I wrote the other day about codependence issues in regards to my own life and choices I had made. Today I was drawn to look at some of the things I've learned along those lines in their relation to the social media of the day - Twitter, Facebook, Blogging.
Recall this post about the ongoing kerfuffle between Chicken Liver and a few of the mommybloggers. Its an ongoing drama - CL doesn't like Dooce or Sweetney or Sandi and a few others, and she has a blog dedicated to discussing the finer points of what they do or write about (or do and then write about). There are furthermore a couple of blogs (The Takedown, etc) devoted to dissecting Chicken's posts (and sometimes the other aforementioned bloggers as well). Its fascinating and an interesting byproduct of social media.
The two-way nature of the internet has allowed Joan Q Public to make her opinion known in ways never before envisioned by mainstream media. Nobody got to append comments to Walter Cronkite's newscast. "Rich from Michigan here, I agree that Nixon's a douche, but he's a grand statesman. We should be happy he's our president and anyone who doesn't agree with me is a TRAITOR to America!" "Billy Joe Bob from Tennessee. Mr. Cronkite, unless we impeach Mr. Reagan because his birth certificate clearly shows he wasn't born in America, this country will be headed straight for hell in a handbasket!"
Blogging is in so many ways like writing in your diary, then leaving it open on your desk in class for everyone to find. Some people write incredibly personal stuff on their blogs, others write about their hobbies or special interests. Thanks to the advertising media realizing how much money there is to be made from the interest generated by these blogs, there are more than a few bloggers are making wads of money and gaining personal cred by sharing their personal lives on the internet. Hell, Dooce got famous for blogging about her job and then getting fired for doing so.
For everyone ten loyal blog followers, there's bound to be a critic or two. And for every ten folks critical of a blog, one or two migh actually share their commentary. And then there's the genre of blog critic that goes absolutely mind-blowingly APESHIT with their outrage over whether someone is "oversharing" or saying things that might put their children in THERAPY someday. Its amazing. But its not any different than reading the comments following a blurb on CNN Politics or the Huffington Post. We all have opinions, and now that the media is there for it, we want to share them.
What's troubling to me, though, when slogging through said commentary, are the number of people in our world who truly lose their minds when other people aren't doing what they, the commenter, think they SHOULD do. Should. What a troublesome word that is. Of course there are things we ought rightfully to do, legal and moral obligations. Obligations to be a good citizen, good parent, good employee. But when does this magical world of "should" start creating unrealistic expectations among us? When does the insistence on "should" start indicating mental instability on the part of the insister?
In 12-step stuff you learn right off the bat that the only thing you have control of in this life is yourself and your actions. You don't control other people. You don't control things. You control YOU. Period. The minute you get caught up in trying to control anything other than you, your life quickly becomes unmanageable. The 12 step groups (or their more secular alternatives) center around focusing on self and taking self-inventory. Taking inventory of others is not only discouraged, its pointed out as the sole reason our lives get out of control in the first place.
I can't help but think sometimes that I'm watching an internet full of codependents implode when I read some of the stuff that's out there. I feel sad that so many people are so completely unhappy and unhealthy that they spend that much time and energy spewing bitterness into the ethosphere simply because someone they've never met who lives 2,000 miles away posted something on their blog that THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE.
Its discouraging at best. I suppose any experienced blogger knows that putting yourself out there means you're subject to the return comments of folks who might not agree with you. And I'm not, of course, condoning internet censorship. I support wholly and completely the rights of free speech and fair use. I guess I'm just saddened by the depth of misery I see out there and wish, for their own sakes, some people would center their microscope on their own lives and hearts and minds and not work themselves up into a mindless frenzy over the perceived transgressions of others. It gets us nowhere, it does nothing to enhance the public discourse. Its exhausting to watch.
For today, I hope that people can achieve the wisdom and centeredness that comes from evaluating their own lives and focusing on their own behaviors and worry less about what others do.