We live in a digital age where our feelings are out there online. Most people I know are on Facebook and/or Twitter. Some of them I’ve met in “real life” while others I’ve only known from the Internet. I value and treasure all my friendships, but I’m wondering how awesome social media is these days. Recently, two close friends of mine deactivated their Facebook accounts. They each told me how much healthier they felt after doing this. They weren’t bragging or shaming me for having an active social media presence. But rather, they were saying that they felt relieved from not having the influx of information that Facebook provides. Another thing that is terrible about Facebook is that many people pretend to be happy on it. This drives me crazy. If you’re not happy, why you are lying about it? Wouldn’t it be better to just not say anything at all?

I suppose it’s about public perception. You want to appear a certain way and so you put that out into the world. And you never know, right? This person could be talking in online therapy about how awful their life is. We have no idea what happens off the Internet, nor do we need to know for that matter. That’s the ridiculous thing about the Internet, we know too much about people. I am guilty of over-sharing both online and in “real life.” Ya know because online isn’t actually “real.” That’s something I disagree with too. It’s not unreal or surreal to interact with people online. They are real human beings with feelings. People forget that sometimes and become keyboard warriors, meaning that they don’t consider other people’s feelings. They just say whatever comes into their heads and don’t think about the consequences of their actions. To me, that’s sad. You wouldn’t behave that way in person, and some of the things that people have “said” to me online are mind-boggling. It’s like sitting behind the screen gives people the courage to say the meanest things! It’s hard for me to understand because I consider myself to be a kind and respectful human being.

I respect you, and you respect me. And if you feel that I’m not respecting you, tell me IN A RESPECTFUL WAY, whether that’s online or in person. It’s inevitable that we’re going to hurt each other’s feelings. It’s not fun or ideal, but it’s the reality of life. What can you do about this? Apologize. That’s it. If you hurt someone and they make that known apologize. This is not exclusive to in-person interactions. You can absolutely hurt people online and when you do it, apologize to them. It’s the right thing to do. Put on your empathy hat and let them know you’re sorry.

I haven’t decided if I want to take a break from Facebook or not. It’s kind of impossible for me to do because I work in social media. But man, sometimes I want to throw my computer out the window. I think we all feel like that sometimes. How about you? Does social media help or hurt you?