Since the election, I’ve been thinking a lot about social media. What used to be a place for connecting and sharing silly, uplifting things has become a pulpit of sorts for many of us, myself included. And that’s probably lost us followers and friends at times.
As an author building my brand, I know I shouldn’t post some of the things I do, even though I keep it on my personal page. And I’ve certainly gone against much of my family in my posts, although that is probably par for the course at this point in my life. Posting my opinion and fears made me feel better, despite possible ramifications.
Here’s why. A lot of writers (or anyone in a creative field) are highly emotional people. We live on a rollercoaster of ups and downs, and that’s sometimes DOUBLED because if we’re doing it right, we’re suffering through our character’s woes as well. My mind never stops, and it’s full of about 900 different threads. Some are work related, many are family: my parents; issues between myself and others that have me baffled and hurt; Grace’s daily stuff. At any given time, there’s a conversation going on in my head. It might be something I want to say to a family member but never can, or maybe how I’ll deal with the attorney for my parents tomorrow, or even how to help Grace work through an issue. My point is, it’s all fueled by emotion. And often fear of the unknown is right on its heels. So add in something as volatile as politics and the future of our country, and things become a powder keg.
We see so many terrible things going on, and we read way too much on FB, and we just keep absorbing and absorbing, and then we’ve got to speak.
I probably spoke too much. To all of the family members and friends I offended: I never meant to target you in anger. I never meant to say you personally are racist, anti-semitic, anti-everything but straight, white male. When I wrote those posts, I wrote them with a vary specific subset of Trump supporters in mind, but I probably generalized the posts too much. I’m sad for the divide it’s probably caused with some family members, although the gap was already very established. I’m sad for anyone I made feel badly or targeted by my posts because that’s just another form of hate and fear that so many of us are afraid of for the next four years.
I do stand by the things I said. Putting them on Facebook isn’t the answer, however, because all it does is incite arguments and push-back. Clearly, no Facebook or Twitter status ever swayed a vote. But when you run on emotion like I do, and your life is so full of personal and business responsibilities, you feel like social media is the only way you can make a difference and get your voice heard. And how can we stay silent when we see terrible things happening, and we have so much fear for our future?
Social media isn’t the answer. It’s full of targeted hate and threats. Trying to make any point on whatever platform you choose is probably going to be ignored at best.
So what can I do? I can donate to the various groups who are willing and able to protect civil rights and the environment. I can keep my eyes open in my community for hate crimes or threats, and I can educate my child that we must be tolerant of others’ opinions even if we don’t agree, but intolerant of bigotry and cruelty. I can teach her that skin color and religious preference don’t matter, and that we stand up to bullying in any form. I can set the best example I can for her and encourage her to do the same for her peers. I can tell her that even though times are scary, we are all going to be okay.
Because I have to believe that’s true.
If you want to donate time and/or money to groups fighting to protecting civil and human rights, click here.