Month: July 2013

Social Media…AKA "Electronic Courage"…

I’ll take Facebook straight up with a twist…

Because Facebook has essentially given people the nerve they need to say things that they would never say in person.  It removes the higher thinking involved and people are very easily swept away in “group think” and the safety of the computer as the middle man. 

I only have experience with Facebook.  I have a Twitter account, but have never used it.  I can’t seem to limit myself to 140 characters.  In the past week alone, I have had two personal experiences with posts that have made me think “there are some angry people in the world”.  I don’t know that that was ever the intention of Facebook.  In one situation, an individual posted something I found highly offensive.  It displayed a graphic image-a picture of something that I found to be on the “highly sensitive” side of things and probably not something that needed to make the rounds of the world-wide web.  Of course we all know that terrible things occur every day in life (PS-I see A LOT of them as a nurse).  Somehow, I just don’t think it does society any good to be inundated day after day with horrific details and images of the sadder parts of life.  When I commented on the person’s post and stated how much the image bothered ME (and I’m sure a few other million people), I received an ignorant reply from someone in cyber space who wanted to meet me by the bike racks after school to have at ‘er.  Hmmm…counselling anyone?

The second instance occurred as I was reading comments to a friend’s post.  A seemingly innocent statement garnered some pretty “charged” responses from one individual who had taken some sort of offence to something.  It was something like this:

Post-“Read about that terrible property damage in the news.  Who could have done this?”

Comment-“Are you calling me a criminal?  What do you think I am-a one woman wrecking machine?  I suppose you want me thrown in jail?”

Post (in response)-“Um…no.  Did you take your pills today?”

These “instant” communications enable people to talk before they think.  Technology in general has taken most of the thinking out of today’s society anyway.  What little brain power is left is being lost because the keyboard is just to easy to use. 

That being said, I do think that FB can certainly be used for the power of good instead of evil.  I am (generally) keen on knowing people’s thoughts-what they find interesting, what good news is happening in their life.  I also think that it allows connections to be made that otherwise could be hindered by distance.  Who doesn’t love seeing photos of a friend’s trip, or a quote they find inspiring?  Why are people so hell-bent on immersing themselves in the negative?  Why do we want to self-destruct?  Face it…that’s what we’re doing to our society.  Little by little, human kindness is eroding.  We assume the worst-we operate from fear.  And if you look at some of my earlier blogs-I know what I’m speaking of. 

Social media would be such a fabulous tool if we could use it with the same rationale we use when having personal interactions.  If you wouldn’t pull out a picture of animals being tortured in a circus somewhere, don’t post a picture of it on Facebook and expect people to react kindly.  If someone makes a comment that you disagree with, do so with the same integrity you would if you were to disagree face to face.  I lump texting into the same category.  Typing words into a cell phone does not give you a “no holds barred” pass in the conversation.  Sadly, because of the permanence of the message, it allows people to sit and fester over it because it remains on the screen long after the conversation has ended. 

It’s easy to forget that between 60-90% of all communication is non-verbal.  That does not make for enticing odds. 

The George In My Head…

I loved Seinfeld for many reasons…still enjoy the re-runs, my “Ultimate Seinfeld DVD Collection” and drinking from my Vandelay Industries travel coffee mug.  George Constanza is my hero-probably for many of the same reasons I admire Fran Lebowitz so much.  Two people who say whatever they’re thinking…no holds barred.  Although the rational part of my brain understands that one simply cannot go through life without censoring themselves, there are times when I notice that the “George” in my head is almost too hard to ignore.  In fact, lately, he has almost taken on a life of his own.  Here are some recent examples of situations I have encountered where George has been on the verge of breaking through. 

1.  At the dentist for the third part of a “simple” root canal. 

Dentist:  I don’t understand why you’re still having pain…you shouldn’t be. 
Amanda: I know…funny isn’t it?
George:  I SHOULDN’T be???  What do you mean, I SHOULDN’T be?  Are you calling me a liar?  How about you just shut up and fix it?

2. On returning to work from having my third baby.

Co-Worker:  Wow…you’re back from maternity leave early aren’t you? Probably needed a break.  Must be nice to be back to work isn’t it?
Amanda: Yes…it is nice.
George:  Yeah…it’s just great!  Love leaving my infant at home to come here to work like a dog for 12 hours. 

3.  Oldest daughter eats several of the items I had been saving to pack for my work lunches.

Daughter: I didn’t know that you were saving that Mom.  Thought it was for anyone to eat.
Amanda:  No worries-I can get more at the grocery store.
George:  You do realize that I work 12 hour shifts and was wasting away to nothing by the end of it?  I gave birth to you and this is how you treat me-take away the only form of nourishment I had available?

4.  Calling to book an appointment with no availability for the next month.

Receptionist:  So sorry about this-(blank) is on vacation for the next several weeks.  I can’t fit you in until the end of August.
Amanda:  No problem.  I can wait.
George:  Vacation?  Oh yeah…that’s just fine.  Maybe by the time (blank) decides to come back to work my spine will be protruding out my hip.

5.  Small talk during a recent appointment.

Assistant:  I had both of my children naturally.  Can’t believe that anyone would ever choose drugs during labor. 
Amanda:  Wow…good for you!  That is certainly an accomplishment!
George:  So where’s your medal?  Oh…what’s that?  You didn’t get one?  Didn’t think so.

6.  Taking slightly overweight dog to the groomer.

Groomer:  Oh my Lord!  He’s put on a few!  “Chuckie-you’re getting fat buddy!”
Amanda:  Well, I have been trying to walk him more.
George:  Fat?  When was the last time you looked in the mirror Jennifer Aniston?  Don’t know if you noticed the three kids here, but…um…yeah…I’m a little busy.  And don’t you know that fur is deceiving?

Ironically, I struggle with saying what I really think most times-even though the voice of George is readily available.  My filter is not only on, it is functioning at peak levels.  So much so that I will often fester about things unnecessarily when it would be very simple to politely say something.  We all have these moments though-the key is finding the balance between George and Amanda.