I've been doing a lot of thinking in the last few days. Becca and I took the rather unconventional decision of seeing if we could help our floundering financial position by doing some crowdfunding.
98% of the people who commented were supportive, and some vehemently so. And people pledged money too, which is just breathtaking. However one person was really shocked and clearly annoyed at me for making such a request. I was able to answer back calmly and reasonably constructively, but it has really got me thinking about values, and our perception of other peoples values too.
Obviously it is immensely encouraging to receive all the supportive comments, but what do I really learn from those, I mean of course I'm grateful, but backslapping has limited value. For me, the most valuable comment was the negative one.
What had I done, on Instagram, a curated snapshot of my life, to make this person be shocked that I'd made this request? How did they perceive me? Did I appear to be someone that despised the 'benefits culture', the 'scroungers', did I appear to be someone that keeps on silently battling through life never complaining or burdening others with my woes?
Looking back through my feed, its clear I'm very open and honest, but perhaps not in the most positive way I could be. I complain a lot about others, and I'm really Mr Judgmental. I wonder how many of you give me a by-ball because I'm mostly a good guy but sometimes wish I'd shut up and stop moaning. I'm always fascinated by the anthropological aspect of social media. I have made a lot of judgement errors with people on it. Thought I was connecting HUGELY when actually, because its such a 'safe place' where block is the answer, I think we sometimes lose our ability to self adjudicate our thoughts and actions. Are we different people on Instagram, than we are in 'real' life? Do we consequently perceive people differently on social media?
How can we not? As I've said a couple of times, its a curated space, you don't see the full on Dickhead Nick for starters, you see the Nick I want you to see. The man that paints his nails, has produced two gorgeous daughter and has a gorgeous wife, only does interesting things with his family and has a massive social conscience. Well that;s only part of me (albeit a large part). I strive to show the whole me, warts'n'all, but its difficult.
So, thanks to my dissenter on Instagram the other day, you got me thinking.