I am on a lot of social media simply because as an author, I want people to know about my books and short stories. For an author to be the best-kept secret in the Universe is guaranteed to be self-defeating.
However, in the recent past, more then ever, I'm seeing my Twitter, Facebook, and other social media feeds to be arenas where people have become highly motivated to make people feel guilt and shame if anybody dares to not share in their ire about whatever the cause of the moment is.
As I wrote elsewhere:
This morning, my social media feed was filled with people upset over the fact that not enough people are upset over what they are upset about and since I, personally, have not joined them in their emotional turmoil, I am a substandard human being.
Come. Let us reason. Pour yourself a cup of tea and let's see if we might reach a modicum of consensus or, at the very least, agree to disagree like...dare I say it?...adults.
I have always believed of myself that within reason, I could do anything that I wanted, but tempered with the knowledge that I could not do everything that I wanted. There is such a reality as time and at the age of 60, my choices become somewhat more restricted day by day.
With age has also come the realization that I cannot fix the major problems in the world. I confess when I was much younger, my idealism saw me as a mover and shaker, but now I'm delighted just to change myself because there is so much that I simply cannot change in this world:
- The Baltimore riots
- The wars in the Middle East
- The increasing secularization of Western society
- Human trafficking
- The economy
- (fill in the blank)
Are you making an ass out of yourself on your own social media by offending the very people who could be your greatest asset?
Are you trying to avoid the guilt created by your own powerlessness by doing nothing but screaming about the problem on your social media?
Is your social media wrapped up only in your one cause making it the most boring feed you can ever come up with?
Do you have any life outside of social media, actually being a good example to your own limited and true circle of influence (your family, real friends, co-workers, etc.)?
And you know what? Though you may see yourself as a Social Justice Warrior (SJW) slaying all and sundry with the sword of your social media, I'm going to call your bluff.
Unless you are willing to dedicate yourself to the cause like Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi, you aren't making any difference by guilt-tripping me over my own limitations and my desire to care for myself and my family in the midst of all this turmoil. In fact, I am concerned that deep down inside you think that all you have to do is point out the problem in your social media and you are assuaged from all guilt.
Now before you hurt yourself by breaking your fingers on your keyboard declaring me selfish, allow me to say one thing more. Most likely, I donate more to charity than you do. There are things that I care about in this world and though I might occasionally invite you to partner with me in those areas that make me want to pound the table, I won't guilt-trip you if you feel called to use your resources toward another cause (and truly doing something about it instead of paying mere lip service) or what I am asking is beyond your ability to respond.
By the bye, do you know that a minimum of 10% of all my sales from writing go to registered 501(c)3's which are registered charities in the United States? What are you doing?
So, in closing, let me ask.
And don't you dare say I'm promoting self-centeredness. I want you to do good works. I want you to donate to charity. I want you to care. If you find yourself able to change something with your actual boots on the ground, do it!
But I also want you to remember one closing salient fact: