Thoughts on Social Media Drama

How do you handle trolls on social media? Here are some of my ideas on how to control drama on your wall.

Why All the Social Media Drama?

Some  People Need to Feel Superior by Always Being Right

Many people have been hurt leading up to and after the election by social media drama. Friends and family have rejected each other because of opposing views. It seems some people have forgotten how to be kind to others. Although many talk about tolerance, they aren’t tolerant of  others who disagree with their views. People are actually unfriending each other virtually and in the real world over this. They seem to have forgotten their common humanity, as well as their manners.

Thoughts on Social Media Drama
The Tongue is a Fire. Created on getstencil.com, Public Domain

 

Why do people do this? Some appear to get their significance by being right. So if someone implies they aren’t right, they get defensive or go on the offense. I get my own sense of worth from knowing I’m a loved child of God, so what others think of my opinions really doesn’t matter. I am free to be kind to  those who disagree with me and try to have a rational discussion to try to find some common ground.

If someone starts attacking the character of others on my own timeline, however, I don’t tolerate it. If he or she is not a real-world friend or someone I’ve worked closely with online, I just might unfriend him or her to protect my other friends from being attacked. If the person has usually been a real friend, I might just hide offensive posts.

I have seen two kinds of social drama. The first, mentioned above, involves people who strongly disagree with each other about politics, religion, or any number of other things and can’t help attacking those who disagree with them. Instead of saying things like “have you considered (any reason you have for your own beliefs)?” or “Here are some reasons why I have to disagree with you,” or “What makes you feel that way?” they attack with statements such as “You are an idiot to believe that.” They might even cuss at you.

Such statements make it clear that they don’t respect their friends with opposing views and cannot make a case based on facts or even reasons why they disagree. They certainly won’t win anyone to their way of thinking by making such personal attacks on people’s intelligence or character. They have made it clear they look down on and feel superior to those who oppose them.

Some People Seemingly Just Like to Start Trouble or Hurt People

We often call them trolls.

troll-1295831_640

See that cloud over the troll’s head? Generally, that’s why trolls behave the way they do. If they see someone who’s happy they want to rain on their parade and say something nasty. I guess they enjoy making people feel as miserable as they feel. Those who create social media drama tend to have few real friends. They seem to get any sense of worth they may have in seeing how much trouble and pain they can cause. They don’t just pick on one person. They pick on almost everyone. They are the bullies of the internet and social media sites like Facebook.

How Do You Deal With Internet Bullies?

  • You can unfriend them or just hide their hurtful remarks from your timeline.
  • If you know them well enough to know why they are hurting, you might try to draw them out in a caring private message that expresses sympathy for the situation that’s hurting them and let them vent a bit to you.
  • You can message a troll with a warning. After hiding the first attack post, tell trolls kindly you don’t tolerate personal attacks on anyone on your timeline and if they persist you will regretfully have to unfriend them. This will probably get you either an apology from a real friend or an even worse attack from someone who isn’t.
Thoughts on Social Media Drama
Please pin me.

I was inspired to  write this post by reading “Let’s Talk About Preventing Social Media Drama” by Eileen Calandro who was guest posting on “She Saved.”  In her post, Eileen shares her interaction with a mother whose daughter had innocently posted something she never expected would hurt a friend, but seemingly it did. The mother was contacted by the friend’s mother who said her daughter had been hurt by the post. Eileen offers her response to the mother of the poster. It is a helpful post if you have children active on social media and you want to protect them from social media drama. Although this was a mild case, we do know that some teens have killed themselves after being attacked by internet bullies.

How do you handle social media drama in your social media interactions?

 

‘Tis the Season to Reminisce with Our Picture Albums

I noticed as I looked through our family albums this week that many who have left us still live in the albums, frozen in time, and in the hearts of those who love them.

Sandy (right) making mochi with her family last Christmas Day, 2009
Sandy (right) making mochi with her family last Christmas Day, 2009

Friendship is one of the most precious of life’s gifts. Those friends we have kept up with for over forty years are irreplaceable. A group of friends is rudely reminded of that this month, as it lost the first member of this group to cancer on  November 30. She fought a long and hard battle, but the cancer finally won.You can read more about Sandy and her family tradition of gathering to make mochi on Christmas here.

Her family and friends and others she has inspired over the years are gathering to remember her the day after Christmas, and since they are getting together — a rare occurrence since we are scattered now over several counties and even   states — we are also planning a surprise for someone else who means a lot to all of us.

Our children, Sarah and Jason, Christmas, 1987
Both our children are gone now, leaving at ages 14 and 34.

This  surprise has us all thumbing through our old photo albums, as well as our more recent ones, and,  in the process, I’m sure I’m not the only one strolling down memory lane. And I’m sure I’m not the only one realizing that half my albums are peopled by multitudes of pictures of those who now live on a different plane. So it’s a bittersweet trip. Jason loved life and Christmas and left us while riding a jet ski in 1991. Sarah enjoyed Christmas more than life, which she chose to leave in 2009.

My mom with Jason and his cousin Bobby in 1990, Jason's last Christmas
My mom with Jason and his cousin Bobby in 1990, Jason's last Christmas

This picture, too, has only one living person left, my nephew — the one with dark hair. Mom and Jason are both gone. We lost mom to cancer in 2005. I was privileged to be able to help care for her in her last months, and I’m glad she lived close to me so I could see her almost daily during her last years.

Rich entered our lives in 1993 when we moved to our current home in

Celebrating a mini Christmas with Rich and Bobby the week the weekend after in 1994
Mini Christmas celebration with Rich and Bobby in 1994

Templeton, California. My nephew, Bobby, also spent a year with us in 1994, and we had a mini Christmas  celebration with Rich, who was like part of our extended family by then, that year. He is another dear friend whom we continue to miss at Christmas and every Friday night, as that’s the night we used to meet for dinner and Bible study together. This was taken during our small Christmas celebration the week after Christmas, since Bobby and I and my husband went south to Mom’s over the actual holiday. Rich left us in 2003. Rich used to say he didn’t take pictures because the picture in his head that is always with him, is better than any he could take with a camera.

With that in mind, what about those in our pictures still living on earth? Some may be casual acquaintances, but many will be the people we care most about. Do they know how much you care? Might not this holiday season be a good time to tell them? After all, you never know if it will be your last opportunity to reveal what’s in your heart. Whether you are 14 or 94, or whether they are, not everyone makes it to 70 — or even 17.

Pictures keep us frozen in time, as we are frozen in place in the hearts who love us. Just as my parents and I were frozen in place on this, my sixth Christmas, so

Mom and Dad have gone on, except in my heart.
Mom and Dad have gone on now, but this Christmas with them remains in my heart.

I still carry them in my heart 61 years later. The real album is my heart. It is there the pictures come alive bringing back laughter in times past, and, sometimes tears as I miss them, especially those who seemed, like Sandy, Jason, Sarah, and Rich, to go much earlier than they should.

Thoughts After a Memorial Service

Why wait to pay tribute to your friends at a memorial service? Why not tell them how much they mean to you while they can still hear you? Here are some ideas.

SkyRose Chapel at Rose Hills Memorial Park
SkyRose Chapel at Rose Hills Memorial Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In February 2010, I attended a memorial service for Ann Sakiyama, whom I was not privileged to know as well as most others who were there. It was a beautiful service, a final tribute from all who knew and loved her.  We went because we have loved her husband like a brother for over forty years. Though the old group of which we were all a part in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s has spread out geographically, we are still dear to each other and try to be there for each other when someone is going through the deep waters. I last saw most of this group of friends at my daughter’s memorial service last June.

As we all gathered to eat together after the service, I probably wasn’t the only one wondering, “Who’s next?” or “What will they say at my service?” When we met, we were all under thirty. Now most of us are retired or approaching retirement. At least one has survived a heart attack. Another fights cancer. Each time we gather to mourn a loss, I know we are thinking that we don’t want to gather for this reason again very soon. As someone said when we were leaving the luncheon yesterday, “Let’s have the next get-together be a party, not a memorial service.”

What a great idea! What would be really memorable would be a relaxed weekend in the same hotel or resort where we could meet and tell each other now, in person, what we have appreciated in each other over the years while we all still have mouths to speak and ears to hear. We used to attend retreats together, why not another now, while we can still do it, for the express purpose of celebrating what our friendships have meant all this time? So much we leave unspoken and wait to share when the words can no longer be heard. Some of us spend money to attend high school reunions to be with the people we haven’t kept up with.  Why not spend the same money for a reunion with the group of people you really do care about?

If we can’t physically find a way to do this, why not set aside some time to write some notes to your old friends now – while they can still read them. Why wait until they are gone to write your thoughts of what they meant — to their surviving families? Not good with words on paper? Pick up the phone. Not good with words at all when it comes to feelings? Maybe just a note or a hug with the words: Your friendship has meant more over the years than words can express.

Feel really uncomfortable about doing this? Practice on your family. No one needs to hear our tributes more than our family members, whom we often take for granted.  Some of you have already lost parents, spouses, or children. I hope you had time to let them know how much you loved and appreciated them before you had to say a final goodbye. If you still have them, start letting them know now how much they mean to you. If you have to leave them suddenly, don’t let them be wondering what you thought of them.  Don’t assume that your unspoken feelings have been picked up.

I always try to make sure that when my husband goes out the door to go to the gym every day, he knows I love him and want him to come home safely. I try to make sure that if we have quarreled, all is well between us before he goes out that door or goes to sleep. I let him know he is irreplaceable in my heart and life and a special treasure and gift from God. I was also fortunate enough to have realized before Jason’s accident that children do die suddenly, and I made a special point after another family lost a child a few days before we lost Jason to tell Jason how much I loved and appreciated him. I’m glad those were his last memories of me.

These are the kinds of thoughts I have as I look into the faces of those I care most about when we mourn together. I hope that at the next memorial service, the one we are mourning will have heard our personal tributes in person ahead of time, before it’s too late.