I’ve heard from a couple of people lately that they’re not impressed by the amount of negativity on my social media accounts lately. This came as a bit of a surprise to me, mostly because I hadn’t intentionally been more negative, so I looked through the statuses I’d posted lately on my accounts. I’d guess about half of my recent posts on Twitter could be considered negative in some way; if you look through Facebook, the percentage is much smaller.

So why do some people notice the negativity? In my specific case, I think part of it is that a lot of the “happy” posts I used to put on my main account have moved to other places, like Justin Russell Photography and re:bangor. And in general, I think people tend to notice and gravitate to negativity more than positive posts (this is basically the business model of a lot of cable news, actually). Still, the thought of being considered a negative person bothers me.

Looking through the posts made me realize something else: it can be tough to read between the lines on social media.

It’s been a really rough few months for me. I’ve tried to cover when I’m with people and when I’m online, but it’s there. There’s not any single cause; it was a combination of a number of psychological blows that’ve knocked me to the ground. Luckily things have gotten better, and I never reached a point where I felt scared or out of control of myself, but the fact remains that I’d been having a tough time.

Granted, the majority of social media users aren’t psychologists. But when you see posts from the people you know well – or the people who you may not – do you think about what might be going through their mind as they write a post?

Never be afraid to ask if someone’s ok. And in a venue where attacks and argument seem to be the norm, try to thank or recognize someone publicly for what they do every once in a while.

I’m going to make a focused effort to follow that advice in the coming months (along with other more positive posts). I hope you’ll join me.

May 17, 2015 at 9:20 pm
Hi! I'm Justin Russell. I'm a proud Mainer living in the Bangor area. Thanks for visiting! I'd love to hear your thoughts about this post in the comments below. If you'd like to stay in touch, you can subscribe to this blog's RSS feed or follow me at @justinrussell on Twitter.


  1. Columbus BrinkleyAugust 9, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Fudds First Law of Opposition: Push something hard enough and it will fall over.

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