Social media does one thing to us. It gives us awareness of what strangers think of us.
In our everyday lives, we get to choose who get to be in our lives. We pick our friends carefully, and we have a carefully curated list of people that we open up to.
However, with social media, especially with the entrenched culture of bashing and “printscreen”, we get strangers who do not know what our lives are about, and who we actually are as a person, comment on our lives. We may also find some people commenting on our Instagram feed thinking that they will never have to see us in person one day, so evidently, there’s little effort for these strangers to sound nice.
Here’s what I think about this situation. First of all, let’s not be quick to label strangers displaying asshole-ish behaviour online as cyber bullies. Yes, cyber bullying exists, but when it comes to social media, there’s always the option of deactivating our accounts.
If you have no plan of deleting our account anytime soon, here are some thoughts about strangers.
It’s not strangers who pay your bills. It’s not strangers who give you flowers during your birthday. It’s not strangers that you turn to when things don’t go well. It’s certainly not strangers that will carry your coffin to the grave when the day comes.
It is, however, strangers who might mention you out of the blue on Twitter, telling you to “fuck off” or “go to hell” for absolutely no valid reason. It is also strangers who might find little faults in the little things that you say online, without even giving you the space to explain yourselves.
Friends and families don’t do that. And these are the very people that we need to please. Not strangers.
So, speak out all you want online. Be yourself. Be the best version of the person you already are. Let the words of strangers not perturb you in what you do. You do you.
It’s also interesting to note that many of the most vocal people on social media tend to be very quiet in real life. I’m talking about the people who use social media to pick on other people and nitpick. These people tend to be very timid in real life. Social media provides a medium for a lot of closeted assholes to reveal their true colours online.
If they can be themselves online, so do we.
So, speak out. Don’t restrain your thoughts. Let’s be as expressive as we want to be, online or offline.
If one day you find the heat unbearable, deactivate.
The world already has so much to enjoy and to explore, offline.