Wednesday, July 30, 2014

All The Things We Aren't Supposed To Talk About

At the risk of beating a dead horse, I'm going to write this, and I'm going to do it because it's something that bothers me endlessly and never really seems to change.

It's this idea that there are all these things we are supposed to censor in our online lives, things that can be controversial, things that can upset other people, things that might start fights, things that might offend someone in one way or another.

It actually seems to be getting worse lately because now people are calling others out for doing exactly what social media was intended for.

It's called a "share" button for a reason, you guys.

It used to be that we weren't supposed to talk about politics and religion. Those are, of course, still forbidden from mention unless you are a glutton for punishment like I am and you believe that this prohibition from discussing such matters is well intentioned but poorly executed and totally unrealistic.

Essentially, I don't think we should avoid talking about these things, even the granddaddies of the forbidden things list, because they are an important part of life and part of life means that we talk about the things that are important.

Of course, talking about these things is bound to reveal the differences in people. I don't personally have a problem with differences so long as people can be respectful of one another. I never have. I keep an open mind, I run an open platform both here and on my Facebook page and we seem to defy the conventional wisdom of the internet most of the time.

People really can be respectful of one another. Honest.

Not every discussion has to turn into personal attacks and insults. Reasonable people can share ideas and reasons and viewpoints and agree to disagree. Which is awesome.

It's not just politics and religion though that we aren't supposed to talk about, not anymore.

There are people who get bent out of shape if you talk about the fact that you're having a bad day, or if you have chronic pain and mention it occasionally, or if you are having a hard time finding a job, or if your child is struggling with a diagnosis or school or friends or whatever.

We aren't supposed to talk about how being a parent can suck a nut sometimes.

We aren't supposed to talk about how great our kids are.

We aren't supposed to talk about how marriage can be a real pain in the ass.

We aren't supposed to talk about how in love we are.

We aren't supposed to talk about how life is difficult at the moment.

We aren't supposed to talk about how we regret going into our chosen professions.

We aren't supposed to talk about our vacations.

We aren't supposed to talk about not being able to go on vacations.

We aren't supposed to talk about loss or sadness or mental health or grief.

We aren't supposed to talk about being broke at the end of the month or the beginning of it.

We aren't supposed to talk about our new cars.

We aren't supposed to talk about our complicated relationships with our parents.

We aren't supposed to share pictures of our kids or babies or spouses or anything happy.

We aren't supposed to be too up or too down. We aren't supposed to be too happy or sad. We aren't supposed to be too rich or too poor. We aren't supposed to be vocal about anything that might upset or offend someone. 

And we aren't supposed to do any of that because someone out there in facebooklandia might take it personally.

Here's what I have to say about that...

It's bullshit.

My online persona, my online presence, what I choose to share and what I choose to post, what I put out there into the doesn't have anything to do with someone else. It has to do with me.

One of my Lefty Pop cohorts wrote a piece about this yesterday and I found myself slow clapping along. 

We need to be real. We need to be authentic. We need to be who we are. We need to share what we want. We need to stop worrying so damn much about what other people think. We need to stop taking anything anyone else ever does personally.

My Facebook page isn't about you and yours isn't about me.

If I disagree with something you say, there's no rule that says I have to engage it. I don't.

There's this feature on your browser that allows you to scroll past that which you don't like.....let's scroll.

Let's remember why we are friends with our friends. Let's like the stuff we like. Let's decide what warrants a comment and what doesn't. Let's resist the urge to use the caps lock. Let's scroll on by the stuff we don't agree with. Let's get back to living our lives for ourselves and let everyone else live theirs.

Social media is supposed to enhance our lives, not force us to create some manufactured, falsely stable and constant, happy but never too happy version of ourselves.

It isn't supposed to make us hate our friends or make us hate ourselves. It isn't supposed to worm its way into our heads and set up some world where we are comparing our real lives to the manufactured ones that everyone else shares.

Be you.

I'll be me.

We're all flawed and imperfect. We're all happy and sad and meh. We've all got our struggles and our triumphs.

And I love it all. 


  1. Great post! I feel exactly the same way. What I do on the internet is about or for me, not necessarily anyone else. I'm Not going to put pin a show just because it works for some, I'm going to be who I am - ups, downs, in-betweens, changes, growth. It's all there for the taking. I don't play that game in my everyday life, I'm not going to play it online either.

    I believe in authenticity. Honest, straightforward, able to voice one's own ideas or opinions, agreeable or not - period.

    It's partly for this reason I do social media the way I do. It works for me, anyone it didn't work for can move on, no love lost (unless you're going to be ugly for no reason). :)

  2. Love this! I must be completely unaware of all those things that we're not supposed to post, because I blithely post away and share whatever. I always thought it was for "expressing oneself" and exchanging information that might be useful. I have no illusions that I'm gonna turn my Tea Party leaning friends into Bleeding Heart Liberals. But I like to share political things. Which led to my brother to unfriend me on Facebook last year. He, evidently, is one of those that doesn't want to see anything remotely controversial and didn't want to scroll past. Oh, well. But, yes, we still talk. But don't discuss.

  3. If you abide by those rules and don't write about the taboo topics there isn't much left to write about.

  4. I feel the same way. People can scroll on past what they don't want to read about!!!

  5. There still are some things you do not talk about, for instance in our small town recently there was a tragic accident and many it seems wanted to be the first to broadcast the news on facebook, They try to cover their glee at being first with comments like "Pray for the Family" also I hate the "feel sorry for me" post.


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