I hate that I’m addicted to Twitter.
There, I said it. It’s already bad enough that there are moments (see: a lot) that my wife will hide my iPhone so I can’t check Twitter.
It’s my nervous twitch. A third wheel.
I’m addicted to Twitter because I’m fascinated by the interactions between people who seemingly don’t know each other. Social media and Twitter is a great place to exchange ideas, have a civil discourse with others and follow the course of events and news in real time.
Twitter has opened the door for personal accomplishment — helping me land my current job at Miami — and develop connections that have resulted in both personal and professional relationships.
That’s the good of Twitter.
Unfortunately, Twitter — or, more accurately, the users of Twitter — have a dark side. For every good-intentioned tweet or Twitter user, there is a bad one. Then I ask myself: When did we become a society full of so much hate?
Twitter and social media didn’t create human behavior, it has only exposed it for the world to see.
It’s sad, it’s scary, and it’s disheartening.
There are many people who just can’t stand to share joy with others. If they are miserable, then they want us to be miserable.
ESPN sideline reporter Sam Ponder, who I met when she was still Samantha Steele and working for FOX College Sports, wrote a heartfelt, eye-opening blog of how lies have overtaken truth on Twitter — and how people she doesn’t even know have said some pretty awful things about her.
Social media has allowed all of us to share our thoughts and ideas with the world. That’s a good thing. That bad thing? Social media has allowed all of us to share our thoughts and ideas with the world…seemingly without accountability.
It makes some days harder than others.
I have battled my own insecurities and depression for the better part of 15 years. Growing up, I allowed other people’s opinions define who I was as a person. Even though I’m a successful 31-year-old with a good job, a good education, a beautiful wife and two beautiful kids, I still allow others to define me.
As Sam so eloquently stated: “We let broken people…tell us how broken we are.”
Why are we so hateful to others WE DON’T EVEN KNOW? Why are we so quick to force our opinions and viewpoints on others? Does that make us feel better about our own insecurities?
Hate has permeated social media. Angry fans now tweet death threats and various levels of vitriol (from the G-rated “You suck” to the NC-17 rated profanity-laced tirades) to high school athletes, college student-athletes and pro athletes after losses and injuries.
Why so much hate?
I was picked on as a kid.
I was picked on as an adult. Those that picked on me fed off my low esteem and low self-image. They capitalized. In fact, I’m still the subject of mindless “sub-tweets”. I didn’t even know what the hell those were until recently.
At one time in my life, I was angry because I was the source of other people’s ire. I hated that feeling. I vowed to change. How do we avoid all of this? The answer is: we can’t.
Every day, I want to improve myself — mentally, personally and professionally. The only way to do that in the digital age is to block out the negative and accentuate the positive.
It’s not easy.
Even some of the positive quotes and comments I tweet elicit negative feedback or “sub-tweets”. Some people are more comfortable being full of anger.
All I want in life is to be happy with myself.
There have been days I’ve wanted to give up, but I pick myself up and move forward.
* ever give up
* let fear keep you from your goals
* allow the opinion of others to define u
* confuse fame w/ success
* stop improving
Don’t waste your time and energy on the envious and bitter. Invest your time and energy on the humble and grateful.
Chris Yandle is the Assistant AD for Communications at the University of Miami. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisYandle.