Life,  Philosophy

I’m taking a break from social media.

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A personal break, for a week or so at least, maybe longer.

I’ll continue to post and interact on an author level on my FB page and a little on Twitter and Instagram, and there are a couple of closed groups for martial arts that will stay on the check list, but beyond the take the birthday reminders that Facebook gives me, I’ve had enough personal social media for a while. I’m good for now, thanks.

Why, you ask?

I suppose there are lots of reasons, but as time goes on during this pandemic and the altered reality we’re getting from it, I’m coming up with four trends I dislike in my personal experience.

  1. The Trolls. People posting crap or delivering deliberately inflammatory comments to see what kind of reaction they get or specifically to start fights. This is moving beyond drive-bys on pages to people in my friends list who are trying to entertain themselves. When you point that out, whether by meme or comment, it tends to disappear. When you try to be the voice of reason, the comments don’t disappear but instead you get a target painted on you. Seriously, if all you want is conflict, eventually, I’m going to follow the path of Snooze or even Unfollow, and I’ve lost your voice, probably having decided I didn’t need it that badly.
  2. The Lies and Alternative Truths, some of which real, thinking people actually believe. I don’t care if something agrees with what you already think and I don’t care how sincerely held that belief is. I care if you’re willing to discuss it rationally with the possibility that either one of us might change their opinion due to the actual facts involved. If you’re not entering into a conversation where that’s possible for you, why do you think I want to participate? The right to express what you want doesn’t come with the right to have an audience for it. Could be an Unfollow in the future here, too. It’s tiring.
  3. The advertising. TBH, the algorithms employed to show me things that I might like, suck, especially on Facebook. FB, for example, gives me a range of seven possible reactions now and treat them all as if I Like everything I touch. There’s no reason to show me more things like the ones that made me angry or sad except if it’s somehow better for your platform if you get me riled up. Why is that? So I stay longer? Hmm. How would that benefit you unless it’s to keep me around to look at more advertising. Do you mean, gasp, I’m the product?
  4. I find myself hate-scrolling too much. The feed is infinite and if I’m using it as a time killer, I should be finding other ways to amuse myself, maybe by finding constructive things to do. Instead, I just keep scrolling and hate that I’m doing it. Especially since, sooner or later, it’s going to drag me into an emotional reaction over something in points 1, 2, and/or 3 that I really didn’t need. Looking around at the world, I have enough things to be angry about in the real world. Why do I need more from my social media?

In the society we’re currently living in, in-person socialization is a lot harder than it was. That’s not going away for a while yet. Virtual is how we round things out, but it’s not working for me right now. I doubt I’m the only one.

Social media has so much power and potential. Why are we wasting so much of it? I feel like I’m helping waste it, so I need a break.

In a moment of delicious irony, I’ll be cross-posting this to my personal account before I Felicia my way off screen. If you’re seeing this from there and have any interest in what my creative endeavors are bringing me to lately, give my author page a like or follow me on Twitter. Everything I write about appears there fairly quickly, and I think I’m pretty responsive (well, not as much on Twitter). Instagram is more life and pets. Some of the stuff that I write about isn’t directly about my creative work—politics, life, pets, opinions—and things get more nuanced, like this tiny essay which posted by itself on social media would have gotten boiled down to something like: “Personal social media is bad for me right now and I think I need a break.” Not wrong, but hardly a real picture of what I’m thinking.

In the meantime, I’ll get some time back, assist my mental health and stress level a little more, and keep reconnecting with meat-space.

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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