Soon after the invention of social media was the cultural revolution of the social media meltdown, followed by the cultural revolution of sharing uncertainty. It’s so thrilling to be able to share something with everybody you’ve ever met, all at the same time! And yet, this process comes with a learning curve. After a few instances of social media shame, every post is self-published with a doubtful click. Nobody is perfect, but the following three paragraphs outline three questions you can ask yourself before posting so as to ease social media meltdowns, ease sharing uncertainty, and elevate your posts into your own public enlightenment of self expression! Be prepared for the next cultural revolution of posting with pride!
Should I share this post at all? It’s so fun to see yourself in print all day, with click after click. You start to feel like a lab animal who pushes the same lever over and over for another delicious morsel of dried food. It always feels good, no matter what you write! However, it is good to be your own editor on social media. You want to make sure that none of your friends feel massively left out by your post. You don’t want to feel like what you’re posting is a step back in maturity. If it feels like an inner duty to take care of information that isn’t heartening, it might be good to take one for the team and hold onto it, because most people go on social media for uplifting posts to unwind. A death in the family can seem like a classy thing to post because it can showcase maturity, and yet it can be very saddening for people to read, especially between posts of babies’ first Thanksgiving celebrations, golden turkeys and hearty stuffing galore. Before the internet, when grandma died while you were in middle school, you usually attended a funeral with your whole family on the weekend, so most of the school didn’t know and treated you normally. You probably told your best friends and your next-door neighbors. Today, would you really want to tell everyone you know? Your former college roommate? Your yoga classmate from before you moved states? It’s nice to get all of the condolences, but they probably really want to give you a hug from around the world and can’t, and by the time you have a reunion, they probably won’t remember or won’t want to bring it up, but they seem a little sad to see you, and neither of you can remember why.
Is it too soon to share? You don’t want to count your chickens before they’ve hatched. You also don’t want a too-soon post to put pressure on somebody. First date selfies could be a bad idea. Everybody’s favorite thing to post on LinkedIn is their excitement about starting a new position. They thank everybody for helping them get to where they are today, and their new employer, and make a tearful speech that sometimes sounds closer to a retirement speech after 50 years of working at that new job. Too soon? Maybe. What if you get fired after the first day? Maybe then it would have been better to not have posted that got-the-job speech. You might not know that much about your workplace. Was your got-the-job speech on brand for them? The too-soon post also can rub people the wrong way, fall flat, or not age well, because when you post too soon, your emotions are still running very high. Maybe wait until your first two-week vacation in December to post about your new job—that you’ve had great experiences for the past eight months working for your workplace, that you wish everybody a happy holiday season, and that you look forward to seeing everybody in the new year.
Should I share this in person instead of posting it online? The internet is a blast, and its advent intersected with when we were all diagnosed with ADD. Its immediacy can feel so rewarding to our neurons! And yet, the old school methods of sharing information can be just as rewarding, or even more rewarding at times. Say you get a new pair of rainbow-colored glasses. You could share a selfie of you in your glasses to your friends around the world and get 24 like and love reactions in 24 hours. That felt like a very amplified feeling! However, would that good feeling have been even more amplified if you had shown your friends and family your new glasses in person? Imagine having shown your roommate when they came home from work. “Surprise!” you tell them, and nerdily adjust the glasses while wiggling your eyebrows. You get to actually see their reaction instead of reading it. “Wow!” they say. Next, you wear the rainbow-colored glasses to your job as a camp counselor. You get to see 200 reactions in real time as you walk around! Several months later, your extended family gets to see the new glasses at Thanksgiving, when you also bring rainbow cookies to match them, feeling the inner rainbow of sharing gone correctly.