Don’t just LIKE, Be Social

“Don’t just LIKE, Be Social”

The long and short of this post is:

[blockquote]What if we didn’t favorite a tweet, like a post or +1 an image without also commenting?   [/blockquote]

I have been looking at the way we use social media and studies that go alone with life satisfaction and what gains traction and what doesn’t. A number of studies have shown the effects of facebook on our mental health.  One of the most notable comes for the University of Michigan which found support for the hypothesis that the more you use facebook the worse you feel.  Check it out here

A little while ago a study was conducted using twitter to show the life-cycle of happy vs unhappy tweets.  Interestingly even happy tweets would at times gain steam because of negative feedback.  Sorry I couldn’t find the source for this one.  You can see another study that attempted to quantify happiness or sadness via tweets.  Though the source and research techniques may be a little more suspect but may uncover a trend.  Check it out here

It shouldn’t be a real surprise that the things that keep coming up seem to be negative or of no real value.  Case and point, this week being all of the talk of the newest Kim Karshshidan pic (mehh) overshadowing the fact that a drone was landed on a comet (super cool).  We see the trend to the negative in television news stories too because they are the ones that get the ratings rather than stories filled with rainbows and unicorns.

So what is social good for?

Being social, of course.

Our social interactions have the potential to make some really powerful connections, but they often lack real interaction.  We like, retweet and plus one things rather than engaging and adding to the conversation.  This may be illustrated when a friend posts that they have just suffered a tragic event or lost someone close to them and there are always a handful of people who respond the the information by pressing the little thumbs up.

Sure there is a kind of social contact that is happening, but there i little fellowship that is happening.  I am reminded of Howard Thurman’s comments as a precursor voice to the civil rights movement who recalled the understanding of contact without fellowship.  Thurman’s reminder of calling us back to true connection and conversation may have application in breaking down a different kind of barrier today.  When we only have the perception of someone else’s story without knowing their story we quickly paint an unfair picture of this person or group.  Or as one pastor puts it:

[blockquote source=”Steve Furtick”]The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.[/blockquote]

As we look to the holiday season, we have to realize this is a tough time for many people.  In every church I have served on staff of or volunteered at people mention the pain of the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.   I think that there may be a way for all of us to leverage social media for what it was made for, turning a profit through selling our personal information,  making meaningful connections with other people.

The Experiment:

So here is the proposal.  What if we didn’t like, favorite or +1 any social post without adding something to the conversation? 

I think this would do a number of positive things

  1. This may remind us that we are interacting with real people who are living real lives, just like we are.  Often we are comfortable with the anonymity of the web and forget that there is someone on the other end of the interactions
  2. It may foster some real and meaningful interactions that you cannot have through just a click of the mouse or a tap of your finger.
  3. At least in the case of Facebook it may make your social experience more pleasant because the more you interact in a positive way the more Facebook’s algorithm will serve you up a stream of meaningful posts rather than noise and junk.
  4. If we know we are going to interact more thoughtfully we may be more intentional about when and how often we get on our social sites.  Therefore we will get some of our day back.

I may be totally off point, but these are some anecdotal things that I have seen as I have tried to regulate my social media use.  It may be worth a try for you.  I know it has been positive for me.

7 Replies to “Don’t just LIKE, Be Social”

  1. Great post!

    The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.
    Steve Furtick

    Good quote… I actually had a conversation with someone this week pertaining to this!!

  2. Chris this is a great post and a fantastic challenge. I’m guilty of trolling and “liking” but that is not really “social”. Thanks for giving great thoughts about this.

  3. Maybe I’m out of touch here but I’m of the mind where “social” means actually talking in complete sentences to real people. I make it a point to go unplugged from my computer every day from my sometimes very plugged-in professional life and get out to see people. A “like” just isn’t the same.

    CB – Somehow you’ve managed to master the media well and give it some thoughtfulness and warmth. I’m glad to know it’s possible. L

  4. Nicely done and thought provoking, for those that will read it through. As one who recently made a post of a difficult time, I read all the posts and looked at the likes, but was more touched by the short post. Maybe on some level it showed that people took the time to touch a few keys. I don’t know, but the posts did ring through more than the likes.
    Thanks for the illumination to see in a way I had not before.

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