Sometimes I wonder if there is someone sitting down at Social Media Headquarters just cooking up things for us to argue about.
I first wondered this a few years ago, back when Fifty Shades of Grey had just been published and so many of my Facebook friends publicly drew their line in the sand.
I watched many people I care about jump into the dog pile over that topic and that was the first time I stood back from social media and thought, “Something isn’t right here.”
You guys know what I’m talking about, right? I’m talking about those topics that get to circulating through our social media feeds that we all want to chime in on, pick sides over, wave our flag about.
“I’m on this side! This side must be right because I’m on it! I see that you are on that side! You must be wrong since you are not on this side!”
When you consider the possibility that the internet gods might be stirring things up, it becomes more difficult to jump into the boxing ring.
So I have a proposal for us, something I hope we will each seriously consider. The next time The Social Media Cycle (cyclone might be a more accurate term) shows up, let’s stay out of it. Let’s not let it suck us in and distract us from our real work and our true calling.
And if we notice a friend sucked into the cyclone, instead of joining them, let’s ask them to coffee… especially if that friend has drawn a line in the sand and is standing on the other side. (To be clear, ask them to coffee with the genuine desire to try and understand their heart and perspective NOT to explain to them why they are wrong for believing in something we don’t).
I hope this will be the year we ask questions first, consider there is a real possibility there are perspectives and factors of which we are not yet aware and give each other the benefit of the doubt.
Social media is great for sharing news with friends, sharing photos of our kids with grandparents, communicating pertinent info within our communities and networking with strangers.
But let’s leave the Cyclone to somebody else. Our valuable time and energy is best spent elsewhere.