I have been told more than once that I shouldn’t post anything political or even slightly controversial on my social media accounts because it doesn’t appeal to the masses. Talking about my significant distaste for the president, my open support of the LGBTQ community, my religious views (or lack of) is apparently in poor taste. As if my purpose on MY social media accounts is to make everyone else feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Apparently, it’s not about ME at all.
Years (dare I say a decade) ago, I started my accounts as a way to connect with family and friends. I used it as a convenient way to share photos, essential milestones, exciting news, and other life events with the people I cared about and I could do it in a literal instant. Just the click of a button and everyone I had ever wanted to know about our life happenings had the chance to share in our world. It was amazing… at first.
The whole reason I started a Facebook account, to begin with, was because I was pregnant with my first and I thought it would be a great way to share his life with family. To reconnect and stay in touch with friends as we grew apart physically and to continue to be social despite not being able to leave the house because of the isolation that would follow with a new baby at home. It was a way to stay connected.
I had also started a new career that required referrals and clients to sustain an income, and I wanted to have the best possible way to reach as many people as I could, and for FREE. To be able to do it while learning to adjust at home with the new version of my reality. It seemed perfect. It was perfect, for a while.
However, social media has changed a lot since then. Every time you open your feed you’re bound to find at least one person trying to sell you something, one asking you to “join their team!”, someone asking for prayers and someone ranting about family or friends that in the age of social media when I first joined would have been UNTHINKABLE.
Now, our phone is connected to us like some form of sustenance. They keep us alive and if we go without the constant connection for even a short while it’s as if we’ve lost the ability to breathe. We don’t know what to do with ourselves. Our hands’ gesture for our missing devices out of habit and we suffer a profound loss when we realize that’s it’s not in our pocket where it should be. If it’s lost, we panic as if we’ve lost a loved one.
This day in age, we wake up and immediately unlock our phones, check our email and check our social media usually before we’ve even had a chance to pee alternatively, WHILE we do that.
Anything that can create this twisted form of life support to my day to day is bound to share my personal views on all things. It’s an extension of me, and it SHOULD share my opinions and not just those that are neutral.
People don’t typically sit and watch the news anymore because 80% of my friends don’t even have cable. We stream our television shows and spend hours scrolling on social media to get our current events because breaking news happens on Twitter before it makes it to our TV screens.
So, in the age of platforms like Facebook and Twitter delivering all of the most critical news directly to our fingertips, it’s damn near impossible for me to not weigh in my thoughts on said events.
Also, why should I have to?
I created my social media accounts. I’ve yet to have anyone say anything negative about the pages I have “liked,” the places I “check in” at, or any of the millions of posted photos of my children or pets. However, I have had someone tell me that my opinion on a controversial news topic is out of line on my page.
Why is that?
I set up my account to tailor to the things that interest me. The topics and issues I am passionate about. And I share the stories that I find compelling or downright disturbing because knowledge is power.
Why should I have to edit myself or my position on essential topics just because someone may disagree?
I understand the importance of staying neutral for professional reasons, but when we are talking about personal, independent profiles I can’t see why I should have to censor myself and neither should you.
If I have to scroll past your never-ending requests for prayers for a secret relative that you refuse to disclose but desperately need the interweb’s help on, you can scroll past my anti-Trump post from the Washington Post.
If you are on social media updating your status ALL. DAMN. DAY. to convince everyone that your pyramid scheme of a side job is leading you and everyone that has signed up under you to “financial freedom” then you can handle my one post about why using preferred pronouns when talking to transgender individuals is important.
If my rant about the President offends you, well, I will first tell you I’m not alone. But secondly, you have the power to keep on scrolling right alone. If you don’t like the fact that I choose science over religious deities that doesn’t mean that gives you the right to try to convert me or better yet condemn me for it. It’s MY page, MY rules. Feel free to post your Jesus-loving, bible reading material on your page, and I promise… I won’t judge because that’s your business.
If my usual material is funny and lighthearted, that’s because I don’t walk around in my life dissecting major societal issues. I also go to school pickup and have a light and usually humorous, hot mess attitude because I don’t walk around with my stance on political and social issues plastered to my forehead. However, if something happens like the Kavanaugh hearings or Trump makes a move to completely eradicate an entire population of transgender people by changing policy, I sure as hell have an opinion on that, and if I have the chance to share it for the greater good, I’ll be doing that. Without any doubt or any regrets.
My account’s general content of my children and home renovations does not equate me not having any REAL thoughts. I DO have opinions, and if you showed up before I had a chance to post one, well, I’m not sorry. It was bound to come out eventually because why shouldn’t I be able to use my platform as I see fit? It’s MY page — the place where I share MY life, MY thoughts, MY ideas. If there is any place that I can be a self-centered, narcissistic asshole, it’s on my personal platform. Like you’re free to share your own beliefs on yours. So I won’t tear you down or judge you for it.
In the world of social media that we live in with exit speeches, mom-shaming, and idiot mistakes you make going viral because some smart ass recorded it and posted it online, I should be able to speak my mind in a thoughtful, educated and non-offensive way at the very least.
Although I do hold a special place in my cold, dead heart for the exit speeches. No need to announce your goodbye, because if you have a problem with this, you clearly don’t know me or what I stand for at all.
Even with the constant contact with everyone you’ve ever met with the click of a button, it doesn’t change your ability to change people’s core beliefs and values. Anyone that feels the need to tell anyone else how to run their lives needs a heavy dose of reality. You can’t control others, just like you can’t control what others think, feel, or how they react.
So I won’t apologize for what I post on my social media platforms because it means something to me. I don’t choose what I share lightly, and I’m not naive enough to think that everyone in the world agrees with me. However, if I have a chance to share and educate at least ONE person, I’m going to use that reach to my advantage and share what matters to me most because most of what I share is in the name of love, kindness, and equal rights.
My social media accounts are MINE, and if you don’t like them, please feel free to unfollow and kindly fuck off (but you know, lovingly).
Nicole is a divorced mom of 3 living in a suburb of Chicago. She’s a realtor, freelance writer, and avid late night social media scroller. You can find her work on a number of sites including Scary Mommy, That’s Inappropriate, Reality Moms, Fairygodboss, and many others. She uses her blog at https://momtransparenting.com as a platform to discuss her experiences with divorce, relationships, single-motherhood, and her journey while raising a young transgender child. You can follow her on Instagram (https://instagram.com/momtransparenting/), Facebook (https://facebook.com/momtransparenting/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/momtransparent1