Say what you will about the negative aspects of social media. I feel the same 'fear and trembling' when faced with some of the drawbacks. Like the great compare-athon, where no one feels they measure up to the glowing lives depicted on facebook. But like everything else, we can use our brains to filter, our judgement to decide what is worthwhile. And there is a lot that is worthwhile.
For me, social media is a way to share the joys in life, to send out affirmations to others, and to learn some great stuff. Not all stuff that we learn on facebook has any connection to reality, but that is where the filter and judgement come in. No doubt, the marketing gurus are using every click, every share, and every "like" in an effort to sell us something. But that is nothing new, either. More filters, more judgement. Getting educated in the process without getting cynical and writing the whole thing off is a matter of choice. And trial and error.
Early on, I shared more of my angst on facebook. Then I realized that that part of my psyche and my life were not for wholesale consumption. My dad used to say to me, "You don't have to tell everything you know." He always said it with a twinkle in his eye, but I realize now he was educating me on self-preservation. I have always heard that words, once spoken, hang in the air forever. That goes double for social media. Long after the cockroaches have inherited the earth, self-centered images and rantings will still be orbiting the sphere of memory.
I kept a diary as a teen, and the constant danger that someone would find it and know just how goofy I am was part of the charm. The best use of it was re-reading it as an adult and gaining some insight into my own chosen paths. The second best use of it was feeding it, page by page, into a campfire. There we come to the ugly part of social media. There is no campfire capable of consuming the words and images we have already sent out to the great public diary in the sky. The one others can read and know just how goofy we are.
I do love to see the life of friends captured in pictures and words on social media. And I know that, for the most part, they are choosing to send out the good, the positive. If we want to know the whole person, then face to face friendship is still the only way to go. I'm not worried that facebook will ever replace personal relationships. To love someone as a friend requires walking with them through the good, the bad, and the ugly. To love someone on facebook is like seeing a beautiful face in a magazine. I love to look at magazines now and then. But I also know how much make-up and staging went into the photo shoot.