I do, admittedly too much, scrolling through social media here lately. In its many incantations, social media holds too much potential for hidden or not so hidden, issues. To be safe emotionally and physically means taking great care in how you interact with others and what they share. A creation that was expressed as something that would bring us closer together, instead is doing a greater job of tearing us apart. A dragon bent on destruction and division, and many are joyfully feeding the beast.
For myself, I am careful in the friend requests I accept. My original intent for joining this particular social media back in the beginning, was to build a network so I accepted almost all requests and made countless requests on my own. As education and experience was gained, the methods of acceptance changed. When I receive a request, I check to see if we are already friends. Too often friends are hacked and the hacker sends out requests in their name. I check to see how many friends we have in common and if I actually know any of them in reality. I scroll down their page and see what they have shared and if we hold anything in common. It is no longer a numbers game, numbers mean nothing without some form of interaction. While my social media page shows a large number of so called friends, very few of those do I actually hear from or see in any way. Part of that may be due to the algorithms, part of it may be due to people not being active, and part may be that some of those folks also simply wanted the numbers.
I am very careful in what I share. Especially in where I live. Yes, I know it can be found through various measures, but let those with any intent work for that information. Opinions though, of which everyone has, is often more difficult to censor. And yes, I do often feel as if I am censoring myself but I do so in a sense of preventing feeding the beast and in further worsening the divide that is ever growing between us. I do not fully hide my thoughts, I am merely careful in their presentation. Because… the beast.
The beast of social media is more often than not angry. It feeds on ugliness and misinformation. The beast lurks in the shadows, waiting and actually anticipating the comments and opinions that differ. Waiting to pounce and feed the fires of division. Not unlike the alien form in the original Star Trek’s Day of the Dove episode https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0708427/ . This entity fed on anger and dissent. This being would grow obese quickly from one day spent on some social media interactions.
My social media has from day one been a page for calm, I will not deal with arrogance and upheaval. We can discuss in rational manner, or the welcome mat is retracted. I have no issues with differences and discussions. It is how we learn and grow. It is how we come together to improve knowledge and create and build the bridges that cross the divide and bring about understanding and answers. That bring together not divide, that build not destroy, that show beauty not ugliness, that create peace and compassion not confrontation and hurt.
The dragon has many spawn running rampant seeking to add to the confusion and division. They plant ways to steal then sending out messages in attempts to snare the unwary. The curious and naive who in innocent ignorance take the bait and are reeled in creating an ever widening ripple of harm. There are those waiting in the shadows for the foolish to come along and comment on a thread even though possibly knowing not to do so. Hearing in the back of their mind rationality shouting no. Within moments comments appear from the digital sirens, seeking to lure the victim into dangerous waters. I recently made that error in judgement. I left a three sentence comment to a post with thousands of comments. I would normally avoid those but this one, I did not. Within seconds, there were responses, along with the warnings from others of the traps being laid before me. I quickly deleted my comment and walked away.
It is too easy for the lonely, the widowed, the one hurting from broken relationships, the bullied, the ones dealing with emotional issues of any sort, to fall prey to the darkness that lurks within the virtual worlds. The innocent thinking they have found a real friend, thinking they have found genuine love, only to be deceived. Those thinking they are helping another in need, only to be fooled and stripped of everything.
Social media is not all bad. It does have many good sides and strengths. One has to be careful as they traverse the maze, keeping ever watchful of what may hide in the corners and shadows. I have seen good things happen. I have seen people helped when in need. I have seen events take place with more success in part due to being shared on social media. I have seen lives saved in various ways. I have been able to read great works of poetry and prose, seen digital renditions of paintings, quilting, photographs that actually stun the senses. I have made friends and witnessed friends making friends, but also been witness to the loss of friends.
Social media in any of its various forms or sites, is not the magic mountain it was claimed to be, but neither is it fully the monster it could become. And this is why, I am careful and attentive. I am appreciative of the good, and of the knowledge learned from the not so good. And what I hope others will be as well.