I've posted before on the subject of Social Media, and it's good and bad sides. I'm still in two minds - I love the fact that it's so easy to share photos with an ever-wider audience on the likes of Twitter & Flickr, for example. That Facebook lets me stay in contact with people who otherwise, I'd have no likelihood of staying in touch with, and whilst I may not have much to do with them, I wouldn't want to totally lose touch. Facebook is also great for keeping in touch with people who fall into certain "compartments" in my life - airshow people in the winter, Great British Beer Festival friends who live at the other end of the country from one August to the next. Instagram is ace for being able to just see little snippets of people's lives - some I know personally, others I don't, but I choose to keep my "follows" on there to a small group as mostly this means that I can keep up with my feed and don't miss too much. In part as a result of that I've been surprised how fast my number of followers has built up to be honest - but it's truly lovely that so many people like what I post on there.
One thing I really don't like about social media generally is the fact that it does seem to give a certain "type of person" an outlet to be snipey, bitchy or just plain cruel. The older I get, the more time moves on, the more I find online one-upmanship or spiteful behaviour to be completely unacceptable. If you're someone who regularly gets a kick out of making nasty little jibes at people, or patronising them, then get over yourself please - you are absolutely NO better than anyone else and the only person you will make look small, ultimately, will be yourself. As someone who has been using assorted online forums for a good many years, it's a sad fact that there have always been "keyboard warriors" - the sort of folk who like nothing better than sitting hunched over their computer firing nasty little jibes at those who they think are a) the most likely to be affected and b) are least likely to retaliate. Just like any other playground bully out there, they won't generally attack anyone who they think is likely to challenge their behaviour, and if in an environment where others are likely to see their comments, they generally take care to ensure that, if challenged by someone else, they can claim not to have meant what is being suggested, that they are being taken out of context...
Generally speaking whether online or in real life I do have an issue with people being two-faced. I'm always doubtful about trusting, for example, someone who is sweet as pie to someone's face, yet will happily slag them off to me, behind their back. Not nice, and it doesn't take much thinking to realise that person would almost certainly be doing the same in reverse! Happy to maintain an aquaintance of sorts with someone like that, but they are definitely never going to be someone who I will trust with my innermost secrets! Again, it sort of feels as though Social Media does facilitate this sort of behaviour too. A friend on FB has regularly had problem with someone on their friends list who is clearly acting as a go-between - passing information about him back to somebody who has been responsible for some fairly nasty online bullying of my friend in the past - and this too is having a huge impact on him as he simply doesn't know who to trust anymore. Considering that my friend has a history (which he freely and publicly acknowledges) of severe depression - that's a pretty low way to behave, and watching him crumble when yet another incident of this behaviour rears it's head is so sad. He's got the person who was the original problem blocked on every possible level, as has his partner, yet still the information leaks back, and he's simply run out of ideas to stop it.
I regularly see cute little pictures being posted on Twitter, or lines in people's online biographies spouting legends about "being nice" - yet oddly enough so often, the sort of people who use that sort of thing are just the people who, when you watch their behaviour for a while, are about as far from "nice" as can be imagined! I often wonder if they replicate their online behaviour in real life - perhaps they are the people who will happily drive right down a closed motorway lane until they are practically on top of the incident it is closed for before confidently barging into a gap in the traffic that never really existed. Can they be found on trains sitting in someone else's reserved seat? Or maybe picking up every apple in the box in Tesco before selecting one perfect enough for them - carelessly throwing those they discard back into the heap to bruise them for everyone else? Are they those with a huge sense of entitlement and superiority complex who stalk around sneering at those they see as unworthy of or too lowly for their attention, and being rude to shop assistants just for fun? the one thing I am sure that all these people have in common is that actually, I suspect their lives aren't anywhere close to as happy as they try to pretend - nobody who is genuinely comfortable in their own skin, happy with their life and secure in their friendships has a need to act like this, do they, so perhaps these unpleasant characters we've all had the misfortune to run across, we should actually be feeling sorry for? I'll let you make your own mind up on that one, but you'll find me making every effort to avoid them, as I have been, thank you!