In Defense of Social Media

It's been a reaaaaally long time since I tried to write a poem. And honestly? Rhyming isn't my strong suit. But I wanted to write a response in the same style as the original work to critique it. 

This is a dedication to the Gary Turks of the world, who think social media is the bane of our existence.


I get it- you feel like you’re being controlled
and scolding social media is viral gold.

It’s easier to blame Facebook or Twitter
than admit that actually, we’re just kinda bitter.
That FOMO is hard to accept and critique -
maybe we feel like we miss the mystique?
Those days when we didn’t get party invites...
at least we didn’t know, so that was all right!
I can’t really say I felt less lonely when
I couldn’t email, just use paper and pen.

For some, each platform can act as a tool
(though reading the comments is usually cruel)
and it helps us feel connected and sane
when going through things that put us through strain.
Things we don’t necessarily discuss with our peers
because we’ve learned to avoid the stares and the sneers.

Imagine the queer kids, feeling alone
for whom the internet acts like a first home.
Imagine the folks with disabilities
This access means everything- for them? It *frees*.
Imagine being anxious and introverted -
Would you rather make them feel lonely, instead?

Seeing the past through that rose coloured glass
Might make you go viral, but also? An ass.

Not everyone feels safe hanging around
other humans. For some, it’s like being drowned
in expectations, rules that we cannot perform
and are punished for if we do not conform.
And that’s not suddenly because of the Web
Or because of some push to be a celeb
but because life is mean to anyone who
doesn’t fit some ideals. Many fall through
the cracks. And social media can be
where we feel accepted. People like me.

I grew up depressed, isolated, alone -
I felt sudden terror answering the phone.
If it wasn’t for Livejournal, Twitter and Tribe
It’s very possible that I would’ve died.
When it was late and I was holding the knife -
reaching out to my online friends saved my life.
It was through chatting via my laptop screen
I finally felt loved, cared about, and *seen*.
I realized I wasn’t unique in my pain
That I could be welcomed, no need to explain.
So if you are happier offline than on
Go ahead! Shut your laptop, paragon!
But don’t you dare guilt other people’s choices
and silence so many marginalized voices
by claiming social media is to blame.
If you feel isolated, ignored and distant
I get why you might feel rather resistant.
But maybe it’s more about how YOU use it
than pointing the finger claiming others abuse it.
My feeds are filled with honesty and emotion
which might explain why I’m expressing devotion.

Sure. We all make time for what we care about
Sometimes it’s with people and sometimes, without.
But it’s weird to insist others spend their time
Doing whatever it is that WE find sublime.

Some of us geeks like to argue on forums,
Many other prefer just to ignore them.
Some of us meet our lovers, others find work
Some deconstruct racism when Miley twerks.
We talk about feminism, talk about news
We reminisce games where you’re eaten by Grues.
Some people learn new stuff, while some others teach
I’m delighted this information has such reach!
We like to share art, photos of our kid
Sure, maybe we overshare what we just did.

But I’d rather get 10,000 photos of meals
than alienate someone who has lots of feels.
If social media helps people express
their need for help when they’re under duress?
It’s worth it. Connections come from all around
Both online and off it. They *can* be found.

So go ahead, and get rid of your smartphone.
I’m glad to have records of how far I’ve grown
and to stay in touch with friends all round the Earth.
We all get to decide what these things are worth.

I’ll forgive you your worries, your words and your frets
I’ll tell you this though - bet I won’t have regrets!

But let’s check on each other in several years’ time
Tell me about your life - and I’ll tell you mine.
Let’s test if pushing away technology
makes your life richer, or not - wait and see!

Categories: communication, community

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