A month ago, I got a new phone. In figuring out nuances of the phone, I have managed to ‘like’ pictures I intended only to scroll through, ‘favorite’ tweets I meant to ‘collapse’, send three text messages when I only wanted to send one, and commit other delightful social media faux-pas at the most opportune times.
For my reason or another, I’ll take a gamble that you too have been in the “accidentally-liking/friending/commenting-and-hurrying-to-undo” boat. We want to ‘undo’ it because a) we actually don’t like the item or b) we don’t want the person to know we were looking. Either way, it’s awkward to ‘undo’ because What if they already saw it? or What if they think I’m rude?
So what’s behind the freak-out moment of the ‘accidental like’?
“If we have no peace, it is because we've forgotten that we belong to each other.” Mother Teresa
There’s a freak-out moment with the ‘accidental like’ because it reminds me that even if I’m behind a screen, I am not anonymous and neither are you. We are real, and belong to one another. But shoot, that shouldn't be such a surprise. I think we deserve more.
The antidote is tough to find, but I know what it's not. It’s not “go on a mission to humanize the internet by commenting/liking/reacting to everything I see”; that’s annoying and means nothing. And it’s not “get off of social media because it’s not real life”; social media is real, and can be good. St. Augustine said ‘abstinence is easier than perfect moderation’; in this case, he means it is easier for me to cut out all social media, but better to learn to use it well and manage my time.
I need to remember it’s YOU on the other side and act accordingly.
The following are so insightful. I loved reading them, and if you've made it this far, then you might too.
2. XKCD's comic 'The Pace of Modern Life'
3. Pope Benedict XVI on The Year of Faith, which runs from 2012-2013 (excerpt below)
“Among the most striking experiences of the last decades is finding doors closed. The bolted door of my house, the place of my intimate life, my dreams, hopes, sufferings and moments of happiness, is locked against others. And it is not simply a matter of the physical house; it is also the whole area of my life, of my heart. All the time there are fewer who can cross that threshold. The security of reinforced doors protects the insecurity of a life which is becoming more fragile and less open to the riches of the life and the love of others.
The image of an open door has always been a symbol of light, friendship, happiness, liberty, and trust. How we need to recover them."