A Modern Day Show and Tell

Do you remember being a young child in preschool sitting in a circle on the rug "criss cross applesauce" style for Show and Tell? You brought something that meant the world to you to show your classmates. They would ooh and ahh over your item and some would ask you questions. In that moment you were so proud. Social media is very much like the grown up version of Show and Tell. We post pictures or status updates of our accomplishments, vacations, new homes, or things we find humorous. We are proud of our families and all that we have worked for but something happened this weekend that led a few of my friends and family to have a long conversation about the pros and cons of social media. I won't get into specific details but it was the cause of this post.

Whether you enjoy it or not, social media really has invaded the fabric how we live our lives.Parents and children now text instead of call one another when they want to communicate quickly. Some of my friends prefer messaging versus talking on the phone. If their phone rings while we're out, they look almost frightened to answer it because it's not the familiar ping of a text message. Long gone are the days of phone cords stretched across a room or telling someone that you are unreachable. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc have become innovative ways of sharing what is going on in one's life instantaneously. Information can easily be shared with friends and family anywhere in the world. In this process of modern communication, the word "friend" has become muddled.We all have friends but I know people that have FB friend lists that number over 2,000. Is it possible to have 2,000 friends? If you do, bravo! I personally would have trouble remembering everyone's name and how I know them.

My conversation with friends and family this weekend centered around how users of social media have lost their manners or have gotten pretty mean. Age doesn't seem to discriminate. Women I know have been reduced to tears when they see pictures of their friends enjoying a girls night out but somehow their invitation was forgotten. Sadly, similar situations are happening to our children. People who know me will tell you that I am one of those social media users who tries to "like" or comment on many of my FB friends' posts. Of course I cannot possibly do this for every post, but for achievements and big moments, I make sure to react in some way. Why? If that person you are "friends" with took the time to post something about a promotion, graduation, vacation, marathon, scout bridging ceremony, etc, it means that they want to share that event with their "friends." They want to know that you saw that important moment in their life.

Yes, we all know people who overshare or brag, but takes less than one second to hit a "like" button and to let them know that you are happy for them, and if they truly are your "friend" shouldn't you be happy for them? Think about it, if you had seen your friend face-to-face and they had told you about buying a new house, I doubt that you would walk away and ignore them. Of course not! You would take the time to congratulate them on their achievement. In general I feel that we need to spread more joy in person and online. We need to be happy for others. We need to be inclusive. We need to teach our children that someone else's success or achievement doesn't diminish their own abilities or potential. If you're going to take time out to be on social media then be the cheering section for your friends and family because as the old saying goes, there really is enough sunshine to go around. ~HZM

Photo: woodleywonderworks - https://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/2850669383

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