It was one of those days.
My wife and kids went on a road trip that morning — I was to be a bachelor for the next two-and-a-half days. “Have fun,” Tracey said. “What are you going to do? Watch TV? Read? Whatever you do, have fun.”
Without a reason to head home, I worked a little late. Turns out, a little too late — I missed my train, and the next one didn’t leave for an hour. I grabbed a bite and headed back to the train station . . . only to find the next train was delayed. A hundred of my closest friends and I got to hang out and wait (in sweltering heat, did I mention it was hot?) for our ride home. I wouldn’t get home until after 9, the evening was shot.
This is precisely not the time to tweet.
But sometimes, it’s like we can’t help it — when the ball doesn’t bounce our way on random, meaningless things, once, twice, a few times, suddenly it’s a “bad” day. Woe is me.
Ten years ago, you have a day like this and maybe you call a friend to pass the time, or silently fume and wait it out. Now, we have social media — where any random thought stays in your brain only for as long as it takes to type it out to your friends and followers.
We use these channels to say our train is late. Or airport security is annoying. Or you’re stuck in traffic, you’re having a bad hair day, and the weather sucks.
I assume we share these things because we’re in need of some empathy. A small bump in the road makes us want to see if a friend can lend an ear, tell us everything will be OK, and raise our spirits.
But really: What’s to be gained by grousing about, well, life? Facebook and Twitter can be avenues to share things that will help someone grow or think. To share something meaningful, profound, or funny.
Maybe that’s why a platform like Instagram is so popular: pictures can’t really be snarky or gossipy.
“There are two kinds of things a person can say: helpful things, and hurtful things.” The subtitle of this blog comes from a grade-school teacher of one of my all-time favorite people, John Williams. It’s a great line because it’s simple and true.
Here’s to applying it in the social media age. Let’s aim for better.