How Real are Your Social Media Friends?
Last week I posted on social media on my Facebook account that I needed to change the people I hung out with.
I was not pointing fingers or making accusations, yet some got very defensive. I received comments and direct messages of concern and anxiety. People wondering if they had done something or if I was okay.
Granted it was nice to see the people who genuinely cared for my well-being. Even more, it was interesting to see those that didn’t bother to comment either way. I am not judging a fleeting moment on social media to gauge my friendships, neither should you. Friends on social media are usually taken at face value, for we don’t have much else to go on. However they many times will behave more like your friends than your real ones.
This little exercise accomplished a few things for me. What was merely a simple statement of fact of where my head and heart was at, also perhaps provided some insight into relationships and social media?
- Social Media is Surface Level – We get so wrapped up in the statuses, feeds and 140 character snippets of people’s’ lives we forget to create relationships with the people. Glued to our smartphones, we would likely not even recognize the person outside of the avatar small square, much less in real life.
- People are easily offended – Ever type an email or text message that was taken out of context? The Same thing can happen in social media. Beyond silly emoticons, there is no expression. The words are simply letters on the screen. It is up to the reader to determine what the person ‘really’ meant.
- We overshare – When is the last time you walked up to your best friend and said, “I had the best grilled cheese with micro greens and a sweet Asian dressing, and my dog died. I hate the people I work with. I love the new Taylor Swift song, and I read this great book you should read it. I love this new selfie, what do you think?” All in one breath? Then why do we focus on their status rather than the person behind the status on the page?
- What if your curmudgeon went viral? – People tend to vent, especially when they are having a bad day. Imagine the impact you could have in one post written just the right way. You might think, well rarely does anyone ‘like’ what I write much less share it. But I say ‘what if?’ Not only would the moody behavior be shared to your friends, but to their friends, and their friends and so on. Pretty soon dozens, hundreds perhaps thousands share in your sour mood.
- People that matter will care – In the world of social media, you have friends, followers, etc. At the end of the day, you like many can likely count your real friends on a couple of hands and perhaps your feet. What I am trying to say is those that are your genuine friends will know you for you. They will find out when you say something, what you mean. They will be the ones that will notice if you stop posting or your mood changes. All the rest, albeit entertaining are friends on the internet and not in real life.
I am sure even when some people read this they might be apt to think it might be about them. Sometimes people just say what is on their heart, and it is as simple as that. Those that are real friends will understand, and might even think about sharing this post with their “friends.” Others will likely not give it much thought, or perhaps too much. Either way, it is the time that I change the people I hang out with, it is up to you if you care to join me.
About Charles Johnston
Charles is a Christian, husband and father of fur-kids who shares his walk with others in hopes to help other's along the way.