Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Little posts mean a lot.

Social media can sure ruffle up emotions, ranging from those who are merely irritated to the ones claiming to be nearly breathless and devastated.  Scrolling up and down pages and pages of posts, you see that people use the forum for entries as mundane as what snack they consumed while viewing their favorite television show to typing their heart out on an electronic sleeve for the world to see.  Honestly, it’d be better to take that seriously soiled laundry to be dry cleaned before hanging it out on the Facebook line for everyone else to see.  But, one man’s coffee-stained cardigan is another guy’s entertainment, I suppose.

 

Overall, it seems that most people tolerate brief messages containing positive, uplifting quotes, moments of deep thinking or quirky observations — but I’ve noticed that every now and then people get pretty riled up over opinionated statements or what they consider to be one too many day-in-the-life comments (“Pinkberry today, you jealous toads and it was goooood.”)  I get it.  It can be annoying.  Just don’t reply to it.  Nothing to see here, people – scroll along.

 

Really, not much social media irritates me, except for excessive foul language, which I find unnecessary, with so many other creative ways to express anger, hurt, resentment, rage, frustration, etc. (surely more than that ONE curse word is available to you people).  I often comment to those that do resort to unimaginative, crude methods of communication, “Hey, hey, hey!  Wash those fingers before you touch that keyboard.” 

 

Mostly, I love the cyber snowglobe effect of sites like Facebook and Twitter as tiny fragments of human nature float by and for a split second, or two, I get a glimpse into someone’s mind and, occasionally, their soul.

 

There is a strange bravery that comes with computer communication and the ability to show a bit of one’s self that isn’t always present in person or on the phone.  Bravery that isn’t necessarily a GOOD thing, because so many people abuse that power, where the keyboard and mouse become partners in crime toward using, abusing and/or hurting others.  There was a cartoon that made its way around the universe with an important public service announcement on fake courage and how “Friends don’t let friend drink & email.”  For awhile, people talked about the danger of composing a heated email message and not storing it in the Drafts Folder until emotions (and maybe merlot) had settled, long before hitting the potentially hazardous SEND button.  The immediacy of today’s social media doesn’t provide that much-needed buffer of a saved draft and there are some among us who could really use some lag time between type and tweet or text.

 

The timeframe associated with what people post and the comments that follow them is set on the screen for all to see.  Now and then hours and hours will pass between and sometimes minutes but, more often than not, it’s a just a matter of seconds before people respond.  Blink-blink: there you go, two measely seconds.  Not much time to process or digest information, is it?  Just as words can be misconstrued or misinterpreted when spoken – I’m afraid the written word has even less of a chance, without vocal inflection or facial expressions to go by.  Heaven help you if try to embed a little sarcasm or irony in there, as that has the potential to go tragically wrong for you. 

 

One of the more unpleasant things to accompany my son’s autism diagnosis was a big, fat helping of something called language processing disorder.  In short, words in any shape or form come flyin’ at you and you’re built too low to the ground and they fly right over your head (thanks to Foghorn Leghorn for providing that perfect picture as a way of explanation).  Experience has shown me that most of us average bears would benefit from an extra helping of time to process, when it comes to most of what we hear, some of what we say and pretty much all of what we type.  [And yes, I took some time to think about all of this before I started clacking away on the keyboard.  Smarty pants.  I really do take my own advice before consider dispensing any.]

 

What really cracks me up about how people respond to personal information given through social media is that it isn’t just the emotionally overwrought, convoluted or controversial posts that become the burr under the saddles of your average desk jockey.  Many times, the snarkiest comments and replies are to the day in and day out posts that, for some reason, seem to drive others to distraction and cause them to compulsively shoot off a heated response about a person’s late night visit to Denny’s or doing actual laundry.

 

If you look for it, the quickest status update or briefest of posts can carry the most profound information and insight into someone’s life.  For me, hearing that a relatively new college student is excitedly packing to go home touches me, deeply – just a few words, but they carry such weight.  You know how desperately that teenager values the newfound independence and autonomy that comes with living away from home, yet that admitted eagerness to go back, despite having to becoming someone’s kid again, having to pick up after themselves and sharing everything with a younger sibling once more…it’s sweet to see, that there apparently is no place like home.

 

Then there is the simple sentence from a mom as she prepares dinner for her son who is coning home on leave from the military. She tells us only that she is cooking his favorite foods, but her anticipation is almost palpable, knowing that she may have spent days, even weeks, contemplating, planning and shopping for this young man’s favorite foods to welcome him home.  Home, a place he will recognize before opening the door as he smells the nurturing love of a mother’s home-cooked meal wafting on the breeze.  This brief remark, sitting among dozens of other comments, has me thinking about the thousands of other service men and women around the world who may be heading home for the holidays.  Men and women looking forward to being held in the arms of their friends and families for a short time, while they consume all of the comforts of home, collecting what moments they can to carry them through until they next stand in a familiar kitchen or dining room again.

 

Yes, little posts mean a lot and I am looking forward to many more as the holiday season progresses.

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