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The Pandemic Made Me Mute You

In the last few days, I have noticed a strong demonstration of dismay, gloom, and doom from some of the people I follow. Due to the current climate of our times, I can clearly understand why some individuals are not their usual happy selves.

Yet, I do not know how some have begun to publish remarks of disdain of other people, place blame, and seem like someone that is brand new to my social tribe.

It is alarming to see someone that used to post animal pictures now post full 128 character manifestos on why others should die. I think that you are the bright and shining depiction of the company you keep. In this spirit, a person is also what they read, sing about, nurture, demonstrate, and inculcate within themselves. Because of these odd Jekyll and Hyde changes, I've decided to mute these few on social media until they feel more at peace with themselves. I do not believe in censoring how a person feels, but I don't have to read it or hit "like.". Here is how I am keeping social media connections connected during their Jekyll and Hyde tweeting.

1. Know The People You Follow

I have twitter followers, but do I follow them? Do I engage with them at least once a week? I find that talking with people often ensures that you know where their thoughts are online (at least what is perceived), and one can see if their entire timeline is about to go rogue. The solution, if I do not associate with these people often enough to understand how they communicate, I should quickly begin interacting more often with them.

2. Who are your people?

Who are my people? Are these individuals adding value to my timeline? If the answer to these questions is "I'm not sure and no," I may want to rethink who I allow or invite into my social media tribe. My online persona means everything to me. We have an entire network of people on LinkedIn, recommending others for employment and vouching for each other, so this means that image is essential. The solution, know who your tribe is and do not waiver from what you want to be perceived.

3. Are your family and close friends @ing you?

Sometimes, my family means well, and they will like or heart my posts. Yet there are other times when they may express their opinion on a tweet that doesn't need their expression. I can remember a time that a relative decided to use my childhood name to address me on Facebook. From then on, people everywhere on social media were calling me that name. It was something dreadful to read in my DMs because I had to explain why my relative called me that name. The solution, I keep my friends and family off of social platforms as connections that are not a part of my working persona. I can also choose to mute posts, but that doesn't make socializing fun.

4. Know your hashtags.

When I post, or my tribe post on social media, I ensure that I know what the hashtag means that I am using or reposting.

Many times I have seen people utilize hashtags that seem like one thing but can leave your viewers/followers sour in the stomach.

Do not be the poster that accidentally has the hashtag that connects to something that you would not be proud to share with your grandma or a young child, or your boss. The solution, hashtags can be tricky, and your followers may use one that is smart and sassy but ensure it is ok to say in public.

5. Your friends have gone rogue!

Some of my followers have decided to put on their Jekyll and Hyde persona, and now I have a decision to block or mute them.

For me, I do not like blocking individuals unless I see they are abusive. Still, here lately, a lot of people are demonstrating written abuse. In many cases, I have blocked them, but in other cases, I mute. Here is why I usually mute. Every month, I exercise what I call timeline/follower cleansing. During this time, I read through the content. From there, I can determine if followers are getting muted based on their publishing trends. I mute rather than block because times are hard, and people need to have a vehicle of expression. In my opinion, the post vehicle should not crash and burn on my timeline for me or for those in my feed to see. The solution, mute those that will not mute themselves until they have had time to find self peace.

Since the careful consideration of social distancing is at hand, and because I am actively social distancing in real life, the thought of the company I keep is on my mind. I am thinking mostly about the people that I follow online. I have a remarkable Twitter following, my Linkedin is full of vigor and vim, and Facebook, as well as Instagram, are humming along like a well-oiled machine. Thus, family, friends, people I wish I could work with, for, and around are all in their respective places throughout my social media map.

This pandemic has made individual members of my social media tribe turn into unrecognizable folk. The changes I see have moved my hand to mute many on my various timelines. The changes are unfortunate, but I know these individuals will see happier times soon. I want to ensure that my timeline on each platform I utilize has a happy, fun, and informative tone. Therefore I shall mute.

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