There aren’t many guarantees in life, but I guarantee that if you forward one of those annoying things to me on social media “daring” me to forward or re-post it, that won’t be happening.
It’s not because I hate veterans, or flags, or apple pie, or mothers, or whatever inane clickbait you are peddling.
I might actually agree with whatever message you are propagating.
It’s also not because I don’t have the “guts” or the courage to post my values publicly.
The thing is, I’m perfectly capable of formulating my own thoughts and posting my own messages if I choose to do so.
There is zero chance that I am going to be bullied into re-posting someone else’s message just because someone said if I don’t, it means I don’t believe in the cause, whatever that happens to be.
If I see something that makes me laugh, or think, or seems like something my friends would enjoy, I just might share, forward, or “like” it.
But, if you’re thinking of suggesting that anyone who doesn’t share or re-post a message is an enemy, you may be right. I’m not going to play that game.
And that is a guarantee.
If you are looking for sheep who will blindly follow the flock because they want to fit in, or because they’re afraid of the consequences if they don’t play along, you might as well look somewhere else.
I’ve been thinking for myself for a long time, and I don’t intend to change now.
Social media has an opportunity to provide a forum for a thoughtful exchange of diverse ideas, but sadly, it rarely ascends to that level.
Instead, it seems to descend to a “you’re either with us or against us” mentality, where the motivation seems to be finding ways to divide people, rather than looking for opportunities to bring people together.
There are more things that we all have in common than there are differences between us, but one might not know that from observing social media.
That is unfortunate.
At a time when we have more ways to communicate then we ever have before, it is a tragedy that so many people feel isolated and marginalized.
If we talk to another person face-to-face, we are likely to learn something about them.
If we get to know others, it is likely to encourage compassion and understanding.
I’m happy to read about people’s thoughts, dreams, concerns, or what is going on in their lives.
Too often, though, instead of sharing parts of themselves, people seem compelled to share a collection of banal badges or generalizations on social media.
Instead of empathy, we get stereotypes. Instead of understanding, we get intolerance. Instead of fellowship, we get isolation.
We are missing some valuable opportunities.