Mr King, anti-Social Media and lunch on Sunday
I rate Stephen King as a storyteller of note, however I must admit to being too scared to read many of his books when I’m on my own. Especially late at night when it’s dark outside and every little noise could be announcing the imminent arrival of a nightmarish monster…
My heart just can’t take it.
This aversion to the fear factory is just about on par with my dislike of the word-and-name-slinging fests across social media platforms that marked the entry into 2016. It seems a handful of mere mortals have morphed into Stephen-King-like creepy monsters and have been set loose to wreak havoc with mankind.
Out of interest I asked Google what it thought social media was. Its top answer read “websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking”. I then asked it for a definition of the word ‘social’ and Merriam Webster answered with “1 : enjoying other people : sociable <a social person> 2 : relating to interaction with other people especially for pleasure <a busy social life> 3 : of or relating to human beings as a group <Marriage and family are social institutions”. Already intuitively for me the words ‘social media’ should evoke more ‘warm and fuzzy’ and a little less battlefield…
Back in Google I asked if some sort of social media etiquette exists. Unsurprisingly the search revealed many results. I chose to visit businessknowhow.com where I found rule number 11 of 12 fascinating… #11. Never post when you’re overly-tired, jet lagged, intoxicated, angry or upset. Interesting. Wouldn’t not observing this rule be behaviour akin to drunk-texting your ex? Surely that morning-after remorse is just not worth it?
I understand that online stand-offs are not just about the last chop on the braai, and that very real and relevant issues are raised on these platforms. I strongly believe though that there are better platforms to give people a voice and deal with our challenges as a nation.
It is often said that at the heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart. Well, my heart just can’t take this… I’m a peace lover. And whilst I’m happy to suffer discomfort, I’m never quite sure how to respond to angry confrontation and drama. They fall way outside of my comfort zone… just like a Stephen King novel.
So Mr King has become daytime reading only. He’s been banned from the bedroom, so has the phone, the tablet and the laptop. No more anti-Social Media in sacred spaces. I vote for more face-to-face socialising, in spaces where we may think a little more carefully about our choice of words; where we may respectfully disagree and be free to air our real concerns. Where we can learn to enjoy each others company, while getting to know one another’s stories and looking one another in the eyes. Isn’t it high time that we did?
Lunch at mine on Sunday anyone?
P.S There are some really great initiatives around my neck of the woods that may be worth exploring…