What would happen to our society if we stopped relying on these brain-deaf and logic-defying messages from social media, TV, and the like?
Consider the situation from the point of view of a dog.
Imagine that your pooch decides it’s hungry and starts eating everything in sight. The thought of your pooch being cold and hungry is horrifying, so it’s a foregone conclusion that it will get itself a steak. Or at the very least, it will get itself a prime steak.
Or some fried chicken.
Then your pooch proceeds to examine every box of dog food in the house, until it finds the one it’s looking for — and inspects the dog food for the last time. Congratulations! You have just fed your pooch chicken.
That’s probably how most of us feel when we receive a message from a stranger on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
Humans are strange. Most of us don’t think twice about posting a video of us doing finger twirls or sipping hot cocoa.
However, when that video goes out to millions of people’s devices, we start to believe we are the center of that situation. The stranger who sent us the clip may think they have found us online, but they really think they have found us, which is probably why they posted it.
Maybe they think other people see what we see. Maybe they think they have found us online, and that they can teach us something from our interactions.
Either way, they have a viral social media tactic down to a science.
Maybe we should stop taking everything social media. For all the money and manpower that social media brings, it doesn’t seem to do much to change the minds of people who actually care about others.
When you have kids, you might post a cute video of your kid doing something fun and cuddly on social media. You hope this might get your spouse to notice and send her thoughts. You make the child perform in front of other family members to help show what the child knows.
Maybe this stranger sees this and thinks, “My daughter is pretty. She’s on a show. She knows all the tricks. She’s probably got a million followers. She would know all the connections.”
If that’s the case, congratulations! You have just created a viral social media post.
But what happens when the stranger doesn’t think your daughter is that cute sees her and decides to stalk her?
She decides to send your son a video of her daughter doing something embarrassing at a concert. Your son thinks it’s one of the most annoying video he’s seen in his entire life.
Maybe you send your daughter an email saying, “I can tell you saw my daughter, and you’re thinking of her as you scroll down. Let me know if you want to meet.”
What do you do when the stranger in your life sends you an email saying, “I saw your daughter, and you’re thinking of her as you scroll down. Let me know if you want to meet.”
You decide that sending her another video of her doing something embarrassing won’t get you anywhere and you close the video player.
It’s a similar situation with strangers you meet. They may be an acquaintance or a neighbor. Perhaps they are a co-worker at your small business and you can tell from the way they interact with others that they don’t take social media seriously.
Perhaps they are a random stranger on the street and you have no idea what they are about.
In both of those situations, the best you can probably do is respond with a comment like, “I think I know who you are.”
You don’t need to know who they are or what they do to be offended by the fact that someone is taking social media seriously.
If someone takes your attention off of yourself, and starts taking it seriously, that’s on you.
You Shouldn’t Ignore Social Media
As tempting as it is, be nice in your response to the people who take social media too seriously.
If someone posts a video of themselves smoking a cigarette, you may want to respond with, “What a shame that someone can’t use their phone while driving. Let’s see what they can do with a pipe or cigarette in the hand.”
If someone posts a photo of themselves drinking pop right before they go to bed, you may want to respond, “Who knows? Maybe those two will get married and have a baby.”
Social media is a digital version of the news. Instead of waiting for the next big story, you get instant access to your privacy on social media.
If someone is sharing intimate details about how they’re raising their child, you may want to respond, “Whoa. Who are you? What do you know about children?”