This is different than my normal posts. It struck me to write and write it I shall. Forgive my candor if it offends you, though it shouldn’t.
Social media is one of those monsters. It’s the one with a lovable face, and a frightening underbelly. It is love, happiness, and celebration. It is hate, anger, and vengeance. It is dinner, a movie, and sex. Social media has become our news, our outlet to the world, our reason to feel important…to feel heard. It is our thoughts presented for interpretation. Our feelings splayed out to be judged by someone else’s idea of morality. Our ideals on stage to be applauded or ridiculed. What’s even better is that none of that even matters.
The most common posts I read on my Facebook newsfeed are ones of anger, hatred, and cries of insult and outrage. ‘How dare they state their opinion or do something I disagree with! I will state mine louder, do something more drastic…and angrier! ROAR!’ Yes, yes we are all guilty of it. I’ve done it, you’ve done it, your mother (if she has figured out Facebook) has done it. And honestly, it’s not really a bad thing. You should feel free to vent your frustrations and opinions openly, but would you do so if you weren’t behind the keyboard. Would you stand up in front of a crowded room that may or may not agree with your opinions and tell them just why you are so angry? Would you point someone out in a public place, face them and tell them just why they are wrong and you are right before a room full of people? Would you take that chance, that risk that others may think you are the one who is wrong?
Think about it. Don’t answer automatically just because you’re reading this on your computer, tablet, or phone. Answer this question to yourself. Would you do it? I wouldn’t. Though, I have been known to call myself a coward. I’m terrified of confrontation, even over the internet. I become flustered, wordless, a bumbling idiot. But I just have to wonder how many would actually say the things they say online to a crowd of people in person. If you are one of those brave people who are capable of such things, I applaud you and your conviction. I have close friends who readily speak their minds regardless of who or how many people are standing in the room. I envy that ability.
That part doesn’t upset me. In fact, I love seeing such passionate discussions. It’s important that things matter to you. What I cannot get behind is hate, and we humans, we love to hate. We devour it like cake, like a box of chocolates, like a bottle of the best wine (or whatever you drink) that you have ever had. We eat (and drink it) up. I am guilty of it too, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been so glass-shattering-with-my-mind angry that I have hated someone with everything in me, but is it right? No. It’s not, but that doesn’t stop us from doing it. The thing is…maybe we should reserve those hateful thoughts, save them. Stop ourselves from throwing someone under the bus because we think they deserve it. We certainly wouldn’t want someone doing it to us….
One beautiful thing about social media is the sharing of beautiful stories, amazingly epic moments of humanity shining bright. Those videos of someone saving an animal from the evil monster who wronged them, or that photo of the disabled hero who champions the rights and values of those with their same disadvantages, turning them into advantages, the homeless man giving another homeless man his food…. Those are the stories that make you laugh and cry at the same time. They bring you hope for humankind. Somehow we will be better simply because of this one act of heroism. It is simply fantastic. And I love it. Beyond all words, I love it.
What bothers me is when someone says I need to do that. ‘Change the world. Be that person who makes it all different. Make this a better place! All you have to do is stand up!’
Unfortunately, not all of us have that power or voice. We aren’t all motivational speakers at heart. We aren’t all so awesome that Ghandi would bow and give us his blessing.
The Guy in Between
Whatever your conviction, moral values, ideals, or thoughts on how we should live our lives, we are all just people. We are just a person, a speck, the middle line in the middle of a bunch of middle lines. There are over seven billion people sharing the planet, most of which are just trying to get by. When I see all the anger and joy in one place it reminds me that we are just people. We deserve to be seen and heard, yes. We won’t be. Those few hundred likes…that’s a matter of a bunch of singular clicks that will be forgotten in a few days time. No one is telling you how amazing you are by giving you some silly thumbs up. No one is fully committing to your cause by commenting with “AGREED.” Sure, that person heard you…maybe a few others. Do you think the guy in China living on a farm cares? Probably not. And then you ask others to be champions for a cause they might really and truly believe in. And great! Be a hero! Be that ‘change you want to see in the world.’ High five! Please save the world, save the children, save the future, save us…
But what about the rest of us who don’t exactly have the ability or means to make waves in a world of seven billion people?
Easy. You support those who surround you. Love them. Share with them. Tell them how amazing they are. Make ripples if all you have is a pebble. Be the champion of just one life if that’s all you can do. That’s all I can do. I can be the guy in the middle just getting by. Just making it another day, struggling with conflicting emotions, fighting my own inner monsters that both agree and disagree with me. All I can do is offer my thoughts, my shoulders, and my ears. The guy in between. Hero of one, two at best. That’s good, that’s perfect. You rock, guy in between. DO IT.