Monday, March 14, 2016

Social Media

So, I realize that I am probably writing a blog post which will be read by absolutely no one other than myself (that's what happens when you posted sporadically over the course of seven years or so), but that's okay.  The internet is often nothing more than the collective voices of millions of people shouting at each other because they disagree politically, or over religion, sports, or because a misguided segment of the population mistakenly believes that the Kardashian family actually contributes something to Western society.  Whatever.

What I want to discuss is social media.  I have been on Facebook for over eight years now, and on Twitter for several years as well, though I "tweet" about as often as Donald Trump acknowledges his (many) limitations.  However, I recently deactivated my Facebook account.  Facebook can fill some voids in a person's life, but it cannot replace actual human contact, and if you are in a bad place mentally, it can often make things worse.  There's a phenomenon known as "The Fakebook Phenomenon", and essentially, what it means is that no one wants anyone "out there" to see that their life has problems, so what we often see out of Facebook is that people post nothing but happy photos of wonderful times when in fact their lives are far from that.  That's not to say that people don't have happy moments in their lives, or that they shouldn't post about them when they do, but there are studies which support the theory that Facebook and other social media outlets actually serve to make at least some people depressed, or more depressed, as the case may be.  For more on that see here and here and here and here and here.  People look at the news feeds of their "friends" enjoying a never-ending stream of parties, nights out, financial success, and then they look at their own lives and think, "What the hell am I doing wrong?  My life is NOTHING like that.  How did I screw up my life so badly?"

I have to be honest, I started feeling that way.  My life has hit some ruts (and then some) over the last couple of years.  I'm still standing, but it has not been easy.  In any event, I watched as my Facebook feed was constantly filled with people celebrating one glorious success after another, and it got to me. I just couldn't take it anymore.  I had to walk away.  So, I deactivated my account, and when you're as into social media as much as I am, this is a very, very difficult thing to do, but when you're not in a good place mentally, it is sometimes necessary to "disconnect".  I don't know how long I will stay away, I just know that for the time being, it is what I must do.  If nothing else, it will force me to focus on myself, and to concentrate on what I can control, as opposed to what I can't.  And (yes, I know that it's poor grammar to start a sentence with the word "And", but I'm going to do it, anyway) if I can step away, so can you................if you think that it will help you.  We get one crack at life.  I don't believe in heaven or hell, so in my view, this is our chance at enjoying existence.  It serves no purpose being unhappy because of things we cannot control, so if social media is causing you unhappiness, disconnect.

I began this post by acknowledging that it is likely that no one will ever read this post, but if someone browsing the internet finds it and something I wrote helps them, it has served a purpose.  I don't know if this post will represent any significant return by me to blogging--I very much doubt it, to be honest--but what I posted here was worth sharing, I thought.