Social media is a bit like a snake pit. There are some snakes that are beautiful and peaceful. Some of them do jobs we appreciate like keeping an eye on rodent populations. And some are venomous; they are poison.
Social media is great. It’s an opportunity to experience the world in a larger way; to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise. I live on a small farm on the prairie and don’t get out much. With the help of the internet, I have managed to have a voice past the end of the driveway.
I never underestimate the importance of free speech or take it for granted. Even when I want to scream against bullies, haters, and fear-mongers whose voices rant for selfish reasons; to hear their own rage amplified as if disrespect and deception was a sign of intelligence. Social media is where an idea can explode out of control in a moment when readers get on a “like” button bandwagon–free speech was never easier.
Free speech on public media has consequences. This week I saw a meme saying that posting political beliefs was a good way to make the Christmas list shorter. It’s a bittersweet joke with an edge of truth; Facebook rants change how I think of my friends. I unfriend unfriendlies. Every time there’s a shooting somewhere, you can be guaranteed that the NRA gun lovers will have pulled the trigger on Second Amendment rants before the bodies are in the ground. There is no cease fire for funerals. Even children’s funerals. The meanness wears me down.
Are you concerned about the content you’re adding to the world conversation? As much as I enjoy creative profanity–and I do enjoy it–I don’t use it publicly. And since it’s always easy to find a compliment or a kernel of humor, I go with that. Let the haters hate; it’s the easy path. Naturally, I learned that in the barn too. My mentor always said it was the cheapest easiest thing to judge what was wrong with a horse or rider. It took no real talent or skill to recognize, but in the end, you judge horses or humans on a sliding scale of the least-bad thing. She required me to lift my vision, see what I liked, and reward that. Ends up it good advice for social media, too.
It isn’t a denial of what’s wrong so much as an affirmation of what we want to see. A vote that things can be better in the future. It takes more courage to lift up out of the muck and be kind than to point fingers and complain. Because the problem with gossip is that if something gets repeated often enough, it doesn’t have to be true. That damages our integrity as individuals and as a country.
I wonder if Gandhi’s words apply to Facebook:
The “Seven Social Sins”: Knowledge without character, Science without humanity, Wealth without work, Commerce without morality, Politics without principles, Pleasure without conscience, Worship without self-sacrifice. –-Mahatma Gandhi
One of my favorite parts of this new author experience of mine is hearing from readers. I got an email from Eeva telling me that she heard me mentioned in some blogs and got my book, Stable Relation, by coincidence. She complimented the book, saying she had gone so far that… “When reading about birds, I even googled for pictures as I’m not familiar with those species you have over there.” She lives in Finland. And that’s what I love about social media; it has the ability to join us together to share our lives. We are all more alike than different. Now I’ll go google the birds on her pond.
THIS WEEK: I had a great time at the book talk at Bingo’s, our local tack store. The crowd was fun and I get a bit more comfortable each time. I’m enjoying the reading part, finally escaping grade school memories, and we all laughed like old friends. At the end, while I was signing, a wonderful woman with a winning smile asked to have her picture taken with me. I’m sure I made a face. No one has ever asked before and it wigged me out. Don’t even try to comfort me by telling me the Kardashian sisters started this way. (I hope I apologized myself out of that awkward moment… I’m pretty sure I was rude.)
A reminder: Now is a good time for that review you’ve been meaning to write on Amazon. Just a word or two, and it keeps us alive in the search world. Thank you. And this bit of news: Book two, coming in a month or so, will have just a few photos in it!
Saturday, November 28th, I’ll be signing books at Covered Treasures Bookstore in Monument, Colorado from 12 to 2pm. They’re located in the Chapala Building, at 105 Second Street. (719-481-BOOK) This indie bookstore is a wonderful stop for holiday shopping. I hope to see you there.
Join us December 5th, Saturday, at High Prairie Library here in Falcon, Colorado between 1-3pm. I’ll be reading, taking questions and signing books. The library has also purchased books that will be available for lend soon. Libraries are the place dreams are born, come and say hello!
I am so grateful for all the kind words and support that has lifted this little book. Wishing you a Thanksgiving that gives pause to laugh and see the best in the world. And in this season, where social media memes remind us that we are all refugees, I will cast my one tiny vote for love to be just one inch bigger than fear.