Embrace the Mute Feature ... Please.

Just another reddit pet photo

So, I don’t know about you, but I’m really liking my mute buttons on social media.

On a general level, I think most popular social platforms have their own unique overall culture —

LinkedIn showcases skills and knowledge to build a professional network
Twitter connects in real time a global audience around broad to narrow sets of interests
Instagram shares visual moments of our lives with our network
Snapchat tells private visual stories and observations to our friends
Reddit shares breaking news faster than anywhere else ( as well as aww gifs and photos of pets — and virtual pitchforks to redditors who don’t know better than to post what they just posted)
Facebook lets us interact on a more personal level with friends and family from our past and present.

But for each of us as individuals, I think we all like something different from our interactions on whatever platforms we’ve decided to participate in — and that should be ok, whether it’s to make off-color jokes, engage unintellectual debates, share silly memes or links to articles, post every recipe or craft project we might ever want to try at some point before we die — or to share a gazillion photos of our kids, pets, trips, or shoes.

But if each of us personalize our own experience on social media, that also means everyone else is doing the same with their s — and that invariably leads to our own desired experience being disrupted in ways that we don’t like.

While some platforms like reddit tend to rely on moderators and user down-votes or shaming to manage misbehavior, other platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow you to block or mute the sharing of those who are using that platform differently than we want to.

So my whole philosophy on social platforms is this: if what I post is not your cup of tea, you’re not going to hurt my feelings by muting me. In fact, I’d far rather you do that than choose to disengage completely, because I have absolutely no interest in offending, annoying, or hurting anyone else over what I may decide to share.

And if I’m not interacting with you, please don’t take it as a sign that I don’t like you, don’t respect your opinions or values or don’t like your kids, pets, trips or shoes.

It may just be I’m busy, I didn’t see it, or … maybe I decided that I actually liked you enough to think you should go right on doing whatever it is that makes you enjoy your experience on social media without it ruining mine.

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