Social Media: Maybe Not So Sucky After All

I have a real love/hate relationship with social media.  Facebook is my poison, mostly. 

Almost like a nervous tic, I find myself checking Facebook often.  I don’t honestly care about 90% of the crap that pops up in my newsfeed, but for some strange reason, looking down at my iPhone and mindlessly checking Facebook, Instagram, and my email inbox has become as second nature to my fingers as dining with a fork and knife.

It’s probably shameful how much time I spend scrolling through seemingly endless pages of unfunny memes, unconvincing statistics, untrue stories, and the unbelievably obnoxious ramblings of people I will probably never even cross paths with again in my real life.

Occasionally, I get angry at things I see.  I was raised to avoid the topics of politics and religion whenever possible, and I adhere to that rule strongly because I like to keep my blood pressure down and my fists unclenched and out of harm’s way (i.e. someone’s face).  But, for some reason, social media sites are overrun by political and religious rants every second of every day.  I avoid these posts like the damn bubonic plague, but once in a rare while it’s very, very hard to resist the urge to get downright snippy with people. 

Last week someone reacted negatively to a blog I posted, wherein I spoke of wishing I could afford to provide better for my family, by taking to Facebook to convey that I need to “stop running {my} mouth and go get a job!”  I ignored her ugliness and chose not to childishly engage her in a bitter, public social media battle of heated opinions and curse words.  Still, I went to bed hating Facebook a little more that night for giving her a platform upon which to openly spew her ignorance.

But alas, I cannot say I hate social media altogether.  99% of the people reading this right now wouldn’t even know this blog existed if not for Facebook.  And where else would I turn to let the world know every time I have a particularly witty thought, or at the very least, when one of kids has done something extremely hilarious?  Sometimes, social media is kind of awesome.  Sometimes it’s amusing, adorable, even informative.  But only occasionally.  Not nearly often enough to warrant this addiction with checking it obsessively.

So here I am, with all these mixed feelings: humor, rage, frustration, annoyance, curiosity.  Sometimes I get to the point where I want to just delete the bullshit from my life altogether.  Sometimes I’m like, jeez, let’s just rewind back a few years to when the internet was merely a place to avoid meeting total wackos, when you didn’t have to send someone an electronic request to be their friend, and when you hadn’t yet realized that at least a quarter of the people you know are totally batshit crazy and quite possible illiterate.

But then I hear a story like this.

I’ll summarize it for you: a little boy, just five years old, battling leukemia for most of his life, had his wish granted by the wonderful Make A Wish Foundation to become Batman today.  Downtown San Francisco was turned into Gotham City, and over 13,000 people showed up and flooded the streets to cheer him on as he rescued a damsel in distress, took on the Penguin and the Riddler, thwarted a bank robbery, rode in the Batmobile, and received the key to the city from the mayor of San Francisco himself.

And yes, you read that correctly– 13,000 people showed up.

They had all heard about this little boy’s wish from social media sites. 

I cried my eyes out listening to this story on the news today.  It’s so hard to imagine any sweet little angel having to endure the pain and suffering inflicted by a terrifying, life-threatening illness–and the fact that so many people turned out to support this brave little guy merely because of something they read while scrolling mindlessly through their phones over their morning coffee… Well, that’s just plain amazing.

Social media is really sucky most of the time, but not this time.  This time, it made a sick little boy’s dreams come true. 

Go social media.


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