Coming to you straight from St. Joseph, Missouri – a place I call home. Our homes are built on many years of experience. What appears to be clutter is often a memory of time gone by. Most of my social media ‘friends’ are from around northwest Missouri. St. Joseph schools educated me, work took me around town, neighborhoods defined property values, and volunteer work introduced me to a variety of people. These are the places from which I draw my friends on social media. And these friends determine what I share of social media.
It is not a great leap to assume that many of us have friends from all social strata, educated, uneducated, old, young, conservative, liberal, old, young, black and white, workers, takers, the disabled and the homeless. My facebook page has a couple of three hundred or so tags. Probably fifty of these are from my past working career life. Another hundred or so are from my volunteer life. Some are family. Some live in the rich part of town, many do not. It is important to remember that this is northwest Missouri – a generally conservative population. St. Joseph has a world class hospital and health care system, a blossoming university, meat packing, and various agriculture related companies. Our small businesses have been gobbled up by the big ticket stores of Walmart, Home Depot and others.
My volunteer life this past decade or so has been in the community of people in recovery from addiction. They come from all walks of life.
So when I ‘share’ something on social media who am I speaking to? Whenever we communicate with others we have some sort of agenda. We address our audience. We convey some thought in a manner that our audience can best relate to. My son has a master’s degree in communications – he probably understands what I am trying to say better that I.
Many of my friends are educated professionals, dedicated volunteers working to help those less fortunate. Many of my other friends are on the receiving end of that work. Some of my friends are big Bernie Sanders supporters. Some are big Trump supporters. Some of my friends are religious zealots – that is to say they believe their faith is better than yours. Some of my friends have grown up with prosperity – others have grown up impoverished. Almost all of my friends have strongly held opinions.
So here I sit, checking facebook, looking at some morsel of wisdom sarcastically defining some group as being less that honest, educated, smart, honorable, legitimate, Christian, and on and on. So I share the wisdom (ironically, sarcasm may be telling but is seldom wise). I look at the incoming junk from friends and choose either to pass it on or to skip it for today.
When I pass something on I generally have a segment of my friends in mind. I may be thinking of people with whom I agree and feel the sharing will somehow enhance my standing with like minds. Or I may be thinking of those wackos with whom I take exception and hope to poke them in the eye with the sarcastic wit. We press the ‘share’ button and smile at our ingenuity, our cleverness, our ‘take that buddy’ self righteous glory. But I forget that all of my ‘friends’ see my post.
While I know who my intended audience is, most of my audience does not. Most of them likely look at my heartfelt sharing with perplexed curiosity. But I finish my facebook time and go out into the world, satisfied that others now appreciate my great glory. I see some friends and we are all “Did you see that?” in each other’s faces. Each of us reveling in our genius.
I forget that my audience is so diverse that seldom does any one of my ‘shares’ impress the majority. After a couple of years on facebook I have probably managed to alienate everyone at some time or other. I gotta wrap this up so I can share the post.