I have a strange relationship with social media. On one hand, a huge part of my work-flow depends on social media. Not only do I use these platforms to convey the story of the American Baptist Churches of New Jersey in my role as Communications Coordinator, I also connect with both town and church folk through these mediums. Social media is important for how I function.
But I am not comfortable on it.
At heart, I am a private person. But this goes against the grain in social media land and, indeed, leads Facebook to prompt me to share more on the platform 1. But other folks share things which just boggle my mind.
Here’s some examples:
- People who share all the birth data of their children 2
- People who share every detail of their kids’ lives
- People who have no hesitation about launching a profanity-laden assault about something which bothers them
- People who share literally every moment of their existence, no matter what
Look, some of these things aren’t bad, they just aren’t something I’m likely to do with any regularity. And to me regularity is the key word in that sentence.
I will share moments I spend with Bump 3. I’ll share accomplishments I’m particularly proud of, like releasing my novel. And my blog is often me wrestling with things I’m finding difficult to process, so I understand the desire to launch profanity-laden assaults 4.
But aside from blogging, which has not been too regular the past few months, I do none of these things regularly. Personal details, is something I just just don’t feel the need to share with many people. In fact, I give very few people that sort of access to my existential state. And yet this is precisely what I see people sharing across my social feeds day after day. In my mind those insights have to be earned, and following me somewhere doesn’t qualify as earning it. Worse, it often gives virtual ammunition people who don’t have our best interests at heart 5.
So I participate on social media. And the person you encounter there is me – I do attempt to be the same person across the board. And yet, it’s also not me – because that person is reserved for only a few to know. The push to expand that inner circle of personal expression in exchange for electronic popularity may be one of the most toxic temptations of our age.