Sunday Smiles – Connections

There are days when the internet makes me twitchy.  I log on to Facebook to be met head on with a barrage of negativity.  This candidate is a hate monger.  That candidate is a criminal.  I see “friends” tearing one another apart with snide comments, all because they sit on different sides of the political fence.  I read post after post disparaging this group or that, this thing or that.  Cops suck, the weather sucks, the traffic sucks, this restaurant sucks, work sucks…everything just sucks.

I “unfollow” a few political pages (I could have sworn I had removed them all).  I hit the “hide post” option multiple times as I scroll through my newsfeed.  I am almost thankful to come across a few cute cat memes.  I “like” a picture of an idyllic beach in Aruba.

I scroll a bit further, sigh a discouraged sigh, and prepare to log off.  But wait, what’s this?  Could it be?  An uplifting post?  Yes!  I click happily on a story about a former classmate’s 11-year-old son reporting on the NCAA Tournament for Sports Illustrated Kids.  I read with delight about one of the coaches taking the time to applaud this young man for his thoughtful question.  (You can view more about this here.)

Feeling hopeful, I read some other posts.  Oh look, a friend received good news on a medical issue.  Another friend just finished her first half marathon.  Yet another is celebrating buying a new home.  Yay! Here it is!  The good stuff!

Now it comes back to me, and I remember why I still log on to Facebook every day.  I do it not to learn the political leanings of friends and family.  I do it so that I can hear the news of their lives.  I continue to scroll and read in order to tie the past in with the present.  I put up with the negative aspects to reap the benefits of the positive ones.

I return again and again because of the connections.  We can cross the miles, cross the years, and cross the distance to come together as if we had never been apart.  We can share in each others’ victories and console one another during trying times.  We can use words to convey emotions from afar, as sure as the touch of a comforting hand on a shoulder.

Yes, it is the connections that I crave and that I seek.   It is the connections that lead me back to this blog after a writing sabbatical.  It is the connections that sustain our souls the way that food sustains our bodies.  It is the connections that bond us together as humans, in friendship and in love.

Thank you for being one of my connections.  Cheers! Karen

Stay connected with me and “like” Fill Your Own Glass on Facebook here!

photo credit:

Stop Using Social Media as a Weapon

I scroll through my Facebook Newsfeed, smiling at a few jokes and memes.  I get my dose of popular and unpopular opinion as I slide by posts about the cause du jour.  I hit the “Like” button on a picture of a friend’s impossibly adorable children.  I leave a congratulatory comment on a post with good news, and I share a motivational quote on my own wall.

Then I hit on that post.  The one that makes me cringe.  The one that makes me suck in my breath.  The one that causes my inner voice to cock its head back and say, “Oh no she didn’t…”

Oh yes she did.  One of my friends has called out her spouse in a withering, sarcastic post, and it is right there for me to see.  Me and several hundred of her other closest friends.  Throw in close to a thousand more, because to add insult to injury she has tagged him, making the post visible to everyone on his friends list, too.  Ouch.

Well now, this is awkward.  It is also infuriating.  It sets my teeth on edge like few things do.  No, I am not angry at your spouse for the alleged egregious act you outlined with such relish in your diatribe.  I am, in fact, furious with you for putting me, your spouse, and all of your friends in this position.

Maybe your spouse failed to complete a requested home improvement project. Perhaps he was less than helpful with the children.  He may have insulted you or made you feel less than appreciated.  These are all things that matter, and if you feel hurt or wronged they should be addressed.  They should not, however, be tackled on a public forum.  The days of shaming in the town square are long gone.  Call a friend or a close family member if you need to vent or seek advice.

I find myself questioning your motives.  If you are seeking attention there are far better ways to get it.   If you are trying to make yourself look good by making him look bad you are failing.  You have not diminished your spouse in my eyes.  You have not gained an ally in your domestic skirmish.  You have, however, knocked yourself several rungs down my respect ladder.

You may remove the post after you cool down.  You will forgive your spouse and let him back in your good graces.  You will carry on with your daily life and with your marriage. You may even forget about the post or the reason for it, but I will not.  I cannot unsee what I have seen, and I will forevermore relate my thoughts of you back to this incident in much the same way that a certain song evokes an instant memory.  If it will stay with me I can imagine it will stay with the hundreds of others privy to it as well.  Ponder the amount of discomfort you have spread with that one little post.

In this age of advanced technology and rampant oversharing you need to understand that there are still some things that should not be fodder for discussion on social media.  I know friends who have gone through difficult divorces or break ups within the past few years, and they have exercised restraint by never speaking a bad word on the internet about the other party.  If they can exhibit that level of class in dealing with their situations then it should not be asking too much for you to do the same with yours.  I hope you consider this with care in the future, and I ask you to think twice before hitting that “Post” button.

Stop using social media as a weapon.  Facebook is not your personal battlefield.  Leave the media wars to the celebrities and the political pundits.  Save those status updates for your diary.  Even an open book like me understands that some chapters are best kept private.

(Note: I use the term spouse here for purposes of illustration and brevity. The message applies to husbands, wives, significant others, and partners equally.)

What are your thoughts on this topic?  Do you believe there is such a thing as oversharing, or are all topics fair game?  As always I welcome your comments and feedback.


Photo credit: