I have a love hate relationship with social media.
I keep in touch with friends and family on Facebook, using it as a place where we check in with each other's lives in a way that we wouldn't if we didn't have our connections on Facebook. Without doubt, the circle of people whose lives I felt involved in would be smaller if it weren't for Facebook.
I use LinkedIn for work. I post stuff about leadership, mental health awareness in the workplace and the need for further LGBTQ+ inclusion. I have a fair number of followers on LinkedIn, and it slots nicely into my professional life as a way to get my thoughts on leadership out into the wild and also as a good tool to find candidates for open roles in my team.
I've been on and off Twitter and - more recently - Instagram over the years, but have ultimately given up on them. I don't really know anyone I'm interacting with, and all those people I do know are on Facebook or LinkedIn anyway...
I have never subscribed to the idea that social media is killing our ability to interact with each other, and find that Facebook especially is somewhere that I feel comfortable interacting with people and can keep up some social contact even when I am not up to doing that in person.
But even Facebook has a seam of negativity running through it. People sometimes feel that have to say something in response to a post, and don't seem satisfied with pressing one of the various reaction buttons available under the post; there seems to be a desire to type and say something in words. It seems that so many of these comments are negative. Even if they aren't explicitly negative, they can have the effect of bringing me down, and killing the joy expressed in my post or of making my sadness more intense.
This is something I've been thinking about a lot recently, and I started to talk to other people and realised I wasn't alone in thinking this way. Although - in almost all cases - the negativity isn't the intent of the post - sometimes it just takes someone bursting our bubble to bring us down from a place where we were happy with an achievement or an experience in our life or just someone reveling in the misery to push us slightly further into our sadness.
And so, I've pulled together a list of the types of negative commentary which get me down and - according to the conversations I've had - get my friends down too. If you believe, as I do, that social media can be a positive place for us to raise each other up, then maybe reflect on these and see if you do any of them. Even if you don't mean negative intent, you may not realise the impact that these comments are having on other people...
So let's kick it off with an obvious one: