Opinion: Social media can hurt

Carol Durant

BandageCarol Durant

Most of us live on social media and your age doesn't really matter. Social media provides communication for free to friends and family in close proximity or across the globe. It is entertainment for all of us via kids, cats, hair, politics or hacks. Time advances while we have gone down endless rabbit holes, mostly laughing all the way. Social media provides information. Photos, video, direct messages, instant messages that live forever or disappear from the platform; social media is a key element in our lives. It provides instant information for a friend or foe, if they follow you. If not, you can troll and find out if the person's page is open for public consumption or destruction. Depending on your seat in the spectrum, access to this information can be hurtful and upsetting.

Here's a scenario. Halloween is on Saturday. You spoke with your son and daughter-in-law early in the week because your grandchildren are scheduled to trick or treat on your street. You have cleaned, decorated and purchased their favorite candies in various sizes and have special goodie bags for them. The youngest grandchild is four and she is very excited to show you her costume, which is a secret. Your excitement is palpable and being discussed with your colleagues at work. On Thursday, you receive a phone call from your son that they are going to have to cancel the plans because the middle child has a cold. In the world in which we all reside, we do not want your grandchild to expose others to illness. Your son said they are going to stay home. You are naturally concerned and upset, but understand their plight. You tell your coworkers on Friday and they are bummed out for you. Halloween comes and you already called the grandchildren earlier and left a voicemail of encouragement. You also said if they are not too tired, they could certainly Zoom or FaceTime. The kids in the neighborhood did not disappoint. They were cute, funny and scary. They wiped out the pumpkin bowl of candy more than a few times. You are exhausted, but happy with the smiles. You clean up and go to bed. Sunday was consumed by church, the bake sale and running errands. When you finally had time to yourself, you made some coffee and heated up some leftovers. One of the ladies from church sent you an instant message, if she left her scarf in your car. You got up and checked, told her yes and that you would bring it to her on Tuesday. Finally able to sit down and eat. You check your favorite and seldom used social media platforms. Shock and upset ensues to find out that your grandchildren were trick or treating with their other grandparents. Everybody looks so happy and not sick at all. The children's costumes are new and not what you were told last week that they were going to wear. The secret is out. As the tears are rolling down your face, what are you supposed to do? The grandchild could have had a 24 hour virus. Your daughter-in-law's parents may have put together this nice event with a moment's notice. You could not tell from the pictures if it was potluck or catered. You get along with your daughter-in-law and her parents, so you not receiving an invitation was just an innocent oversight, right?

If you have been on the wrong end of this scenario, I'm sorry for your pain and suffering. Do you decide to start a family feud or remain silent and eat your feelings of sadness? If you are the rude and obnoxious host or hostess who was an impolite, insensitive throbbing pustule who caused that pain to a friend or family member, please own your misdeeds. If you are incapable of thinking of other human beings and their feelings, remove yourself from social media. Life is hard enough without you shunning human beings with pictures and videos.

People, we need to do better now.

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Writer, author, poet, playwright

Albany, NY

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