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Slowing Down Your Social

Patience is not often a trait associated with social media. Patience is associated with slowing down. Social media is associated with speeding up. It is the here and now of all media.

As I type this, we in the United States, are into our fourth day of waiting on election results to see who our next President will be. Social media is buzzing with all sorts of posts, representing all kinds of viewpoints, that show just how impatient we really are.

Four years ago, I wrote a blog post about how social media had been affected by that presidential election. To see that post, and the advice I gave that still applies today, click here.

Being patient is not a virtue that I have willingly wanted to learn, but I’m still being taught. The lessons I have learned, especially when pertaining to social media, I want to pass along to you.

If 2020 has been trying to tell us anything, across social media and IRL (in real life), it’s that we all need more patience. <Cue up the Guns ‘n Roses.>

As social media continue to evolve, we as users must do so too. Just this week, I’ve seen a large number of fake videos, pictures, and information being spread like wildfire. Let me be clear. When I say fake, I mean images that have been edited and changed to look like something that was not reality. More than likely, these images are edited to support a person’s or an entity’s political narrative.

What I’m NOT talking about are memes or satire that are created for entertainment purposes. If you can’t tell the difference, by all means, do not pass it along.

Exercise patience before reposting any of this stuff. Pause. Reflect. Research. Do not copy and paste. Do not repost. Unless you understand the context, saw it with your own eyes, know it to be factual, it would be good to sit on it a bit. Patience.

If you happen to repost something that you learn later to be fake or edited, go back and delete your post. We’re all human and get duped sometimes.

Refrain from jumping all over someone’s account because they hold different beliefs than you. If you don’t like what they’re posting, keep moving. You have a very powerful gift! It’s called the FREEDOM to IGNORE. Don’t be the troll who goes around social media sites picking fights. Remember, you are free to ignore. You are free to post what you want on your own accounts, but that’s different than responding to someone else’s who hasn’t asked for your input.

You don’t have to agree with everyone you follow or are friends with online. In fact, I really hope you don’t. That’s how we learn and grow. By considering others' opinions and histories, we become wiser. It may require you to exercise that good ole patience, but if you only surround yourself with those who look like you, think like you, and behave like you, you’re missing out.

Growth requires patience.

So, thanks 2020 (and personally, the years 2017, 2018, and 2019 as well) for reminding us to exercise patience. Remember it while dealing with people in face-to-face situations, especially during this pandemic we’re all trying to survive. Use it while online, whether scrolling for news or entertainment or for business reasons.

Work your patience like working a muscle.

  • Pause before passing along.

  • Sit and sigh before hitting send.

  • Rest before responding.

Like training muscle memory, sometimes tough, the more you exercise patience the easier it will get. I hope; I’m still in training too. Seriously, it does. It’s not a lesson I’d ever sign up for voluntarily, but I’ve had situations out of my control that have been thrown my way since 2017. They have required me to learn about patience. Evidently, I’m a slow learner.

Hopefully, you’ll remember to use your patience while enjoying social media. Tweet terrifically. Facebook fantastically. Instagram iconically. Whichever is your favorite, use it, exercise patience, and make it peaceful.

“To lose patience is to lose the battle.” Mahatma Gandhi

“With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love…” Ephesians 4:2

Now, go forth and be social, with patience.


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