Social media to the rescue?

In 2008, I signed up for my first social media account and I’ve struggled with the concept ever since. Try as I might to use it to it’s full potential as a means of connection, it always seemed fake to me. Too much negativity, too much hate, too much judgement, not enough sincerity. I’ve spent over a decade creating accounts, becoming overwhelmed, and then deleting said accounts only to try again in a year or two.

But then Covid-19 happened. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what to think of it. I’m not really sure how seriously to take the whole situation when the government tells us to stay home, avoid gatherings of over ten people, and stay six feet away from anyone who doesn’t reside in our household, all the while requiring my husband to still show up for work to his classroom of 35 students and contractors, no more than three feet apart, in a building the size of a basketball court that has about 100 people in it at any given time. One of whom was already sick and exposed but showed up to work anyway…

I don’t want to be a skeptic when it comes to people’s lives and so I comply with the expert recommendations, but all the while I find little nagging thoughts in the back of my mind that say, “this is dumb.” But still, the stakes are too high to give in to my critical nature.

Like pretty much the rest of the world (quite literally the WORLD), schools, dining establishments, bars, theaters, zoos, museums and pretty much anyplace where more than 10 people would gather at one time have been closed for a few weeks. We can go for bikes rides and nice walks, but the recommendation is to stay at least six feet away from anyone who doesn’t reside in your household. Only essential businesses like gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. are permitted to remain fully operational.

I just received word that schools will remain closed for two months. Two months. I’m not a teacher and yet now I find that I’m inadvertently a homeschooling mom. Thankfully, the lessons are provided by my children’s actual teachers, but it was a hastily thrown together and temporary solution. I’m not sure what to expect moving forward. We’ve made it through one week of homeschool so far and I daily feel like I’m going to pull my hair out or break down in tears. Or both.

There are so many thoughts running through my head. I’m angry, though at whom I couldn’t say. It’s not as if this global pandemic is one person’s fault. Mine isn’t the only life that has been upended. I’m not the only one who now finds themselves unable to work, stuck largely within the four walls of their home.

And now, I’m looking at social media differently. In fact, I find social media fulfilling a different role of positivity and support that it always had the potential to fill, but somehow always seemed to fall short of. I’ve seen videos of Italians singing together from their balconies, police officers (some of the lucky few with free roam) serenading citizens who are isolated in their homes from the street, musicians posting free YouTube concert performances from their living room, and celebrities reading stories to kids via Instagram.

Social media is the only socialization most of the world has access to right now and for the first time, I feel like I’m seeing the good on social media outweigh the bad. This might be the best of humanity. Maybe we were all so far gone that it took a worldwide pandemic to cause us to actually think of others for a change. Maybe there’s hope for us yet.

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