Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Social Media Stress and the Take Down


Apparently, that’s a thing. And it’s not funny.

Social Media Stress, not to be confused with Social Media Phobia, is what happens when you live your real life on social media. It causes some to compare their lives unfavorably to the glowing images streaming through the feed.

But there is a darker more noxious aspect to this stress-- The Take Down.

And so I watched one Facebook friend whom I know in real life disappear from the virtual space because of a barrage of attack-comments, something I later learned is called a “take down” campaign. This particular friendly acquaintance shared many family events and relatives' successful milestones on social media. Something in the life of one of her nearest has rubbed someone wrong, very wrong. Then came the attack dogs, mostly under pseudonyms, and now none of us can see her anymore.
The stress was too much.


The Scarlet Letter, a book taught in English lit classes to the young as a cautionary tale of a society gone hysterically wrong, has had the opposite effect. Young’uns have taken to social media to shame and hang a label when politics or social stance or even a less than thoughtful comment somewhere don’t align with their own. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s 1850’s novel lives on, not as a record of what we don’t do anymore, but as blueprint of how it was done back then before we had better tools.



I’m sad. Especially when the shamers carry the flag of diversity and inclusion. I guess tolerance does not apply to people who don’t think like them. I once knew a vegetarian who said he was ready to kill people who ate meat. No kidding. Totalitarian Liberals fall under the same flag, and with them, we’re all taken down.


This is my plea for real diversity: race, religion, identity, sexual preference, and varied political affiliation. All are welcome in my life.


And if I ever am called on such on social media, I hope I can manage the stress. Probably not. But then, you wouldn’t know because I will cease to be here.



9 comments:

  1. Great post! Yes, ALL are welcome!

    I have become paranoid about sharing thoughts online, after getting clobbered by a group of women who twisted my comment into something else entirely. I had gently pushed back when a writer I admire rated her attractiveness with a number from 1-10, the way boys did back in my middle school days. I thought I was being supportive in saying we shouldn't rate our looks, we are beautiful and worthy regardless of our size or other physical attributes, and I thought I was coming across in a sisterly way, but it turned into a race issue to the other women in the thread. They quickly informed me that I had no right to chime in, because of my extreme privilege and lack of understanding, and the whole experience shook me. Now I'm less interactive, which is the opposite of my friendly goal to connect. I haven't given up, but for self protection I am now more careful, and less open and transparent. Hard to build genuine friendships when there's so much anxiety about communication!

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    1. A touchy position for writers, who live on articulation of thought and strive to dig below the surface breeze.
      My personal take is that moderation in all things usually corresponds to wisdom. But mederation is not a draw on social media.

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  2. Great post! Yes, ALL are welcome!

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  3. How awful, Mirka. I am subjected to it from time to time as well but thank goodness I'm not considered important enough to attack...perfect for a Trojan horse, no?

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    1. I suppose there are some advantages to not being important enough :)

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  4. Social media can be a huge source of anxiety. Both for attacks like what you mentioned and for comparing your life to others. It breeds discontent. I do it only as much as necessary to keep a presence but not get too tangled in it.

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  5. Good post, Mirka. As you know, I do very little on social media. The amount of intolerance and ugliness just does not appeal to me. And I've noted for years (not just on social media, but in real life also) that those who wave the tolerance flag are often very intolerant themselves of those who don't see things just the way they do.

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  6. This makes me so sad. People need to remember to be kind to others.

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  7. Social media can be very toxic espically when you have people who are so strong in "their way is the only right way" views. It makes me sad to see people out right shaming others, and attacking them. I know I have very different view points from some of my family and there have been times that on a post they don't agree with they've come out with their teeth bared. I love how you compare it to The Scarlet Letter, and now that you say that, it's true, how quickly a rumor can spread now a day, how quickly people are ready to attack. I know a few of my friends have gone on "friend purges" where they delete/unfollow/unfriend those who they aren't close with or they feel are toxic and causing unnecessary stress.

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