Almost a year ago, I completely went off Facebook.
That might sound a touch odd coming out of my social media-laden mouth considering that’s basically what I do for a living — you know, help people build their online presence — via, you know, social media. Don’t worry, God, I’m laughing right now, too. Thanks.
I could blame it on the election and all of the polarity I witnessed on my Facebook. It seemed as though every time I went on social media I “walked” away from it completely drained and simultaneously charged to defend something. Anything. Like, “Yes I can eat eggs for breakfast and not have a green smoothie! Watch me.” *Pours Cholula all over her eggs and devours them*
I got all ballsy and decided to back the hell up from Facebook. Which was a great idea at the time, but I kinda have a Facebook Page and I also kinda dig some groups I’m in and oh yeah, I run Facebook Pages for my clients — HELLO! And that Facebook Fella Mr. Z has this thing where you have to have a personal profile to do anything on FB, so I felt stuck. Dammit.
Then I went all, “I’ll show you” and found out I could delete 99% of my friends and family (I was feeling ruthless) and keep only my husband and clients as my “friends” on my personal FB — and still be able to do my “work” via pages, groups.
So, that’s what I did.
Now, I know that that was a drastic decision, many people told me I could’ve “unfollowed” people, but I really didn’t want to do that. And well, I’m pretty Capricorn and dig black and white, so it felt damn liberating to go on a deleting spree.
The Use of the Public Bullhorn
A few months ago, I decided I was ready to spend a little bit more time on my personal FB. Play with it, you know, add a family member or two back into my online world (I was feeling generous, what can I say).
And then I witnessed a video that was shared, that somehow popped up on my feed, that was twice removed from my 4th cousin, that made me feel, well, sad in my heart.
Apparently, someone witnessed (via their cell phone camera) a restaurant kitchen mishap that they deemed worthy of public airing and so, that’s exactly what they did: called out a small business on Facebook via video. Comments flooded in wanting to basically lynch this business and hang them out to dry. Now, I’m not sure if that person ever actually spoke to the owner of this business, or had a conversation BEFORE feeling compelled to share this on the Internet, but daaaaaaaay-um, I felt my empathic heart break.
When did it become the norm to call people and companies out publicly?
When did the lines blur between a complaint and talking mano-e-mano to someone about it (aka, the person and/or business) over spewing out a 140-character tweet of “WTF!!!!!” (with a bazillion exclamation points), or a Facebook video showing a small business do something that perhaps big businesses do every day, but damn that small business is going to suffer more.
When did we start believing that using our camera’s as leverage was our smoking gun?
When did we start believing in using the power of tweets and videos over having a conversation with someone you have an issue with?
We hide behind keyboards and feel strong as we type.
We hunker down in our bedrooms and co-working spaces and send out messages.
We believe we are moving society forward in this digital world.
What if our first reaction isn’t to press publish, but instead call the person, call the business — have a human interaction?
I know that some customer service blows at times and sometimes just “talking” to the owner, etc. isn’t solving issues. I get that.
But, can’t we at least start there? Make the phone call. Ask to talk to the manager. Take into consideration someone having a bad day?
What if we started with person first, public-blast last?
I will drink my tea today in major hope of a world where we still interact on a human level and not allow the publish button to be our master or savior.
Love + Digital Sanity, Please,