Scrolling and Sweeping

Written by Shenise Gatson

Okay, I have to vent about something. This is a safe space for me to vent, right? Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s common nature. Where does it come from? Help me understand, Lord! I’m joking about this, but I’m not…LOL!

Where does it stop?

You probably wonder what I am talking about.

I am talking about scrolling and sweeping.

What is that, you ask?

It’s when someone posts something on their social media page and our hands scroll down the page, we pause, look, and we keep sweeping past, never glancing back. Like we never saw it in the first place. Or, in other words, we saw it, but we didn’t. LOL! What is that?

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You may be thinking, “Well, that’s only natural, right? That’s why we get on social media. To post updates, see what everyone is doing and what they are up to. Where’s the harm in that?”

You have a point. There is no official harm. But there is meaning behind choosing to ignore.

Sadly, the art of ignoring is something that has become natural in our society today, especially on social media.

There’s nothing wrong with the actual process of scrolling and looking. We all do it. While we’re at home, at work, at school, at the doctor’s office, at the car shop, at the restaurant, sitting in traffic, etc.

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The concern is when someone posts something serious, sad, or solemn and we, as people, just keep scrolling and sweeping it under our feet.  

Example#1:
A girl posts on Facebook, “Feeling sad. I just can’t take it anymore.”

Fifty million facebook viewers see this post, yet many people scroll and sweep. No likes, no comments, no attention. One person may say, “Aww, what’s wrong” and another may post the “praying hands” emoji under the post.

Example #2:

A man posts, “Man, I can’t believe my dad is gone. Christmas is just not the same without him.”

If five Christmases have passed since this man’s father has passed away, sixty million people take his post as old news, and he may get one “sad crying face” and the “praying hands” emoji. Or nothing at all.

Example # 3:

A woman posts, “Man, I feel like my prayers are not being answered. I feel so alone. If it’s not one thing, it’s another”.

Seventy million people see this post, yet one person may comment, “Praying for you!” Insert sad crying face emoji. Praying hands emoji. Again, I’m joking for play play, but this is happening for real real. LOL!

I’ve noticed a trend…..have you noticed it too?

I’ve noticed that happy or celebratory social media posts are high on the response radar for most people. If someone gets a new house, announces a pregnancy, an engagement, a night on the town photo, 150 million people like, comment, share, follow, posts GIFs, heart faces and smiley faces for days, etc.

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On the other side of the coin, when someone has serious, sad or solemn news, it is not always the same outpouring of support and love. In fact, I have personally witnessed people crying out for help on Facebook, and there is visual silence.

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I have personally experienced this. When my dad passed away, my siblings and I needed monetary support to assist with funeral expenses. A friend of mine was so kind and started a Go Fund Me page for my dad. I am forever grateful for that! However, it opened my eyes to the art of ignoring on social media. I remember politely pleading with social media friends to share the Go Fund Me page. Only a select few people shared it. It got to the point where I was begging people to share, even if they couldn’t donate. It….was…like….freaking….pulling…teeth.

I have seen people with hundreds and thousands of Facebook friends get ignored for a sad or solemn post. Why is this?

I’ve come up with three possible theories:

  1. Some people are uncomfortable with sadness or anything that “ruins” their mood.
  2. Some people do not know what to say, so they don’t say anything at all.
  3. Some people may think that, because this is Facebook and they do not know the person well, maybe they shouldn’t say anything and just ignore it.
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Have we stopped to consider:

  • What if this person is dealing with depression?
  • A physical illness?
  • A mental illness?
  • Loss of a job?
  • Loss of a loved one?
  • Loss of marriage or relationship?
  • What if this person feels alone? Doesn’t have friends? Or a support system? Or a family? Or a village?
  • What if this person is dealing with a crisis in their life?
  • What if this person just lost their home?
  • What if this person is experiencing a toxic relationship (familial or romantic)?
  • What if this person was you? Me? Us?
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I know we live in a world where the facade is real! Social media has become a place where some people have become masters at hiding their true selves behind the fantasy of what they want people to see.

There are so many people we personally know that are crying out for help. Social media may be their only outlet to get their voice heard or share their feelings. Not everyone has a support system; not everyone has a place to go if they feel suicidal or have a mental illness. We have to be aware, cognizant, concerned and caring. If someone posts something on social media, that may be their way of reaching out and sharing their innermost feelings.

The next time someone we know posts a sad, serious or solemn post, what would happen if we challenged ourselves to think differently? Instead of scrolling and sweeping, what if we:

  • Prayed for them? Really, actually prayed for them?
  • Mailed them a thoughtful card or letter?
  • Brough them lunch?
  • Delivered food to their home?
  • Left them an encouraging scripture on their desk?
  • Sent them a caring text message?
  • Invited them to an outing or fun activity?
  • Called them on the phone?
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I know some people may be private about their lives and may not want people to know too many intimate details about their situation. If you reach out to someone and they decline your offer, just know that you took a moment to show someone some love, then just pray for them or keep them in your thoughts. We are all human and desire love. I truly believe we are not meant to stand alone or go through life alone. Remember, thoughtfulness, love, concern, and care go a long way. Let’s scroll and love this February and in the months to come!

Copyright @ 2019 Shenise Gatson

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