As any of my dear friends will be quick to point out to you, I am a bit of a social media junkie. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook; You name it, at the small end, I have played with it, at the extreme end, I have posted on it a lot.
I gave up cable TV (and moreover, news in all of its forms) almost 2 years ago, and haven’t missed it for a second. I pride myself on making time to read 5 to 10 articles a day, ranging from Healthcare reforms in the U.S.(salon.com) to Yogic breathing (mindbodygreen.com) to How Best Friends are Formed and Maintained (PsychologyToday.com). I love knowledge and education. It is my passion. I have had it course through my veins since I did my very first research project in Grade 2. At that time, Jane Goodall became my idol. Her philosophy on education and life would find a cornerstone in my soul to which I would cling as the rest of the world shrugged in indifference.
This was a passion: to learn, to grow, to understand the world better, to understand myself better and what made me tick inside the massive cuckoo clock that was our universe.
When Facebook appeared in my life in 2007, the vehicle with which to disseminate this knowledge had shown up, as though Kit from Knight Rider had pulled up to the curb and asked me to jump in. How could I say no? The fucking car was talking to me!
With such a vast dissemination of knowledge comes such great responsibility yet seemingly there was a rule book missing. The World Wide Web had opened us all to a previously undisclosed galaxy (or was it a black hole?) and no one could find a ‘Robert’s Rules of Order’.
Questions popped into our collective consciousness with answers as differing as each of those streams: How often were we allowed to post on this contraption? How often were we allowed to hit the ‘Like’ button? When should we comment? When should we ignore? Did our grammatical use of language alter or falter or change from the way in which we would submit an Descriptive Essay in first year English at University? Were the rules of engagements different? Was the bar set higher, lower, or somewhere in between? Where did our Canadian politeness and etiquette fit into the picture?
That is the thing: There are no rules. The same person that dropped out of school in grade 9 is on equal footing as the one that graduated Summa Cum Laude from Harvard. If you are friends, you are friends. Facebook doesn’t discriminate. Everyone can post, comment or like in the same fashion. Equanimity in action. A new society was formed free of the unacknowledged cast system of years gone by.
As in any Utopian society, Facebook is good in theory but that is where the Facebook context ends and the personal bias’ engage: Do I, as a user, discriminate against posts based on the other person’s frequent posts, poor spelling, poor grammar? AND that is not even talking about the content?
What if the content is excellent? Do we as a society punish those that are over-zealous, over-enthusiastic, poor spellers, ‘shouters’ (caps)? I think that we do. I think that we somehow think that we can control the behaviour of others by giving feedback in a particular manner, or rather, withholding feedback. Maybe our innate bio-feedback loop that we have prided ourselves with – because after-all, our viewpoint on the world, is the right one, can and will actually control another person’s actions through the magic of the medium.
Here’s the thing. Passion is a hard thing to contain. Anyone who has ever been first party to those individual’s that have that passion in their soul emphatically understands to what degree the passionate person is capable. You know, the musician, the artist, the runner, the ones that never stop. The writer who barges through the 15 rejection letters in the hopes that just one of the articles submitted will stick and the unflailing optimism that works in perfect tandem with this passion.
Never ever, ever apologize for enthusiasm. Passion is woven into our soul with gold strands, and those that try to break you; those that become annoyed with your multiple posts, your poor spelling, your bad grammar, your use of CAPS to fully engage a HARDY point – NOT to yell but to remain PASSIONate. Do not let these people sway you. Carry on. Yeah, I know, it is just Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but in a world that encourages us all “To be the change that you want to see in the world”, maybe, just maybe, that is one of the only ways that we can change the world. Maybe if we just inspire or reach one person, then our 20 posts for the week will be worth it. Maybe. Maybe not. Keep Calm and Keep Posting in all of your imperfection. It is simply a reflection of the World Wide – with or without the Web.