The 2020 social media roller coaster

Nancy Pelosi tears up SOTU speech. White House Pool photo.

Like the weather, what is hot today is cold tomorrow

By Bruce Hartley
Life Columnist

2020 has been a wild ride as my January focused on my elopement, honeymoon and reception. Thank you to everyone who has supported Bill and me as we became “husbears.”

We are still celebrating The Chiefs Superbowl win. The football game was thrilling and suspenseful. Social media went nuts following the game with crazy postings from happy Chiefs fans to several posts centered around the half time entertainment. “Football fallacies” were the first sign that social media may be wild this year.

I was shocked to read social media comments about how the half time show not being family-friendly. Personally, I enjoyed the Latina culture displayed by dance, costumes, lights and music. I saw a lovely representation of culture and strength by all entertainers on stage.

The next thing that surprised me was the social media post by President Trump congratulating, “the great state of Kansas” for the win. As a born and raised Missourian, I know the Chiefs are from Kansas City, Missouri, which is exactly where you will find their stadium.

Trump’s Twitter post is an example of why a President should not waste time on social media and should have all facts checked before posting anything. I train students to be professional strategic communication practitioners and do not understand why Trump curates his social media.  

Social media continued “going bananas” during February with the coverage of the impeachment hearings, trial and the State of the Union speech. I have not seen so much division on social media since the 2016 election.

And now, it’s coronavirus, or COVID-19 concerns.

However, we cannot ignore the massive amount of social media posts flooding the web after Trump refused to shake hands with the Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House during State of the Union speech. This snub was overshadowed by Pelosi ripping each page of the State of the Union speech behind Trump as he wrapped up his live speech.

I have attempted to ignore political discussions since the 2016 election, and I could not stay quiet as I read so many negative postings. I tried to contribute and balance the negative social media posts and found myself in strings of comments.

One thing I learned following the Pelosi “speech ripping event” is that everyone saw it differently. We all have different frames of reference. Lines have been drawn by political parties clearly, and this trickles down to our friendship circles.

We can debate nature or nurture in what influences our beliefs, but at the end of the day, we all have different realities.

Social media perpetuates virtual realities, and we need to take a breath before commenting on our virtual or real-life friend’s social media platforms.  We need to have all kinds of friends (LGBTQ, allies, conservative, moderate, liberal, etc.), and like Trump, we should make good decisions before posting comments.

My personal communication objective for 2020 is to encourage others and educate people at the same time. This practice is tricky and will take repetition to get it right.

Social media will be challenging as we approach the Democrat and Republican Primary and Presidential elections during 2020. It will be a wild ride as inch closer to the November election. I challenge all citizens- especially LGBTQ, allies and all minorities to register to vote and turn out in record numbers for all 2020 elections. I believe that voting is the best thing we can do to help our country become a loving and more kind nation again.

Finally, we cannot forget the epic snow event in Oklahoma in February. The snow was a treat for this old professor who had not had a snow day off in years.

The best part of being an Okie is the fact that Oklahoma weather changes frequently, and, like social media, what is hot today is cold tomorrow.