We Are Still In The Social Media Dark Age

We humans have a voracious appetite for other people’s mis-steps, shortcomings, or any apparent non-conformity to our own self proclaimed perfect, normal life. Nowhere do we relish this more than on social media. The advent of the anonymous world of constant talking and nonexistent listening– piling on to celebrate the failures of others came at the giddy delight of a society that loves to build up so that we can tear down. Our appetite for lifting up the struggles of others masks our own insecurities, and reassure us, ‘that could never happen to me!’.

We may be more civilized than we were in the days of burning witches at the stake or stoning suspected prostitutes and thieves, but we are still in the dark ages in the “brave” new virtual world. Cameras are constantly on. We love to be the first to share the hilarious guffaw of some poor soul’s misadventures. Or worse, the mistakes of others that cost them so dearly that we feel compelled to point out where they went wrong and how we would have known oh so much better.

I’ve worked in the media for the better part of 30 years. I’ve certainly learned to “have a thick skin” and to “just let it go” when the haters hate. In the dark ages, I would get hand written letters. “You should practice in the mirror to eliminate the wrinkles in your forehead.” “If your clothes are not purchased at Goodwill then please do some pressing and get a good haircut and use a comb and hairspray!” (actual letters!) Fortunately, I was the only one who saw them.

Today, those comments come with the ability to make your thoughts public, and elicit others to LOL and jump on the bandwagon. As the saying now goes, you’re nobody until you have haters. That may be, but I am of the belief that one ever reaches a point where you aren’t impacted by it at all. It may not kill you, but I don’t think it makes you stronger either. I think it chips away at that dark little spot of self doubt that lives in us all.

As a mom, I’ve struggled with self doubt, guilt, anxiety, you name it. It doesn’t take much to fan the flames of that little green monster that says, you’re messing this up, you’re not only a bad mom, you’re also a bad professional. I recently admitted during a broadcast about back to school that, at the end of the summer, I can’t wait for my kids to be out of the house. Stones flew. Online I was told, “You are a terrible mother how could you ever say you want your children out of the house”, “Why did you ever have kids in the first place?” Stones sting people, I’m not gonna lie. Having haters doesn’t make one feel like a success.

Now, imagine if I were a child or teenager or young adult on the receiving end of all the negativity. Or someone in a dark mental place. The damage this can do is beyond my comprehension. If this happened to someone in my family I would be sick with worry. So much damage can be done by such careless words. The venom may be virtual but the poison is real. Parents make mistakes, we know it, we don’t need help from you to find our faults. Teenagers are filled with self doubt and insecurity quite naturally without any help from others pointing out their differences.

Think before you jump on the bandwagon to make fun, point fingers, laugh, criticize, point out how terrible someone is at their job, or to rant about how stupid a parent is for the latest tragedy and how you would have know oh so much better.

Or be the first to unleash a crazy shout out of support! What would be the harm of committing to never make a public comment again unless it was with support, or to offer help and understanding, or to somehow spew positives into the universe: I support you. I see you. I understand you. I love you. Looks like you’ve had a bad day, me too! We may not all share the same opinions, but hating each other won’t solve the problem.  Doesn’t it feel better to build something than to tear something down? Let’s judge less, love more.

Pam Tauscher Coshun is a mom both at home and at work. She draws on her life experience as mom of two boys to produce and moderate the MomsEveryday show, a television program made by moms, for moms. You can see the show or read Pam’s blogs at MomsEveryday.com. Pam also loves gardening, cooking and hair, lots and lots of hair, since she currently has two dogs and a cat and has adopted may others. Pam is always looking to share ways to make Moms life easier at MomsEveryday.com, on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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