NAVIGATION

Accomplishments and Likes in the Digital Era

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Last weekend I took a 24-hour technology detox and instead of scrolling and adding likes on my Facebook feed I spent my time warding off blackflies, opening a camp in the Adirondacks for the summer, and cooking a lot of food including some we wild harvested from the woods around the house. I got back online to catch up on the Facebook world and see how everyone was doing.

Logging on I had three posts all right next to each other about struggle but all three had very different reactions from the mass Facebook world. The first post was a friend who suffers near crippling anxiety and PTSD who I typically workout with but haven’t seen at the gym for a couple weeks, struggling to just get up and moving currently. The second was a friend running an extremely long endurance race, who is currently in a rut, and finally, the last was a friend with cancer who finally was able to eat something and keep it down.

Reading the three reminded me of the struggles we all have in our lives. We all have something we are struggling with although many times we keep that information offline. However with these three posts the interesting parts were the reactions from the greater social media world. Of the three the one which was most commented on and reactions the strongest were to the person who is running a race.

The friend struggling to get out of bed each day had nearly no comments or support. The friend with cancer had more but still not as many comments as the runner. All three people I deeply care about and all three are going through their own struggles right now so this post is not to diminish any of the three.

As I read through the comments of the three I had to pause and think about social media and our reactions. The runner is going after a record and has received an incredible amount of support and I as well am hoping this person makes it. However, it was disturbing that a friend who struggles just to get out of bed each day did not have more support, the one who in my mind needs the most immediate support in the world.

This happens all the time in the social media world. It seems only the extremes get our attention online, just look at the countries political landscape on social media and quickly you see the extremes get the attention.

But what about the people just trying to get by each day. The ones that truly need that virtual hug and desperately need a second of our mind time. Where do they fall? How have we become a world that cares more about the outliers than the people in front of us? Maybe it is not that way and maybe it’s just the latest Facebook algorithm that is shaping my view.

With the new reaction buttons on Facebook, I find myself sharing loves more than likes. Loving even the most mundane of posts, the “real stuff” not the highly cultivated posts that are surely there for attention.

I have no answers only this stream of conscience post which made me think about what we like and why we like it on social media.

Margaret Schlachter

About Margaret Schlachter

Margaret Schlachter is Founder of DirtinYourSkirt.com. She has been part of the OCR Community since 2010. When not working on the next article she can be found running from race-to-race. She is Editor-in-Chief of MudRunGuide.com. She authored the book Obstacle Race Training.
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2 Responses to Accomplishments and Likes in the Digital Era

  1. Matt Walker says:

    Interesting observation Margaret. As I consider this, I can’t help but suspect that the imbalance in comments and likes between the three individual struggles has to do with our uneasiness in situations that are inherently sad or emotionally difficult. People often struggle to find the “right words” for someone who has lost a loved one, is seriously ill, or is experiencing emotional distress, and will sometimes go out of their way to avoid the awkwardness of those encounters. Online posts of that nature allow the reader to feel sympathy while not obligating them to respond – so they don’t. On the flip side, posts that detail a struggle encountered during the pursuit of a positive goal (such as your friend chasing a record), do little in the way of making us feel uncomfortable. Instead, they invoke feelings of ambition and admiration, resulting in a situation in which the “right words” are abundant. Again, very interesting observation. I wonder how many people read the posts from your friend with PTSD, or your friend fighting cancer, and thought to themselves, “I sure hope they’re okay,” but didn’t know quite how to say that?

    • I agree with everything you said and think you might have hit the nail on this one. This was one of those posts that I just needed to get off my chest and put out into the universe so I could continue to move forward 🙂

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