With the holidays soon passing us by, a new year is among us in just a few short weeks.

Being 23 years old, I’ve seen the growth of social media since its start. It’s an opportunity to connect with old friends, share your favorite moments and stay in touch with news from around the globe. A quick hashtag or post on Instagram/Facebook allows us to create these moments and frame our lives in a perfect light, hiding the underlying feelings of a post that never see the light of day. 

What I’ve noticed while living in a small town for most of my life and now in Lakeview, social media has become a breeding ground for negativity and not exactly the positivity it could be. 

We’re all guilty of it. With just a quick type of our fingers across the keyboard or cell phone, we can share our thoughts with thousands of people. Unfortunately in a town as small as Lakeview and a County as small as Lake County, word travels fast without the use of social media and with supersonic speed on the web.

I challenge all of you (including myself) with the New Year coming up fast, to do away with the negativity and focus on the reason social media was made to connect us all at one of the most vulnerable times of the year. 

I’m by no means the perfect example of what not to say on social media, let alone in the daily life of reporting. I’ve made enough mistakes to know that every day is a chance to improve on those mess-ups, but as the saying goes; “keyboard warriors aren’t proving much.” 

It’s easy to rattle off your thoughts of an individual for all to see behind the screen, but what’s harder is confronting the issue in person and reasoning with someone in person. 

However, there’s a completely evident and positive side to a post. 

In Lakeview Announcements alone, I’ve seen the incredible support of individuals for causes around town that make Lakeview one of the most giving areas I’ve lived in. You back your neighbor and celebrate new events that give back to the community you’ve known to love through growth and hard times. 

Recognizing individuals that wouldn’t toot their own horn, or think nothing of the drive they have to not only make the town a better place, but the community as well. 

There’s support groups for people with cancer, or hiking groups to journey up the trails around town. Events made every day and thousands of shares of a marine coming home for the holidays. 

Social media is what we make it to be. 

We have the choice to decide what type of information is “published” during the holidays and during the year as a whole. 

The challenge for myself and everyone willing to allow themselves to be vulnerable and turn the other cheek is the celebrate the light in your life and regardless of your faith or your beliefs, celebrate the season for everything it is. 

I wish you all a holiday full of family, friends and fun and to take more than three seconds before heading to a social media outlet. 

Enjoy the moment and you’ll realize there’s more to it. 

 

— Garrett Shaw

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