I made it! Like an alcoholic rocking back at the Betty Ford Center where celebrity drinkers go to regain control of their lives, I have endured a full week without social media. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, even though I love communication in all it’s forms. A candid assessment is in order here so let’s get started.
To be sure, there are a number of things that I miss. Before signing off, I read where a good friend lost a beloved hunting companion in the form of his pointer dog. I feel fortunate to share in his grief that is known only to those of us who love our dogs. I will miss the opportunities to help friends with a kind word when they suffer an egregious loss in their family, whether it be a dog or a person. There is a nagging reality that I may never know of these losses, a real benefit of social media. Along those lines, social media offers a glimpse, sometimes a little deeper than is necessary, into the health of those who you care about. I miss the reassurance that comes with being in a herd of like minded people to face the political uncertainty of our future. When you rely on mainstream media (I do not) the truth is so far from reality, it challenges your very notion of right and wrong. I am getting along just fine with the Wall Street Journal and our local televised news outlets. I miss the opportunity to shovel sarcasm in a forum that offers ample opportunities to do so. Folks who have made a living in the uniformed services all have a mechanism to deal with the harsher realities of life, a common bond that requires little thought to decipher. I miss my association with them and those who support them.
What do I not miss? I do not miss the uneasy feeling when confronted with “fact” that has no factual basis. I do not miss sorting through proclamations and propaganda designed to stir emotion and sway perception. I do not miss the push by big tech to control the message. I do not miss the absolute declarations of certainty by people who should damned well know better than to rely on “always”, “never” “only” and other declarations offered in defense of a position. With the exception of math, life and death, these words should be banned from use. I do not miss the cheer leading that comes with espousing an opinion, especially when the cheerleaders do not have the intellect to challenge a position with reason and instead offer a cute personal insult. I don’t miss the cowards who slink around these forums, offering opinions that cannot be challenged. These are the people who are brave hearts when sitting in their living rooms and spineless one on one. Every debate coach in America has to blanche at the lack of intellect it takes to push a ridiculous point in this forum. Facebook has exposed a chink in my personal armor. I have tended to accept friends based on the preferences of other, well meaning friends who might not have the same criteria that I rely on. Social media opens a world of personal preference and personal data to folks you simply don’t know.
My departure from Facebook has provided me the opportunity to begin scrubbing my public persona and manage friendships the old way, email, the telephone and pen and paper, the only true record of one’s image. Sure, my withdrawal from social media has been challenging, and I am sure there are many aspects that I have not yet realized.
So far…….so good!
Have a great weekend!