. What does that mean? There has been, childbirths on display, babies literally 1 second old bearing placenta, posted. Two week old pregnancy celebrations. Near death, in the ICU, selfies. Rolling out of a wreck in a gurney, Snapchat. Two-second-relationship, daily anniversary declarations of ‘undying love’. A fire, a burning building recorded for IG, rather than making the 911 call. And it goes on, the list of incidents, moments that should be private, yet made public is endless.
For WHAT? You, we, us are detached from our humanity. We are in a place where internalizing our emotions have become obsolete, too much work, too difficult to sit with and process life changing events that affect our emotional and mental state. Rather than be introspective, and ask ourselves how does this thing that has happen make me feel. We externalize and projectile vomit our shit into the cyber world hoping it will alleviate or bring about happiness for that which we refuse to deal with. Completely disregarding the self and those around, who are also affected from the lack of care, lack of accountability, lack of responsibility because we just can’t deal. No one should be made to find out impertinent news that affects them the same way a stranger does. And no one should feel accosted/harassed by your guilt. Yes, guilt- the thing that drives people to prove others wrong regardless of the validity. Guilt is that nagging sense of doubt, that pushes people to declare things that are not true. It is sick, it is disturbing and it needs to stop.
But we can’t because there’s the anxiety that comes with facing ourselves. And now more than ever we try so hard to be anything other than ourselves. We want to paint lavish, perfect, enticing, portraits of our lives and when it’s not what we want we don’t want to feel the pain, we want others to feel the pain for us, and even then we want to be viewed as gracious, strong, and loyal. But you’re not. You are broken, you are lacking and you are insensitive to yourself and those around you. Perhaps it’s time to check-in and stop checking-out.
*Disclaimer* If you think this is not connected to the political climate of our country and how we choose to respond, you are sadly mistaken.