If I've ever wanted to quit social media, it is now.
I have about 750 friends on FB, and most of the time I REALLY like all the different posts. There are definitely certain categories of posts that can be emotional triggers, depending on what I'm going through at the moment. But for all the chuckles and uplifting posts and fun photos, I don't mind one or two that are hard to read.
Lately, though...the negativity is winning. It has just seemed so...passive-aggressive lately, or something. I wonder if that's true or if I'm just in a phase where I'm sensitive to things like that.
A lot of times, the standard procedure is to post a quote, image, or link to an article that reflects the person's viewpoint. And it makes sense when what you want to say has already been wrapped up nice and tidy by someone else. But for someone reason this is where that passive-aggressive vibe comes into play for me.
A few months ago, it was Planned Parenthood. There were videos surfacing, with Christians speaking out against killing babies, while PP supporters accused critics of wanting women to suffer without cancer screening, Ob/Gyn care, etc (not to mention birth control and abortion). I had friends on either side who were equally passionate. And yes, many changed their profile pictures to reflect their views, which meant that I thought about the issue whenever their names came up in my newsfeed.
At the same time, many were mourning the plight of refugees, and a lot of posts came up about that.
Oh, and the CUPS. Starbucks cups generated this year's annual Christmas cheer controversy. EVERYONE had to comment on it. I literally thought the FB world had gone mad.
Usually after the first round, the "Christian" response pops up in the form of blog posts that tell us what we should do, sometimes in the form of a letter "to the abused," "to the mother who had an abortion," etc.
Just a few weeks ago, we were mourning a Russian plane crash. I shared about it here because I live in St. Petersburg and wanted to provide a little local perspective as well as share what I've read in Russian with my English-speaking readers.
And then there was Paris. So fresh, but the internet attention has already soured. The first wave of sincere, heartfelt posts were beautiful. Then it became a "trend," and then once more the blog posts and more "original" content had to have their few minutes, and then the others decided that there must be an alternate view, and surely we can find a bone to pick even with pure, innocent grieving. How can you compare types of loss? It is unfathomable to me. But I am truly sorry for any tragedy that hasn't received as much fame as it should have. I wonder, do we even have a moral obligation to recognize tragedy and express grief publicly? What if the presidents didn't say anything? I guess that wouldn't be too good.
It's interesting sometimes to see which arguments are exclusive among Andrei's (Russian-speaking) FB friends, and which are more common with mine. For example, Russians may feel more strongly about the attention Paris got in comparison to St. Petersburg after the plane crash. I've seen some of those comments among Russian-speakers. That leads to a kind of anti-West sentiment.
Also in Russian news (and particularly St. Petersburg) recently was a heartbreaking case in which a Tajik family (without the proper papers) was brought in to immigration authorities, and separated from their infant son who then died. So some of the same border control issues are in hot debate here as well. But as I've probably mentioned before, the Russian internet is refreshingly devoid of many of the scandals that can make Americans rabid.
It feels a little more refreshing to get this out here than to be bombarded by FB posts for once. But my heart still feels very heavy, not only about the news themselves but about the way in which people respond. I just need it to be a little bit more quiet and respectful. As I wish for people to filter their reactions more, I answer myself: but what a gift to have free speech. And that's true, too. So there are always different sides to consider, but sometimes it's time to just stop, or keep your thoughts private.