Wednesday, April 3, 2013

My Thoughts On Your Social Cleavage

This is a topic that has been heavy on my mind the past few weeks. Maybe it comes because I am an exhausted pregnant woman, bursting with child, and chasing a busy soon-to-be-one-year-old around the house. I can become irritated....and lately I've been irritated with things I've been seeing on Facebook.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Facebook. I love getting to see pictures of my gorgeous niece, my cousins and their children, and I cherish that within seconds my parents and in-laws have access to every picture and video of Gracin I put online. Social media connects families separated by long distances, and for that reason I do enjoy it. I have been involved in FB messaging with church friends who are arranging meals for new moms, asking for prayer requests, or encouraging each other with scripture and words of wisdom. Facebook isn't necessarily evil. 

Social media is a wonderful tool. But sometimes it becomes more than a tool, it becomes the sounding board for people to complain, post unnecessary hateful things, and go on political or moral rampages. What you post online is a picture of what you want people to see and think about who you are. 

I wish I could say I coined the phrase "social cleavage," but really I heard Beth Moore reference it in a Bible study. After spending time pondering it, I have adopted the phrase as the best way to describe what I see online. No one wants to see your physical cleavage, at least I don't, and in the same way, no one wants to see you go all "ape" online and reveal a part of your character that speaks negatively of who you are. 

I have a dear friend whose husband was recently gone for nearly a year on two back-to-back deployments. I know it wasn't easy, and I'm certain there were days that she had a million hateful things to say about being home to play the role of a single parent to three kids. But bless her, she never posted anything negative about the whole ordeal. Every day she sought to bless others through scripture or general posts about her kids. Life was hard, and yet she didn't show her "social cleavage" and descend to a level of complaint. I gained so much respect for her during those hard months, and as the potential for our own deployment arrives, I keep her strength and resolve in the back of my mind. 

I have yet another friend who has five ADORABLE children. She is one tough mama! I love that, even in all the craziness, she only posts hilarious stories or overflowing love about each of her sweet ones. She doesn't complain about motherhood, and each day that she posts about a long previous night or a child's meltdown is a moment that she turns into humor or lessons learned. She reminds me that being a mama is glorious, even when it feels overwhelming.

And then you have the other friends who post statuses laden with complaints. Hey, I get that sometimes life is rough, your work is hard, your day didn't go as planned, and your kids are driving you crazy. I'm there too! But unless you are able to turn a bad day into humor or share a way God taught you through the difficulty, constant status updates to gripe only make people dread seeing your name pop up in their feed. How do I know this? Because there are a few people who post, and I usually skim over what they have to say--I'm worn out from "seeing" them complain daily.

If you don't want people to think of you as vulgar, don't curse in your posts. Warning, if you make a habit of dropping bad language, I will probably remove you from my friend list or block you completely. I don't want to read it. If that's your opinion and the way you want to state it, fine, but don't be offended if I choose to not read what you post. 

Social cleavage people....no one wants to see it. If you want to share a rough day's events, that's fine. But evaluate how often you are complaining. If you scroll through your page and there are more than three posts with negative connotation in a week, it's time to rethink what you're posting. 

Still other people reveal their social cleavage through their political and moral posts. I will be straight up honest: I'm Republican, I don't like Obama, I'm not for gay marriage, I'm Baptist, I believe in spanking, and I don't really care if you agree with me. But I don't think it's appropriate for Facebook, Twitter, or social media to be the platform for people to be hateful about their opinions. Let's be real here--when has a FB comment war over someone's political stance changed the overall opinion of those participating? 

NEVER. 

I have been involved in, and seen, many debates take place on the social media platform over spiritual matters, Obama, gay marriage etc. Not once has anything I have said changed anyone's mind...nor have they changed mine. Save your breath. They aren't going to agree with you even if you post a hundred well-documented websites as your "proof" or quote a hundred verses from scripture. When people are set in their opinions, you can argue till you're blue in the face, and if you are like me, the only result is you will walk away irritated at someone else's "stupidity." 

Don't argue over social media. It does nothing. 

If you don't like the current political administration, hey, I get it. I'm disappointed too. But be careful what you post. Don't keep sharing pictures bashing Obama and his family--especially when those pictures are from groups like "A monkey is smarter than Obama" or "Like if Obama is the worst president ever." 

Really? 

Hey, I don't agree with him. I don't like him. But I don't think we need to be sharing things from groups who refuse to be respectful. He's our President. He was placed there by God. I didn't and won't vote for him, but let's not share hatred. Facebook isn't going to change policy. It isn't going to impact the world. Prayer changes things. Logging off social media and actually getting involved in politics changes things. 

I've shared my political thoughts when it involved the military, but at every turn I've tried to be respectful. If I haven't, let me know! I want to avoid showing you MY social media cleavage. (I'll just invite you over for dinner and share it face-to-face.)

If you want to post a picture you think describes your feelings perfectly, try saving it to your phone or computer and then posting it on your own page...don't just share from a group page that may be promoting hateful things. Be careful what you publicly "endorse" online. 

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Keek, Vine......there a dozen social sites now. For the love of your witness, be cautious what you post. One of my favorite quotes on facebook is "Don't judge me." I'm sorry, but here's the fact: if you post your opinion online for hundreds (and potentially thousands) of people to see, you open yourself up to scrutiny and you INVITE people to draw judgements about you and your family. 

If you bash your husband's character over media, don't expect people to respect him. If you complain about his job, don't be surprised if his boss finds your postings and skips over your husband for promotions or weekends off. If you constantly gripe about your own job online, don't cry when you are let go in a tough economy when cuts are needed. If you don't want people to think of you as a complainer, don't make every post sound like you are whining about life.

Social media is a wonderful tool--as long as we use it as such.  We need to be cautious what we post so we don't reveal inappropriate parts of ourselves that should be reserved for intimate conversations and confessions with friends, our spouses, and family over cups of coffee in the safety of our homes. 

I'm not sorry if you disagree with me. I'm really not. And if you catch me becoming a whiny person who shares hateful things, PLEASE, privately message me and call me on it. 

Let's cover our social cleavage. NOBODY wants to see it. 

Thanks. 



P.S. And those groups that say "let's see if Jesus can get 1,000,000 likes....." 

just think about it and answer this question honestly: when has Jesus EVER needed social media to "like" Him? There are people being tortured and DYING for their faith because they love our Lord. I don't think a quick click on Facebook is going to help them or show your undying dedication. True love and devotion isn't measured in what you post online....it is measured in how you LIVE. 



2 comments:

A Wife and her Carpenter said...

AMEN!!!! Thank you for this post.

Talkin' Texan said...

(LIKE) haha

I agree. I'm so sick of FB I could puke! Oh wait! Did I just show something? ;)
And you were nicer than I might have been. Cleavage? I think it's closer to...well...to put it nicely, "plumber's behind."
I still look at Facebook ever now and then just to see if some of my friends or family actually post something real...other than something that someone else has already posted. I whiz through a bunch of junk posts, and then move on. What a way to wast a few minutes of my life.