Unsocial Media

I’ve spent the past week or two trying to find ways of getting out of social media, but not for the reasons that you may expect. I’m tired of having it being so inexorably tangled in my life. I’m tried of being under pressures that, frankly, I shouldn’t have allowed myself to fall prey to in the first place. In short, this stopped being all that fun a while ago and I really should find better ways of keeping up with people who are ostensibly part of my life.

Given that one of my Facebook pet peeves — yes, that’s a thing for some reason — are folks that post grandiose announcements that they’re leaving Facebook, short or long term. It always came off to me like as “Hey! I have a huge goddamn ego and believe that you couldn’t live without my snarky quips about people that I think are less important than I am, and because of that you should be fraught with dread that I’m no longer going to be here! Panic like the sheep you are!” Or, you know, something like that. But something I noticed was exactly how embedded Facebook had become in my like. It’s like a deer tick. There’s a good chance I could poison myself while trying to remove it, and who wants Facebook Lyme’s Disease? I’m told the primary symptom is a blue target rash.

The sad fact is that Facebook had become my primary means of keeping up with news, keep up with friends, plan events like birthdays and parties, and even chat. That’s not something one can easily just drop. I shudder to think what it would be like for a kid who really has no recollection of what life was like before all of this. Seriously. One of the reasons I got pulled in so rapidly was the ability to maintain regular communications with folks that I’d otherwise likely never hear from again.

This week I finally made the post I was dreading. As of June 12th, 2016, I was dropping Facebook. The sole purpose of it was to just let folks know that I was cutting ties and if they wanted to stay in contact to let me know. But it’s also incumbent on me to keep in contact. This has never been my strong point, even when I’m feeling social. I generally avoid the phone unless it’s texting. I use email to take care of the daily life grind bullshit (and plan to get together with The Beard Brigade¬© as necessity warrants). Around the holidays I send cards. That’s about it. I’ve always needed to address my sorely lacking social skills and it’s sink-or-swim time.

I’m just tired of going out to eat with my kids and invariably ending up with four heads bowed to smartphones around the table like some techno-based cult paying homage to the great digital god. You’ve seen people like this in restaurants. Add candles and Gregorian chant in the background and what else would it be? A group of people, ostensibly close enough to one another to warrant eating with one another, sitting in a trance-like state staring at little 5-inch LCD screens. I know all the cute games that folks play to reinforce good table etiquette, but I’d rather just eliminate the temptation to avoid making eye contact altogether.

The good part of all of this is that I’m making a commitment of posting regularly here. This is probably a good thing because there were times that my status updates were long enough to post here in the first place. So we’ll see how it all goes.