Facebook is the only social media platform on which I participate, unless you count the occasional foray into Pinterest. I spend not-insignificant time every day scrolling through my feed to see what my “friends” have focused on that day. Lately, there’s been a little too much face-to-screen, so I am being more conscious about how much I indulge the impulse.
Over time, I have tailored my Facebook feed to include posts from sources and people I find informative, inspirational, or amusing, as well as those who are close to my heart. I enjoy the thoughts and pictures that my connections put in my feed, especially since I’ve been spending even more time solo than usual. There are many, many posts about COVID-19, including advice, educational videos, cautionary tales, and expressions of frustration about a wide variety of subjects. And now, many are sharing feelings and reporting news about the global unrest. I have often thought as I read these posts (and occasionally actually replied)…
“You are preaching to the choir.” I have had that thought a LOT lately.
Think about who sees your posts. Aren’t they almost exclusively folks who think and believe like you do? Isn’t that why they are your Facebook friends? Don’t we “unfriend” people because their opinions are in dire opposition to ours and they irritate the heck out of us? As much we may rant and wail about the ignorant, unconscious behavior so rampantly on display, we can’t kid ourselves that our words and pictures will reach, or have any kind of real impact on, those who most need to hear the message. Even if we could reach those who could benefit from other perspectives, there is no way that I, or anyone I know, can place a post on Facebook that will open up the eyes and alter the irrationally-held beliefs of a fanatic. (There may be a Hogwarts spell for that; I can look into it.)
So, why do we do it?
My interactions on social media give me a place to vent, make me feel seen and heard, and maybe feel a little less alone in the way I see the world. It’s a kind of “Me, too,” in a good way. I find the connections affirming and comforting.
I truly want to be a part of effecting real cultural shift, but I think hangin’ with my Facebook crew, nice as that is, is not going to do much toward that end. Thanks, all the same, my choir, for singing so consistently, colorfully and soulfully.
Do you see social media as an effective tool for creating change? If so, please share your thoughts.