On communicating through social media

We have all heard it: what you say in your social media posts reflects on you. It paints a picture of who you are, and that picture is usually a close but not quite the picture of who you really are. Your kids aren’t always that cute. You probably exaggerate a bit. Or a lot. But what you share on a regular basis tends to do well at showing the world what you are like, what you believe in, and how you interact with other people.

There are currently a bunch of “memes” out there that boil my blood. For whatever reason; it doesn’t matter. They usually have a photo with a statement to go with the photo and have to do with politics or education or business, and they get shared on Facebook or LinkedIn with little to no commentary from the (re)-poster. After I see them nine or ten times, one poor soul gets the brunt of my anger, and I respond, tearing apart the argument that the meme is trying to make.

meme 
noun
an element of a culture or system of behavior that may be considered to be passed from one individual to another by non genetic means, especially imitation. - a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc, that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.
While we’re at it, the word “meme” has been around since the 1970s; see definition above. The term became “meme” as opposed to “gene.”

Almost invariably, that person will answer “well I only agree with one tiny part of the statement, not the whole thing.”

My answer to that is, “if it means so much to you, write your own meme, or your own post, and say what you mean, but stop sharing this piece of idiocy if you don’t actually agree with it, because by sharing it, it makes everyone think you believe it.

And that’s the gist, isn’t it? Whatever you are sharing, you had better agree with, because people will think you do. It has become more important than ever in this electronic world to say what you mean on social media, because what you share is attached to your name and your photo, possibly forever.

Image of Abe Lincoln. Below: "I believe the biggest threat to the union will be the people who make up meme quotes about me that I never said"
Abe Lincoln is disappointed right now

I know that some of my readers already know this; it’s old hat. But I’m also certain that you know others who need to read it. Communication is different now than it was twenty years ago, or even ten years ago. In the days of LiveJournal, the online version of yourself could have been something of an alter-ego. In the days of Facebook and Twitter, it cannot. People see what you post and attribute it to you.

All I ask is that you look twice, maybe three times, before you click “share,” and decide if what you are sharing is what you actually believe.

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