Like so many of my writings, they come to me when I am in the middle of a run. Today was no different. I started to think about social media and its effect on us all during this time of home quarantine. With so many of us in isolation, social media has the power to do something great for us. On the other hand, it can be equally detrimental. Let me start with the power of “Likes”.
When we’re on social media, we have the ability to check in with someone by simply hitting the “Like” button. It can be a way of saying I see you, and you’re not alone. When someone posts that they’re bored or scared, a simple “Like” can give instant validation. Yes, there are people out there who collect “Likes”. Some people go as far as getting their self worth from social media. But that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about a world wide virus with unprecedented ramifications. People are scared. Please don’t belittle them.
During this time of isolation, let us disconnect, but stay connected.
As many of you know, I spent 20 years on the front lines working with HIV/AIDS in the late 80’s and through the 90’s. During that time, AIDS became the leading cause of death of young individuals in the United States (CDC). And while AIDS was much deadlier in the 80’s, the transmission is much greater with COVID-19. With that being said, isolation only makes sense. During this time of isolation, let us disconnect, but stay connected. A simple “Like” sometimes can do that.
As we as are learning to adjust to this time in life, may we embrace the spirit of compassion. I saw a meme the other day that said, “Let us not forget to stock up on compassion.” I thought, beautiful. Many have been so busy stocking up on toilet paper, guns, food and whatever else they can get their hands on, they some how lost their humanity. Let us take it back. We must not turn our backs on those who are having a hard time dealing with this. We can do better.
We must not turn our backs on those who are having a hard time dealing with this.
As much power as a “Like” holds, minimizing someone’s fears (especially online), can have an overpowering effect on someone who is already feeling vulnerable. Can we please not do that? Let us (even if it is for a brief period of time) suspend being mean or critical. There is nothing wrong with making a COVID-19 joke. Some people prefer to laugh as a way of dealing with stress. However to call someone out, is totally different. This is a time to level up.
One last thing I would like to mention. There are people who are not on social media. If you know of someone who is not, think about reaching out to them via a phone call. A 5 minute check in can often keep the walls from coming in, on someone who is in isolation. There is so much that we could be doing. But as for today, a little courtesy and perhaps a “Like”, may just be enough.