Headboys, Horses and Social Media


Phew, it has been a while since I have had the time or the energy to write anything. But now, there is something I need to get off my chest. Sometimes, this thing where we can say anything on a social media platform, reveals things about people (and yourself) that would perhaps have been better kept in the dark.

I have this friendacquaintance,no, this person that I knew from school   (And this is where the trouble already starts; in our definitions of things on social media.) that keeps writing elaborate personal wanted ads on Facebook. The thing is, I am not even sure how we got to be “friends” on FB. Because I say that I knew him, but really I knew of him. He was our head boy at school so you kinda have to notice that sort of person, right? Nobody noticed me back then, so I am not even always sure that people who went to school with me will remember me. And I am pleasantly surprised every single time they do!

Anyhow, every time I read one of these posts of his, I wish I hadn’t. I mean, I have this intensely negative violent reaction to it. It makes me want to slap him and say: “Ag no man, get a grip!” Or “Are you being serious? ” But the thing is, I don’t know who he is. I have no idea whether he is being serious or whether it is an elaborate joke that I am just not grasping. But it’s like an accident scene…you just keep looking because you can’t believe what you are seeing. But all of this does bring me to an actual point.

The point is, we judge people on their social media posts. Come, come, admit it, it’s what we as a race do best! We judge others because it makes us feel good when we know that we are not the only idiot out there who has issues with life. We judge people because we do not understand their way of life, their beliefs, or whatever. We judge, because on some sad level, it makes us feel better about ourselves. The problem with most types of judgement is that we do it on limited facts. And this is even more the case on social media, because we only get a glimpse of the real person behind the posts. We only get to see a fraction  of the life that is being written about.

Which brings me to horses. I love horses. I have always loved horses and I have never made a secret of it. Now, with the aid of social media, I am finding people from all over the world who share my passion and my love for these magnificent creatures. There is one person in particular. Her name is Veronica Merlin. She is a horse-lover (like me) a writer (like I am trying to be) and an ardent advocate for the better treatment of horses in sport. She lives in Denmark, and I live in South Africa. I have never met, her, online or off, spoken to her in written form and she probably has no idea that I am.  And yet I feel like I know this woman. I feel like we could be kindred spirits. The truth is however, I don’t know her. I know only what she writes about! And I have my own picture of who she is. Quite possibly, if I ever did meet her, I would be disappointed. (Perhaps not, perhaps she could live up to this person I have built up in my head!)

So, on the one hand, social media is great! It allows us to know about people’s lives that we would otherwise have forgotten about (even if we would really rather not have known these things). It allows us to find people with similar interests and connect with people on a level that we could otherwise never have imagined. It allows us to “share” lost dogs and animals in need of homes, or head boys in need of wives.

It also sadly, allows us to compare ourselves and our lives to others in a very skewed, and therefore dangerous way. When we share things with others, we only want them to see the best of our own lives, and sharing the bad and the negative is not really the done thing. Which is perhaps why this whole “looking for a wife” thing has startled me. And why I love reading Veronica’s adventures and mishaps with her own horses. It may be a skewed little fragment of a life, but it is the little fragment that most people do not dare to share….

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