I am, admittedly, a social media junky–and Facebook is my drug of choice. At home, nothing makes me happier than a house full of laughing people. So for me, Facebook extends that cocktail party into all hours and allows guests and hosts to transcend time and place.
Mostly we laugh and browse and chat and like. Sometimes we rant and rave and cry. In the end, we feel fulfilled, heard, validated, and liked (in the old and new sense of the word)
Tonight, though, Facebook made me sick to my stomach. I felt sad, angry, and betrayed. I moped around all afternoon snapping at my kids, avoiding my husband and in a word just being miserable. Why? Because two people wrote negative comments about me on a Facebook page. I happened to come across those comments by accident but boy did they sting.
I sat at a table in the food court of the mall where I was supposed to be shopping with my daughter and stared at my phone. As anger welled up in me I recalled the wise words of Michael Hyatt: “never post when you are angry.” I waited, digested. Then responded professionally and calmly. But, I was not satisfied.
The problem is, I don’t make designer handbags or bake cookies for a living. I am a doctor. So, when people dislike my product, they essentially dislike me. How do I NOT take that personally.
Worse, I actually care. Truly, and in the most heart wrenching sense of the word, I care what people think of me. The simple solution to avoiding the agony of being disliked is to not be so “out there.” If I was not so visible on social networks, I would not have any idea that these patients were saying not so nice things about me. I would have carried on my happy way. But, would I really be HAPPY?
I crave the interaction, the conversation, the impact. This fall, utilizing just social media contacts, I was able to generate over $10,000 for a charity in 10 days. I could have sent letters for a year and not had that kind of impact. A woman read a post I wrote about domestic violence and contacted me to thank me for giving her the courage to get help. I am watching my friends kids from across the globe, chatting with my neighbor across the street about cocktails later, and truly making an impact. All that goodness comes at a price. And it can be steep. I am out there. Vulnerable. Anyone can say anything at anytime–and they have the right to. The fact that I let that freedom to state an opinion tie me up inside and out for hours is on me.
So, do we take Facebook’s good with the bad, put our armour on and comment, like, post away. Or, do we cut our losses, say less is more and retreat to the old- fashioned world of Hallmark, email and occasional face to face contact? Is our world better because of Facebook interactions or are we just becoming consumed by every little red number that pops up?
Today I choose making an impact AND growing a thick skin. Now if there was only a way to remove that pesky FB symbol from my iPhone.