I received a notification the other day about a new follower on twitter and the name brought me up short. Not because it was weird, because there are a myriad of odd names people are choosing to be labeled by on social media sites. No, this one caused me to pause because I recognized the first portion of the name. Topher. That’s my son. We didn’t name him that, mind you. Well, we didn’t completely name him that. We chose Christopher and a couple of years ago he chopped the name in half and chose the back end. Chris was too common and mundane a name for him, I suppose.
Now, at first, I didn’t recognize it was him. Up to this point he had kept his Twitter profile as his own private world. We were on his MySpace when that was popular and are on his Facebook now. Twitter was his. I understood. I’m on some sites I don’t want him on, but that’s another conversation. I had to look harder at the rest of the Twitter name to realize that it was him. He had just put the front half of his name behind the back half and inverted it. I didn’t even want to attempt to pronounce it. It didn’t matter if I could or not because I was just happy he had opened up that part of himself to me.
You may think that’s overdramatic on my part. It’s just a social media site, after all. However, when people are online they tend to be more themselves, not really hiding who they are because they don’t see other people’s faces. In some cases, that tends to be a bad thing as they bring their drama to everyone’s newsfeed. Facebook and Twitter seem to have replaced the therapist’s couch. Just because you can put it out there, doesn’t mean you necessarily should as it leaves a permanent impression in people’s minds about the type of person you are. Be ready to be labeled by what you post.
I remember when my parents signed up for Facebook. The kids freaked. “Does this mean we have to watch what we say?”
My answer was no. While I believe that there is a time and a place for everything, I don’t believe in hiding who you are. Relationships, whether family or friend, are about acceptance. You take people as they are, quirks and all. That’s why my kids and I being on each other’s social media sites means so much to me. It shows the love and acceptance we have for each other. It reveals the closeness we have as a family.
I know kids who won’t allow their parents on their site and vice versa. To me that’s truly sad. I don’t believe everything we do needs to be shared with everyone. However, we share so much on those sites that to leave a parent or child off would make me wonder how drastic their life was when they were out of sight.
One of the things I love about my family is our openness. We are who we are and we don’t hide it. We share with each other, support each other, and accept each other. When you have to hide a major part of who you are from those who love you, then you’re not being fair to them or you. You may not agree with their life choices, but you need to respect them as theirs and then accept the person for who they are, because that’s what loving families do.
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