Social Media During a Pandemic
Social Media Bullies. You know them? Are you one? Have you been bullied? Maybe some may not call it bullying. I do. If you think you know more than someone, and you are willing to call them out in social media, not personally or kindly, you are a bully. Simple as that.
I am on various social media sites. I am the most active on Facebook, but I also have a Twitter account, a LinkedIn account, and an Instagram account that I have yet to figure out. I have a purpose for being on these accounts. Before I was retired, I loved being on LinkedIn. My resume is on there, and I have had numerous recruiters call me because of that. I also loved networking. I loved learning from others. I never want to be the smartest person in the room. I also want to be resourceful to others with my knowledge base. It’s all a two-way street.
My reasons for being on Facebook has a much different outlook. I love the fact that over the years, I have reconnected with old friends, I have connected with family members I barely knew, and I have connected with new acquaintances who I got to know better through this medium. I am on this site for connecting with all these folks, and for sharing my life as they share theirs.
I am very careful about what I post on my Facebook page. Very seldom will you see anything, if at all, that might be political. I have friends and family on the whole spectrum of the political thought. They have a right to think and believe what they do when it comes to politics. I may not agree with them, and I very much dislike political statements that are against a person, and jabs at their most disliked political person. Share with me your positive thoughts on why you believe something, not on who you don’t agree with. I find it distasteful, for me personally, to see disparaging comments about past and current politicians. That being said, if they post it on their personal Facebook page, I am okay with that—just don’t post it on mine.
I truly believe in the freedom of speech, so I don’t want anyone to think they cannot say what they believe. I just don’t believe in tearing people down. I definitely don’t believe anyone should ever put someone down for their beliefs.
Yes, lately, I have been told that I have partaken in the Kool-Aid. Wow! Can you believe that someone would say that on your own Facebook page? So, let me explain why that was said to me, because I do not post political things on my page.
I have a photo of me in a face mask. And true to my nature, it is a fun cupcake mask! This world has been hit with a mysterious virus, called Corona, and it is a bit scary. It has definitely been politicized, by all parties, but that is not my purpose. I am 71 years old. By what I have heard and read, I am in the vulnerable group because of my age. I don’t have any underlying medical conditions, that I am aware, but I know that I have mild sleep apnea, which means my lungs don’t work to full capacity while I am sleeping. My husband definitely has respiratory issues, so he is even more vulnerable being 74 years old, and with underlying health conditions. Does that mean we are in danger? I don’t know. There is so much going around about this virus, that I don’t have any definitive answers.
I do know personally of people who have gotten COVID-19. Not just old people, I know of teenagers who, although healthy, had a really hard time recovering and have had ongoing issues since. I have family members who know personally someone who has died from this virus. I see no reason not to be careful. It is like if I was going to a party and found out many people attending had the mumps, the flu, or some other contagious illness, I would probably excuse myself from the invitation. Why would I take the chance to get the infection, and worst case scenario, spread it to someone else. History will tell us if we over reacted or under reacted, but when one is in the middle of it all, I will make the decision to protect myself in whatever way I see fit.
Now, my postings on Facebook, in my opinion are not political. I have posted facts from the news sources of the Navajo Nation, which comprises of parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. They have been hard hit by this virus. People in the midwest have told me that my posting was the first they heard about this. Living in Arizona this winter had given me a lesson about the Indian Nations. Per capita, they were hit harder than New York City. Many homes in the Navajo Nation are scattered, but they are small and the families are large. So, if one family member gets sick, it spreads quickly to the whole family. The second problem they have is that only approximately 40% of the people living in Navajo Nation do not have running water. The first thing we were told when this outbreak occurred was to wash our hands frequently. What if you live in the desert and you don’t have running water?
I did not get all this information from the media. A friend from my Arizona church has a son who lives and ministers in the Navajo Nation. He is married to a Navajo woman, and they have three beautiful children. I spoke with him yesterday. He is so busy passing out food and cleaning supplies to the people. He stated that his job is to help the people physically and spiritually. The health department has given him names of the most vulnerable. He delivered a care package of food to a family who had not eaten for three days. The hotels in his area are now COVID-19 hospitals. Many have died and many are sick. Do not tell him, or those he lives and works with that this is a nothingburger. It is very real to them. When we drove home from Arizona a few weeks ago, we stopped along the highway near Gallup, New Mexico to buy gas. I commented to Dennis that everyone had on face masks, even outside while pumping their gas. He looked at me and said, “We are in Navajo Nation.” These people have good reason to attempt to be safe. So, I posted on my Facebook page information about what is happing in Navajo Nation because we need to be aware, and we need to be compassionate. We need to help those in need, even if you have a problem with the origins of this virus. Jesus calls us to be compassionate. He never was afraid to say a hard truth, but he was always compassionate, especially to the sick.
Back to social media. My posting about the virus is pretty much my humor plus my discomfort. Don’t we tend to joke about that which we don’t understand. I am not a big beer drinker, or any alcohol, for that matter. I don’t find it that tasty. Give me a good chocolate chip cookie instead! On occasion, I will drink an alcoholic beverage. When we arrived in Fulton last week, Dennis bought Corona beer. (That was his joke). I do not like heavy beers. If I drink a beer, it has to be pretty light. He opened his bottle of Corona Extra, and it looked light, and I took a sip. Not only was it light, it had no funky aftertaste. On Memorial Day, I grilled some brats, and I posted this photo on Facebook stating, “When Corona doesn’t let you celebrate with others.” It was a joke—a play on words because the virus has caused people to isolate. Some people did not get the joke, but my friend who did, posted this one afterward.
I posted this photo of my husband. Others have complained they haven’t had haircuts in months. I, on the other hand, not being a licensed hairdresser, own a pair of hair cutting scissors, and I am not afraid to use them—just ask friends from my youth! I have kept our hair trimmed. Dennis, during this time has grown a beard, at my prompting. So many men had quit shaving while they were sheltered-in-place, just as we women have stopped wearing a bra while sheltered in place! Ha! I let out the secret. I think the hardest thing about women having to go back to work and into society is getting used to wearing that horribly uncomfortable contraption again! In the posting of Dennis’ photo, I mentioned that I had been trimming our hair, and also his “quarantine beard.” That’s what I called it because he would have never grown a beard before, but was willing to do so as he sheltered-in-place—like who needs to shave if you aren’t going anywhere? Once again, I was accused of being duped, I assume because I used the word “quarantine.”
I don’t respond to those types of comments. My first reaction is to write back. I want to say that this person isn’t allowed to write negative comments on my Facebook thread. They can write whatever they want on theirs. But, I always stop myself. I am not on Facebook to argue with someone. Actually, I have always really liked this person. These comments sent directly at me are hurtful. If they are really inflammatory, I will delete it from the thread. I can delete any statement someone makes on the my Facebook page. I can also delete something I say on someone else’s. So if you have accidentally, out of frustration, posted something you regret on someone’s thread, you can go delete your statement. I have typed many responses, then read them, and then deleted them. I am not on Facebook for political or any other arguments. If you want to dialog with me, send me a private message. I might respond to that.
Of all the subjects that one gets riled up on social media, the only one I will ever mention is the one about my faith. Why? Because my faith is the most single important thing to me. What I will not do is give someone my faith opinion on their page, or argue with them. I am a Christ follower. I believe my faith in Christ has given me purpose and peace like nothing else in my life has done. I am willing to share that with anyone — if they ask. I will not argue my faith v. their faith on social media, or anywhere else. I will share what I believe, and I will listen to what they believe. I will love them regardless of what they believe, even if I don’t agree with them.
Sometimes I think people make these angry responses on social media because they don’t know where to take their frustration. I learned a long time ago in my 12-step group for codependency that I cannot change anyone. It is also not my job to get in their face to change them. Have you heard the phrase, “Let go, and let God”? That is from 12-step groups. When we try to fix others, we only get frustrated and can easily fall back into our dysfunction (codependency, alcohol, drugs, eating disorder, or whatever the dysfunction). Even a 12-step group knows that only God has the ability to change someone. Not us. So, stop trying to make yourself miserable trying to fix other people.
Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
What does that mean? Well, it’s so easy to see what others are doing wrong. We want to point out their wrongdoings, and forget that we may not even have a “speck” in our eye, but a “log.” Jesus says that criticizing others is hypocritical. By the way, we all have a log in our eye. None of us are perfect. What right do we have to judge other people? I do believe that we can have a conversation about what we believe, but to call people names, to diminish them as a person, is uncalled for. Doing this will not win anyone over. If so, it is done only out of fear—fear that they don’t want further criticism from the accuser, or fear that everyone thinks like this accuser. People change only when they are uncomfortable. They don’t change because they are told to change — and only God can move them to want to change.
I have only deleted a few “friends” on Facebook. The people I deleted actually posted on their own page, but it was so hurtful, I chose not to be connected with them. One posted that if you believed a certain way on a particular issue, you were a terrible person, and that they could not like you, or respect you, or want anything to do with with you. Well, I happened to be one of those people who believed what they despised. I unfriended them, because their acceptance of me felt hypocritical.
This blog is my safe place to express my opinions. It is not my Facebook page, which has every type of person and every belief of my friends and family. I want to know what your kids and grandkids are doing. I want to know how you celebrate life, and how you suffer through hardships. I already know what I believe about my faith and about politics, so don’t try to convince me on social media. You want to talk to me about a concern, then Talk. To. Me. This can be in person, on the phone, email or text message. In the meantime, let me find a fun photo to post to my friends on Facebook.