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    Social Media Has Made Us Hateful

    Earlier this week I saw a post on Facebook from Marcus Lemonis, the famed star of the hit TV show The Profit. Marcus posted a beautiful selfie of himself and his wife with the words, “some things matter more” as the title. I thought it was very cute and “liked” the photo. I wish I would have quickly moved on from there, but unfortunately one of the comments below the photo caught my eye. It said, “So glad you are taking care of your mom!” In early 2018 Marcus married Roberta Bobbi Raffel, who is approximately 20 years older than Marcus who is 47 years old.

    Full confession, I’m not proud of many things I’ve said and done in my own life, but I’ve tried not to publicly run down other people or make fun of them. I’m absolutely sure Marcus saw these comments on his Facebook page because he responded to some of the more positive comments. Like a true gentlemen though, he chose to ignore the “haters”.

    When I was young, there were always bullies. The bigger kid that picked on me and called me names. For me, it was a play on my last name Henderson. I was called “Hendergirl” more times that I can count in grade school, but I’ve always had a strong self esteem and was able to laugh about it.

    The rise of social media has made this situation worse and today we can pick on people across the globe we don’t even know. Politicians, actors, and other public figures are attacked by “trolls” who say mean things, just for the sake of being mean. These public figures can either choose to ignore it, respond to it, delete it, or even block that user, but I’m sure the hurt is still there either way. It’s easy for us to say, “Well if you’re working in the public eye, you just have to be willing to accept this as a part of the job.” I might have thick skin, but I don’t think I could handle people talking about my wife and children.

    When social media first came on the scene, it was supposed to change the world. Suddenly, we could be “friends” with hundreds, if not thousands of people. We could keep up with our friends from high school and see what our college friends were doing after they graduated. We had instant access to developing news stories and could keep up with the times without having to read a newspaper. We could even keep up with the “private” lives of celebrities. 

    But over time, many of my friends have become decidedly less enthusiastic about social media. The more we’ve learned about social media, the more we’ve discovered that it’s not the technological utopia that we were promised. In fact, there are times when it’s decidedly a nightmare. Recently, many of my personal friends have opted out of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter because in their words, “It’s sucking the life out of me! I’m spending too much time on it and it’s having a negative impact on my overall mood.”

    In the last few months, I find myself spending less and less time on Facebook because of the negativity. I just don’t need that in my life. I do jump on there every now and then to post something positive or funny, but many times I try to set a limit and not be logged in all day long. I’d rather read a book, take a walk, or do something productive with my time.

    Last night my wife and I went out to dinner and I forgot my phone. As we got out of the car at the restaurant, I was looking for it and she said, “What are you looking for?” I said, “I think I left my phone at home on the counter.” At that moment it occurred to me that it doesn’t matter. Why do I even need it? I’d probably just sit there at the table scrolling through Facebook. I’m going to dinner with my beautiful wife! I turned to Elaine and said, “It’s ok, I don’t need it” and smiled at her.

     

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