Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Note To Millenials: There's "sharing" and then there's too much "sharing". Know the difference.

I am a firm believer in social media. Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Grndr are all great.  It gives each of us exponential power to express opinions, share ideas, art and images.  However, as I move into my curmudgeon phase, or as the gays might say "becoming a bitter queen", I realize that sharing in the virtual world, is not really appreciated as much in the real world. At least not by me.  

For example, twice in the last month I've attended events that one would consider costly. The first one, was an awards dinner for two people who have done amazing work to fight for gay rights and have given a lifetime of service for the cause of social justice. The night was fun, both speakers gave wonderful speeches about service and selflessness. One actually went to the Supreme Court and defeated the national "marriage ban" for same sex couples. One speaker brought the entire room to tears with his speech about service to fight the AIDS epidemic and the hard work of getting marriage equality. 

So the night seemed to be coming to close, when a montage of a young attractive couple appeared on the screen. A lot of selfies and Facebook shots of these two twenty-somethings. Then you realize its a bunch of pictures of the co-host of the event. He comes up to the stage, invites his boyfriend up and does a marriage proposal.  Which is cute, I guess. It was peripherally connected to an event that honored people for their years of service.  However, my hubby and I did not spend close to $1000 to see activists who had accomplished amazing things being upstaged by a cute kid who thought he would hijack the event and really make it about himself.

Then it happened again. My hubby and I raised thousands of dollars for the HIV/AIDS ride,  Rode our bikes 165 miles from Miami to Key West and at the closing ceremony another millennial woman got up on the stage to read a passage with her wife.  They started to cry and said, "this is hard because my mother just died on Wednesday."  There was a collective "aww" sounding similar to the "aww" heard during the marriage proposal. She read her piece and stepped down. Did the mother die of AIDS? No, I learned later that she hadn't. It had become a topic of conversation with the riders afterwards. But again, the moment became about her grief and not about the cause.

I know this is nit-picky. But when you give a speech, or host an event, it's first and foremost about the audience.  It about graciousness and giving your all to make sure that they are comfortable, entertained, educated and or welcomed. Which means in many cases, means being selfless, taking your moment in the spotlight and remember the words in your mouth are not just about you. There is a delicate line between sharing a personal moment and just making a spectacle of yourself.