Vanity Fair: Social Media Mayhem.

So, I’ve become more Social Media Savvy the past few months, nothing too big, but I use the YouTube comment section, I held off for a long time on leaving comments, I thought it was a waste of time and potentially dangerous.

(Which it can be, but if you’re smart, hopefully you’ll know better.)

Now that I’ve become more active, I have experienced what it’s like to get like…and finally, a few dislikes.

And so the trap opens.

Honestly, when I found out I had dislikes my first reaction was a mix of two things:
“Darn” and “Yay!”

I mean, you know you’re eliciting emotions when you get negative feedback. Whether the message was “this is bad” or “this is mediocre” I’m not sure, they didn’t say, but it’s a message nonetheless.

Of course I prefer likes, but negative feedback is still engagement.

I also have experienced a couple of those infamous comment threads that usually turn into heated blasting of each other’s opinions.

In all fairness, I consider some outrage justified, I just think commenting it is a waste of time. Commenters, unless they are asking a genuine question, are never there to get a new opinion, they are there to validate their own. It’s as simple as that.

I’m hesitant to judge them for this since I too like it when people agree with my comment, plus, some fans use comments for what can actually be very funny jokes, clever observations, and the exchanging of appreciation for the hosts creativity. I’ve laughed out loud at some of the witty banter, and it’s not like being typed out on a screen makes it automatically less clever. People used to write comically in letters, it was just more one sided then since you had to wait so long for a response. I like dialogue, so the humor of comment exchange works for me.

I think it’s only fair to admit that not all praise from strangers is invalid. It’s true, no one on YouTube can really know the person they are praising (unless they do know them in real life) and if they are truly good, but the content can be judged just fine by proxy. And though some fans really don’t know good from bad, plenty of them are well informed on the subject and may even be experts in some ways. So their opinion has weight.

In some cases when it’s completely subjective, all well thought out opinions may have equal weight.

In my opinion, that’s the proper use for a comment section, and kind of what it was designed for. Feedback, and so people could share their love of something that maybe no one else in their life likes.

My prime example would be music videos and speakers that no one else in my life save my sisters and maybe a few friends who I don’t get to talk to much  is interested in, online I can see a whole community of people who are into it and have their own opinions. Which can be infuriating, but interesting all the same.

I still remember how shocked I was when I discovered Frozen via YouTube and found out thousands and millions of people shared my passion. It seems like it would’ve been hard for me to miss, but as someone who rarely left my house at the time and had almost no friends, I didn’t have a clue about fandoms and that no matter how weird and obscure the stuff you like is, there are usually a few hundred people who also like it out there.

It’s part of the often noted phenomenon that the internet is erasing the lines between people as far as sharing interests goes.

When it comes to humanity, we’ll argue about literally anything. And social media won’t change that, thought I won’t say it necessarily made it worse, it just made it easier to do without backlash.

But what about when we aren’t arguing. With all the likes and dislikes, is it true we base our self esteem on this stuff?

I’ve heard this a lot, but I don’t credit it as fully true.

Yes, getting negative feedback on one comment, video, or blog post 😉 is temporarily discouraging.

But when does it cause anyone a real loss of sleep? Does it stop them from commenting again? From putting out their next post?

Rarely, maybe the odd insecure person will be that affected, but most will “shake it off, shake it off” with time.

Hate comments are perhaps more of a problem, but the rest, isn’t it just vanity?

We like to feel liked, even if it’s only for the tiniest part of our lives. For me, my fan girl is a big part of my personality, but a small part of my character overall. It only influences my morality and my more serious life in small ways.

This is both the blessing and the curse of social media, even when it’s used for harmless things. It sets up this image of  person that shows only one side of them, and people have to interpret them through that.

This is something that always happens in friend groups. People have a niche, or they have several. Those who only have one tend to be seen as lacking diversity. And often that is all they are known by.

People in drama often know each other only as dramatic, people into history know each other by that, the internet only made this so that it didn’t have to be face to face.

I don’t think that is a problem. The only problem is when it’s substituted for the better thing: more well rounded relationships.

When we hate on people in the niche for disagreeing with us about stuff that in the end, will just be a few years of our life at most, we need to remember that social media is, in the end, a vanity fair.

In Ecclesiastes, the preacher says “vanity, vanity, all is vanity” meaning, everything is empty, meaningless, in of itself, except for God. The preacher notes that man’s days are short and full of chasing thins that do not matter. That we are vanity, unless by some wisdom, we chase the things of God. God’s work, he says, cannot have anything taken away or added to it, it is forever, and God does it this way so that men may fear before Him. (Eccl 3)

When I am on social media, and part of my eternal bank account. I have always believed that God cares about all aspects of my life, and that means anything cab e used by Him to grow me. How I handle hate in the internet world included. I can practice biblical principles in every are of my life.

And I can follow them in choosing what I will be a fan of, and it strengthens m convictions.

But I have to guard against what would weaken them too, because the problem with vanity, is that we all can be vain. We all can fall for appearances, smoke and mirror,s what glitters but is not gold.

I look for the gold, I try not to be blinded by glitter.

In the end, it’s just fuel for my fire, helping me to stay passionate.

Until next time–Natasha.

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