Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Honesty is the Best Policy?

I was pretty shocked by the recent story in the press about the woman who’s ‘friends’ wrote her a letter calling her out on her Facebook habits. The content of the letter itself wasn't shocking but the fact that they decided to do things in this way made me uncomfortable.

What major crime had this woman committed? Sharing her enthusiasm about her child a little bit too much for their liking.

It’s common for people to over share on Facebook these days. I imagine most of us have annoyed friends, family or colleagues without even knowing about it and I bet most of us have been annoyed by things we've seen on Facebook (my personal irritant is people sharing Britain First posts). But I don’t think it’s right to call someone out on it under the umbrella of ‘honesty’.

First of all, you don’t have to be friends on Facebook with everyone you meet. If someone posts a load of stuff that you don’t like you can unfriend them. If that feels a bit harsh you can ‘mute’ peoples’ posts and limit what you see from them. That way you don’t have to see all the things that are getting on your nerves.

To gang up on someone and write them a letter seems wholly unnecessary. Especially when they are just enjoying be a new mum, and using their Facebook page to share that. If her friends thought she was on-line too much, why didn't they stop and wonder why? Was she feeling a bit lonely at home as a new parent and found Facebook a good way to keep up with things? Maybe she just thought her friends would want to share in the joy she was feeling as a new parent.

Another thing to bear in mind is that we all share an edited version of ourselves on-line. Social media can get pretty competitive as we all strive to show our best selves, and what an awesome time we are having. It’s not the whole picture and we don’t know what people may or may not be dealing with offline.

I get pretty annoyed with people who prescribe to the ‘tell it like it is’ school. The idea that people use honesty as a stick to beat others is not something I agree with. Honesty is a good thing but if you’re using it as an excuse to be nasty to people then you need to have a look at yourself first. I think being truthful should be balanced with remembering that people have feelings and can get hurt by your words or actions.

And if you think I post too many pictures of my dog on Facebook then feel free to unfriend me or mute me because I'm not going to stop any time soon.

Best Dog Ever :)

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