As I continue to walk down the road of life, I stop and gaze at my surroundings and find that, where once I saw beauty and innocence and smelled the fresh air of happiness I now find myself seeing decay, strife, and anger. Thus have I chosen to walk a different path away from the hostility of social media…in other words, I have deleted my Facebook account.
Why, do you ask? I had over 200 friends and family on Facebook and, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t impressed at all. The rampant narcissism of social media, especially where “sharenting” is concerned (that is, the constant sharing of your children’s pictures and life events over social media in order to garner the most likes) left a bitter chill in my soul.
A second source of my displeasure came from commenting on articles shared over various news sources on Facebook. When offered a chance to comment, sometimes I would strike a positive chord and many people would like what I wrote. Oftentimes, however, the response was less than savory, and the dregs of the social media barrel would crawl to the top and rear their ugly heads in an attempt to barrage me with unintelligent insults and disagreements bereft of any evidence. As Bill Murray once supposedly said, “It is difficult to win an argument with a smart person, but damn near impossible to win one with a stupid person.”
Hence have I removed myself from this arena of foolishness and chosen instead to surround myself with the people I love – those who are near and dear to me and who I can look at face to face. No more do I have to deal with the Johnny-Come-Latelies who post candles and memes in a desperate attempt to find some common ground with people affected by tragedy – there is nothing wrong with feeling sorry for someone or praying with them, but it would look better if you used your own words and not someone else’s digital artwork. No more do I have to deal with the rampant politicization of Facebook in such a turbulent political year as this -not only have we dealt with the death of public figures we loved over the years, but we also have to deal with public figures who many of us despise. I’m not picking sides here, mind you – I liken the choices to the red pill or the blue pill…one contains arsenic, the other cyanide. I am disgusted with how many memes created with less-than-flattering photographs filled with information lacking any credibility are out there. Most of them are vulgar and can be described using words ending with “ist” (fascist, racist, sexist, etc.).
I have been removed from this “social” media for 3 weeks and I can tell you for sure that it has been an uplifting experience. I feel free and more well-informed than I have been in a very long time. I don’t miss it at all, although I continually think of my colleagues, high school and college friends, teachers, and family and hope they are all doing well.
Will I return? Maybe. After 9 years on Facebook, I thought it was time for a removal – absence does truly make the heart grow fonder. When I do return, however, I will ensure that I befriend people who truly matter to me and not just collect people like Magic: The Gathering cards. I’d rather have fewer friends that I care more about to whom I can genuinely respond than lots of “friends” who provide me with endless piles of digital luncheon meat spread all over my profile.
We shall see…