My newsfeed of late is probably no different than yours has been. It is flooded with posts, reposts and shares of the tragedy that occurred just a few days ago. While this article probably does nothing more but facilitate the disease of emotion sharing via social media, I thought it is important to understand why it is, or why we feel the need to do the things we do. I am guilty of it too, sending a tweet out on the day of the tragedy, but ultimately how heartfelt are those posts?
Is your Facebook status update on how how you feel so alone really going change something in this country? Simply sharing your voice on these social media sites is something our society has become obsessed with. It is almost as if by not sharing your sympathies you are an emotionless robot who seems to pass through life only caring about issues pertinent to yourself. Why do so many feel so compelled to share everything it is that is going on in their head?
I don't think that you really need to share, or rather over-share your emotions via social media. I mean, how far does advocating on Facebook really go? We all have been deeply saddened by recent events, why do you feel the need to spread how meaningful everything is to you? There was one tweet in particular that essentially cut the fat and addressed what really needed to be said. "Rather than tweeting about how upset you are, why don't you pick up the phone and call your state representative?" In all honesty, that may or may not make a big difference, but it certainly is better than a narcissistic status update on how alone you feel, how upset you are, or how horrible you think this all is. Wake up and smell the roses honey, this horrible kind of thing happens in life. People are shot, people are killed, do you really think that people out there care so deeply how you have been affected by this national tragedy rather than worrying about their own children, families, or maybe even the victims themselves? I have a real hard time imagining the intense emotional experience you feel when compared to that of a mother or father who just lost their kid.
We haven't stopped either. It is almost as if people feed off of the emotion sharing and advocating for this or that while just attracting attention to themselves. Fact of the matter is that our current system isn't working. Call me crazy, but I honestly feel that no matter how hard you advocate or promote gun control, if someone really wants to go out on a murderous rampage, they are going to do it. The mind of a killer is something none of us can really understand. So why are we going out there and trying to analyze him as if he were someone we could understand? This killer, like so many, is a person that slipped through the cracks. These issues are not due to the accessibility of guns in this country, although that doesn't help and a gun is far too easy to obtain, but are more the lack of pre-constructed societal norms that would stop this from happening in the first place.
Kids are bullied every day for sticking out just a little bit. Going to therapy and seeing a shrink is something that freaks out so many people. I find it a little ironic that those people who go to therapy are often some of the most sane people I know. We are a society that is too fat, too skinny, too flamboyant, or too wrong. We don't focus on the good, but rather shed light on the bad and use it to make ourselves feel like we are better than the person next to us. The fact is mental illness is real. Rather than calling someone crazy or bullying them in whatever form it may be, we need to come together and change our way of helping one another. So while you go out there and post about how overcome with emotion you are, take a step back and think about what actually led this person to do that. Think about how far your little status is going to go in terms of a larger effort of stopping this violence completely. Rather than being a droid, be a human and start to change the way our society works.
If society functioned a little more like the innocent kindergartners that were lost, maybe things would turn out differently. At that age of such innocence, bullying hasn't really started yet. You say things that are on your mind not because they are meant to hurt someone, but because it is simply how you feel. Eventually we learn to trap those emotions inside because letting them out is something terribly wrong. We mask ourselves in built up images and egos rather than allowing ourselves to be who we actually are. We get so concerned with our own lives, Facebook posts, and status updates, that we fail to look around us and, while we may express how upset we are, it needs to be less about the we and more about the us.
Follow Greg Jacobs on Twitter: www.twitter.com/grecobs