These days there is fine line to walk with social media. The veneer of public discourse has broken down to what at times can seem like monkeys throwing poo from cage to cage. The blog with long thoughts and original content gave way to Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat with re-posts, thumbs up, and memes followed by #ThisIsSoUs !
The most recent US Presidential election was played out on the internet with every camp choosing a different corner and every corner choosing a different news source as their own personal generator of "truth". Things got harsh. Things got mean. Things got ugly.
So I took a walk. Yes, one outside. And then another one, off of Facebook, off of Twitter, off of Snapchat and off of Instagram. I gave it a week and checked back in, it had gotten worse. I gave it the rest of November and checked back in, it was still ugly. So I took the rest of the year off. I read a book. I watched tv. I ate a lot of cookies.
For two months I've sat by trying to figure out what my role is in social media and what social media's role is with me. In the past I have appreciated the chance to keep up with more people and share my life moments with ease. While I was gone, I texted people, sent emails and (audible gasp!) saw people in person. But not the far away people, that's much harder. I missed that part.
Before I took my social media holiday, I played "Facebook Police". Politely (I hope), I would ask people to check their source, for truth or bias. I would ask they look at the comments following articles they posted that often revealed a more sinister group of people that I couldn't imagine they would normally associate with. At first it was private messages, then it was polite comments below, and later I resorted to being outright incredulous.
But the ugliness kept coming faster and more furious.
After the election, within the week I'd been called a fag behind my back and my husband wouldn't hold my hand in public out of fear that we'd be beaten up. The ugliness had leapt off the internet and was following me on the street.
It was all too much to take in. I laid low. In public and in social media. But here is where I have reached today: Screw you internet. Screw you rednecks. Screw anybody who wants me to keep quiet.
Quiet is being good. Quiet is being safe. Quiet is not making waves. Quiet is overrated.
I refuse to contribute to the ugliness of it all. I will maintain my polite veneer. But there is good, and there is bad. There is truth and there are lies. I will go back to being the "Facebook Police" and you may hear from me. I'm done with all this re-posting and forwarding and blind copy/paste of bullshit that nobody reads. Have your own ideas, post your own thoughts and experiences.
When I read social media it is usually from the comfort of my own home, you're probably the same. I would never march into your house with muddy boots and shout, "What a dump! You have shitty taste! Only I know how to decorate!" It's much more likely, I'd politely take off my shoes, compliment your decor, make a snide remark about how I'd never have the nerve to combine such interesting prints or colors, then suggest a delightful book on proper home decor. It's called "good manners".
So pull out your white gloves before you post something on your social media, for your protection and mine. It's the internet for god's sake, do you know how much porn has touched it!