Some of you are probably reading this on the heels of my posts on Facebook today about my intent to close down the pages that I have managed and start limiting my time and presence on that platform in general. If that’s how you found this and why you’re here – thank you.
Mostly I’m thanking you for taking the chance and adding one more thing to your browsing habits on whatever interval feels least burdensome to you. Once a day, once a week, whenever it occurs to you… it doesn’t matter to me, I know it can be a hassle to keep up with.
Facebook and other social media outlets have made it extremely convenient to check-up on the things that we are interested in. It was essential to their growth, survival and financial wellbeing to make it easy for us to open one or two apps on our phones, or a website on our computers, and scroll through a whole “feed” of things that might interest us.
For a while that made sense. It was convenient. It was simple. It was a one-stop shopping experience with an express lane for keeping tabs on what was new with family, friends, organizations, causes and pastimes that were important to us. But then the people behind the scenes realized that while they had our attention they could begin to manipulate us to buy things or care more, or less, about the things they wanted us to buy or care (less) for.
I think most of us tolerated that, for the most part, when they were trying to influence our choice in soft drink or dishwashing soap. My tolerance for it began to erode very quickly when self-anointed “fact checkers” began to interpret the news for me in ways that they felt I should interpret them. That was a bridge too far.
I have wanted to ditch Facebook for a while but I always felt like it was too costly of a divorce. I felt like I had too many reasons to continue to be there and the cost of breaking up with big blue was far greater than the discontent that I had for being manipulated.
That ended for me yesterday, January 6th, 2021. As I watched the riots unfold literally in the building of the US Capitol, I realized that I had truly had enough of being told what to believe and how to respond. I was tired of feeding a thing that has undoubtedly affected the thoughts and beliefs and emotions and psychological well being of all of us. I had no more room in my life for social networking that not only connected like-minded people together, but manipulates them and then encourages opposing forces and viewpoints and belief systems to not only encounter them, but clash with them.
What I saw on TV yesterday at the US Capitol was the real-life embodiment of the chaos, strife, turmoil, dissent, emotion and manipulation that has been present in practically every political discussion on social media for the last 12 or so years. It was that, amplified beyond belief, with lives literally being taken in response. And I am not saying that the people protesting didn’t have a reason to or weren’t justified to do so, and they most certainly had the right to be there, but the fervor and madness and chaos that ensued was propelled by a gleeful media, social and otherwise, who wanted bloodsport. And they got it.
I’m done. I’m over it. Like Neo in The Matrix, I am yanking the high-tech umbilical cord out of my brain and vomiting all over the floor. I’ve seen the machine for what it is and I want no part of it.
So, what’s next for me? I have ideas in the works. Maybe some of you will stick around and find out. 🙂