Is Social Media Uniting or Dividing Us?

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In 2008, there were 145 million Facebook users. In 2017, there are more than 1.79 BILLION users as of January 2017. That’s a lot of people…and a lot of opinions.

In 2008, people still had active MySpace accounts, Twitter had only been active for 2 years, and “meme’s” and propaganda was circulated through email.

I’ll admit, I was late to the game. I opened my Facebook account in 2008, I think. I remember being reluctant to do so, because I didn’t know how much of my life I wanted exposed to the public. Kind of ironic, eh?

But back in 2008, Facebook was a much friendlier place to be than it is now. I can’t speak for Twitter or MySpace, since I don’t have accounts, but I assume that they started out more friendly as well.

It was fun to connect with old friends. There were countless stories of families being reunited after having lost touch. We got to see pictures and video and share in one another’s life events. And it united us on a global level that the every day person had never been able to achieve before.

And then something changed.

Instead of being a forum to share what we have IN COMMON, and what we could CELEBRATE, it started to meld into how we are different. Instead of sharing EACH OTHER’S lives, we started posting pictures of ourselves in the form of “selfie’s.” We got more opinionated and more self-righteous and more self-centered.

And instead of “liking” things, we got indignant about people’s opinions, and felt the need to correct and admonish whenever we got the chance. We hid behind our screens and started commenting and saying things that we would never say to one another in person.

Instead of uniting, we’re driving a wedge between ourselves. Instead of building bridges we’re smashing them with a wrecking ball. Instead of celebrating in each other’s lives and telling one another “good job” or “congratulations” we’re uttering words that (hopefully) we’d never say in person.

NO OUTSIDE FORCE DID ALL THAT…WE DID THAT. And it’s got to STOP!

Social media will continue to divide us until we remember our manners. We can have discussions without being completely rude to one another. We used to do it all the time. We can disagree and still show love to one another. OR WE CAN NOT LEAVE A COMMENT AND MOVE ON. We can eat a meal without posting a picture of it on Facebook. We can celebrate our beauty without taking a billion selfie’s seeking approval. We can use social media for what it was intended – TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER. But we have to get out of our own way to do it.

I love the human race. I don’t like conflict, and I want to change it when I can. This is something I can do.

You can do it. I can do it. We all can do it. But it has to start somewhere. Let it start with you and me.

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