Striking a positive chord on social media

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Last weekend was a doozy. But in a really great way.

My social media feeds filled with posts of young people graduating from college and nearly every post I saw Sunday night was an homage to someone’s mother.

I’ve read that social media isn’t necessarily a true representation of people’s lives. And, I suspect for the most part that’s probably true. You’ll never see, for instance, gripes on my social media about bad things that happen – except maybe for the occasional burned supper picture. But my real gripes and problems never reach social media. I see posts from other people who seem to post nothing but negative comments. I find it hard to believe their lives are really that void of joy.

But last weekend, was all about joy. I revel in seeing the successes of my friends’ children as they cross the stage and collect a diploma. I like to see how they celebrate the end of a school year, even if they aren’t graduating.

And, I enjoy the thankfulness people express to their mothers on Mother’s Day. There are precious few things we can all say we have, but a mother is one of them. Next month, we’ll have a similar run of social media posts as young people graduate from high school and people remember the efforts of their fathers to help raise them.

Maybe I’m getting old and crotchety, but I tire of the endless parade of social media posts knocking one group of people or a controversial politician or whatever the post writer feel like criticizing on a given day.

I’d much rather see a photograph of people having fun while they volunteer in their community. I’d much rather see a video of something cute the family pet did. I’d much rather see a parent heaping praise on their child for some accomplishment the child achieved. Those kinds of social media posts make me smile and they make me feel good. Generally speaking, I think most of us would rather feel good than to wallow in self-pity because of some perceived injustice.

Now, to be sure, I’m a free-speech advocate. I wouldn’t curb someone’s right to say what they think. That’s the primary reason I don’t block or unfriend people who regularly post negative comments. But it is interesting to see how regularly I scroll right past their comments without slowing down when I see their name. That’s largely because I know what I’m likely to read and I don’t want to be pulled down into that morass.

And, for many, social media has become the place to heap praise upon, or criticize politicians and political candidates. But there should be a buyer beware notice attached to everyone of those posts. While journalists are trained to keep their biases limited to the opinion page, social media has no such moral compass. It’s a bit like the wild west, especially in campaign season and, in a more modern-day comparison, it’s a lot like the steady stream of campaign commercials that fill the airwaves as elections draw closer. I can do without that.

I’d much rather see praise heaped upon those who deserve it.

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