I made this discovery a while ago, but it’s worth sharing today. It is that social media have created a form of schizophrenia among those who are active on the various platforms provided by these outlets.
How does it present itself? Well, I have plenty of acquaintances around the world with whom I have had good interpersonal relations. That is, when we meet face to face we are cordial, even friendly when we interact.
Then when they sit behind a keyboard and send messages — even to me — they take on a different sort of personality. The Internet version of these individuals bears no resemblance to the person I have met and interacted with in the flesh.
Why is that? I suppose the physical distance gives them license to say things they otherwise wouldn’t say if we’re sitting across from each other over a meal.
Politics drives this sort of multi-personality trait I recognize.
I have friends who, to cite one notable example, are seriously avid fans of Donald J. Trump. I am an equally serious foe of Donald J. Trump. These friends and I have wonderful interpersonal relationships when we see each other. Then they choose on occasion to challenge my regular diatribes against the president. They write the most unusual things on various social media platforms, notably on Twitter and Facebook.
One friend actually decided to sever our relationship some years ago over a spat he got into with a member of my family; I believe Donald Trump was at the core of their dispute. They exchanged nasty rejoinders on Facebook. I took up for my family member. My friend didn’t like what I said. So … he “unfriended” me with an angry note that said, in effect, I could go straight to hell.
He sort of proves my point. He never would have said such a thing to me in person. Indeed, I long thought we were pretty good friends, as we would meet on occasion for lunch in the Texas Panhandle. Then it was over. I think it was a schizophrenic response that took over his brain in the moment. Sadly, we haven’t revived our friendship. I fear it’s deader than dead.
It’s all part of what goes with the territory in this world of blogging … which I continue to enjoy greatly.
Oh, and just so you know, I try to avoid falling into the schizophrenia trap. I’ll let others be the judge on whether I have succeeded.