In high school, I would have killed to have something like Twitter so I could bond with a bunch of people with similar interests, life experiences and so on. In my 4500-person small town, there was something I needed that I wasn’t receiving from the peer group I had – it was limited and stifling and I didn’t ‘fit’. I would have been online every day searching for the friends I didn’t have.
Social media though, has changed the dignity of basic human interactions – apologies and passive-aggressive messages and yearnings become public. We write vague, mysterious, emotional tweets, instagrammed quotes and Facebook statuses so everyone we know in primary, tertiary and peripheral ways will ask, “what’s wrong?” or comfort us, or hate the ones we hate. We seek validation on social media because we’ve forgotten that emotional resonance sometimes only needs to be personal, and targeted, and private, and above all, from the heart.
Something that has been important to me, and will continue to be important to me moving forward, is to keep some emotional moments and feelings private, and direct my emotions to only the person who is the target of those emotions – whether it’s love, anger, sadness, or disappointment. I haven’t been perfect at this and I’m not going to ever pretend I’ve never made mistakes. But social media is a dangerous multiple-headed beast that can only be tamed when we take a sword and cut off some of its heads.
I’ve made mistakes on social media – I’ve said too much and gone too far. It’s easy to do. It’s a comfort to us. It’s the comfort we all need – it’s the rooftop we all want to scream from. It’s the castle we want to be the king of. I’ve done and said things I can’t take back and I regret those, and I’m sorry for them and I’ve privately told the targets of my social media mistakes that I’m sorry for those as well.
I think sometimes when we’re online we need to really think about the intention of our messages, about who is reading them, and about the sincerity of every post. Especially the sincerity.