Thoughts about people who say “I hate social media”

Hate is a strong word. I have to remind myself of that at times. It does slip out and roll of the tongue so easily, doesn’t it? Hate.

“Gah, I hate waiting in the queue.”

“Eww, I hate liquorice. Seriously!”

Generally, picking on other people’s feelings is as useful as poking into a bee hive. It aggravates the person’s sensation, it also changes absolutely nothing about their feelings. In the end, when the storm has calmed the person will still have a deep dislike towards the item in question, as well as a newly found grudge against yourself. So, silly you, why would you want to start an argument about someone’s feelings?

Well, and that exactly is the point. A feeling is the result of an experience – or even worse, an imagined experience.

The other day a friend of mine said she hated dogs. My friendly, timid smile and nod and the gorgeous big puppy eyes we were staring at made her redefine her statement. “Actually”, she said, “I was attacked by a dog once and now I’m scared.”

There. Fear! Fear is a reasonable consequence from such a trauma. Dog caused pain, pain equals fear and hate, hate is caused by dogs…or something like that. By hating the dog my friend is protecting herself from being exposed to fear. That makes complete sense.

When I was little and ate my first and last piece of liquorice. I was anticipating sweet, chocolatey sweetness. Instead I got foul, slimy liquorice taste infesting my mouth. Yuck. Liquorice caused barfing, barfing equals no Sunday afternoon swimming, which equals exponential boredom and hate towards liquorice. Simple.

The same applies to social media.

The other day my interlocutor at the time said (you’ll guess it) “Uhw, I hate social media!”. Which one Facebook? Twitter? Pinterest, Medium, Google+, YouTube, MySpace. Social media encompass a few platforms.

I carefully enquired whether she had actually been on any of them before coming to the conclusion of severe dislike? I wanted to define her level of “been” and find out about her level of engagement that goes beyond creating an account and having a look. Dear. My parents signed-up for Facebook once. Didn’t connect to any friend but me, never posted anything and only added one comment to a picture of mine, which my dad downloaded and printed for my mum.  Needless to say that my dad hates Facebook too. My mum kinda likes it, because she got a photo of me once….

Okay, unfortunately social media doesn’t have puppy eyes (perhaps try #supercute?) that sway you in favour of being “out there”. In fact, I could provide you with a nuanced list of adjectives that describe my torn relationship with many of these outlets.

You see, while I can see and probably share a lot of the criticism about social media, I do like to know what I really object to.

By saying “I hate it” I’m closing the conversation and turn away from any further engagement. To me, that exactly is the core beauty of social media: engagement. It may not be always mutually beneficial, enlightening, fascinating or entertaining, but it is what you make it. It can be a fleeting conversation, a comment in passing a picture of a thought that may lead to absolute nothing. Or it leads to something. It is entirely up to you and your silly brain what we make of it.

But that was lost on her (and my dad).

And because I don’t argue with haters I could only contribute one point to that conversation:

“Uhu…I totally hate liquorice.”

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