The Real Fake News

Pretty much all I know about some of the people I’m connected to on social media is which sites they visit to get the angry pages they share with their friends (and that’s only if I look at the top of the post).

I don’t even know whether they believe strongly in what they’re passing along, or if something happened to sour their mood and a computer with a wi-fi connection was handy at that moment.

I know that people are more complex than their views on a single subject, and that even their views on that subject are more nuanced and layered than is apparent from what they might sign their names to and send out into the cyberverse. Nuance, however, is not well suited to the pace of social media, and so we lose access to an essential part of those around us, and we get an incomplete, “fake,” inaccurate picture of each other. This, as we all know, is a source of all kinds of nasty stuff, especially when we use that as a basis for our interactions out in the physical world. Somebody said once that the trouble with stereotypes was not that they weren’t true, but that they were incomplete. I think there’s some truth in that.

A small number of my social media connections create most of their own posts and for that I am grateful. Even if what they are sharing is angry or tragic or embarrassing or self-deprecating, it’s a window into what is really happening to them as they move through the day. Plus, some of what they create or pass along is funny as hell. I believe there is a basic difference between sharing hate and anger and sharing laughter. Laughter is healing. It’s the best medicine, or so I’ve been told.

And sometimes what they put out there is a kind of love letter to the rest of the world. Those are pretty neat, too.

Okay, rant over. I’m even leaving the oxymoronic title just as it is.

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