I won’t name names because it doesn’t matter.
On any other day, it could have been someone else.
But that particular day, it was a high-profile Catholic with a follower count to match and a big social-media footprint who got the whole thing started.
User 1 mocked someone — a stranger — who was in no position to defend herself, and several hundred more users piled on with likes and comments, maybe hoping for a coveted sign of approval from User 1, such as a like, a retweet, or maybe (gasp!) even a personal response.
That’s how these pile-ons get started, after all. One person tosses out a tweet and we all jump into the fray.
Why do we do this? Why are we taking a page from “Mean Girls” in our use of social media?
Is this how Catholic women support each other?
We jump in. We pile on. Maybe we even make that statement that starts it all. We do this out of our own desire to be heard. To be seen. To be acknowledged.
Can’t we find ways to be seen by modeling kindness?
Can’t our voices be heard more clearly when we offer a positive word? A compliment? A cheerful greeting? A joke that isn’t at someone else’s expense?
I’m not saying there’s never any room to be snarky, but I am saying you need to be careful about your target. That target is a person too.
Probably at first, kindness won’t get you too far in growing your follower count. But if you get (or keep) followers because you tweet mean stuff, you need to re-evaluate your social-media strategy.
Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more. (Luke 12:48)
Use the power of your platform for good. Please.
Otherwise, you scandalize the rest of us — at best — and hurt others.
And if you’re going to use the power of your platform to exclude those who don’t fit in with the rest of your tribe, then that’s a tribe I wouldn’t want to join.
Copyright 2019 Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS