Social media: our window to the world

April 12, 2024


The complexities of life are on display every day in our social media feeds. Social media really are a window to the world. And just like any window, sometimes they show us stark truths.

Full disclosure: I’ve come to see social media as a negative force in our society. That’s right. At the same time, they show do show us worlds we wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. The human condition is always on display.

Real needs vs. scams

How about those posts from Facebook friends who have fallen on hard times? Some of these are folks just need a hand for a moment in their lives. I’ve donated to many a worthwhile Go Fund Me. There’s so much need that often, I wish I could do more because, there but for the grace of God go any of us, including me.

But for others, need is a bottomless pit. There’s a reason for that, as you’ll see:

Other times, we’ll see scammers and manipulators. People with a sad story they tell repeatedly week after week as they ask for money. Sometimes daily. Or who don’t ask directly but are cunning about how they make people feel sorry for them so that they’ll get gifts and money.

The problem is that most are real needs. But it’s a hole that can never be filled in the broken systems of our society.

It gives me hope that so many people are willing to help. Some who don’t have much themselves.

Are those problems real?

These people who post their problems constantly may not be consciously trying to manipulate us. Sometimes it’s a sign of emotional issues that a Go Fund Me can’t solve. There really are money issues, but it doesn’t stop there. They lack any kind of emotional support in their lives. No true friends or family.

Social media are their support.

Some simply can not get a grip on their situation, whether it be health or financial. Some are paying the consequences of bad life decisions that are too late to turn around. I feel for them. But I know I can’t fix it. None of us can.

Courageous and inspirational people abound

I follow an equal number of inspirational people. The young mom diagnosed with ALS and given a death sentence who is using her social media to inspire. A very sick woman who posts more positives about her life than the many negatives. Who sees the glass as half full, not half empty even as she copes with ailments that would’ve taken most of us down. Sometimes, I wonder how they do it.

Then, I realize that they’ve made a choice about how to face their horrible challenges. I always wonder if I could rise to the challenge as they have.

So yes, social media really represent a continuum with the horrible sad stories on one end and the inspirational on the other.

Here’s the problem:

Our system is broken. People without means can not get some of the help they need.  There’s no effective safety net for people who are truly in trouble. Our medical and insurance systems are completely broken, too. Those are the people who have the saddest stories and who keep asking the rest of us for money to help. But we are not responsible for making up for the shortfalls of our system–we have enough to do taking care of ourselves. That hole can never be filled because the system is completely dysfunctional.

I’ve noticed that the inspirational folks do not ask for financial support and I assume that they have insurance and family support. That’s the solid base for their positive attitudes. Those who do not? They need help. They need a system that works.

But there are also those on hard times who don’t take responsibility for decisions they made about their lives. The work they chose to do. Retiring while still able bodied and relatively young. Those who have made irresponsible choices, themselves, and try to get others to fill the gap now. That’s hard for me to swallow.

If it weren’t for social media, I’d never see these attitudes so up close and personal. I’m not so sure the social media window to the world a good thing. What do you think?

6 comments on “Social media: our window to the world
  1. Social media is definately an eye-opener into the lives of the people we THOUGHT we knew!

  2. Alana says:

    The best of humanity, sometimes. The worst of humanity, too often. I’ve seen people I know “in real life” on social media and and realized I didn’t know them at all. They hide their true selves in person but let the bad parts of themselves out on social media. Perhaps, come to think of it, social media isn’t always a bad thing.

  3. Abbas Abdulmalik says:

    I’ve come to realize that sometimes you get good information from bad sources, and bad information from good sources. Just be on the lookout.

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