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You LIKED it. But do you?

Liking something for real often depends on the details.

Imagine (or remember) a world without social media. At this point, it’s almost hard to do that, isn’t it? As you can see in the chart below, we were already on different platforms before 2020, scrolling along, clicking “like” – or one of the other provided reactions. But…then what happens?

PEW Research Center. Surveys conducted 2012-2019. Available at https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/fact-sheet/social-media/. Accessed 3/16/2021.

What if it’s something you don’t actually “like” but you want to show support? Enter the “care” option, which helped – but still – at least to me – feels hollow when we consider a fast, efficient response to a complicated topic that can be riddled with emotion. What happens to you and to the person posting something when you click “like” on something you don’t really like? What happens when your friends and family don’t respond the way you hope they might?

I read an article with related video that talked about social media and its impact on our health. Do you realize you could be getting stressed out from it? Do you know when you are getting erroneous information? It’s worth being mindful of what happens when we use these different methods of communicating and keeping in touch. It’s also worth taking a moment to consider how it feels.

When someone is reaching out about a topic that is important enough that they are talking about it, doesn’t that merit more than a swift click of a button? Call me old school, but I’d rather interact on the phone, Facetime, or in person (when that’s possible) if it’s a happy, sad, or otherwise personal topic. As a professional, I will not interact with personal information because it goes against many things, from privacy to securing personal health details to not having the whole context to address what is being presented – to name a few.

A good majority of people using social media aren’t doctors, psychologists, researchers, or other qualified professionals for each topic being discussed. But first and foremost, we are, indeed, all human. Can we take a moment to connect at that level and remember what it feels like to get a hug or squeeze on the arm from a friend, or a sympathetic smile and compassion right when we need it?

Next time we post something or react to someone else’s post, take a brief moment to consider the goal and if the words and buttons we choose are truly reflective of what we know, what is needed, and how we want to be.

By Kim Kirchherr

Dietitian and ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with farm to table expertise.

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