I think my time with Facebook has just about run its course. I won’t delete my account because I know people can use it to get in touch with me. I know that I have photos I can access on there. I have used Facebook in the past to have meaningful, substantive conversations with people with whom I deeply disagree on important issues. I am very grateful for that.
Maybe the best function of social media for me is the links I get to really wonderful reading material. Whether it’s a link to a book or an article, I really benefit from those links.
There are real benefits to social media.
But the costs have become so high. For one, the most obvious tax is on my time. I give too much of it there in moments where it is meaningless to do so. I want constant distraction for no good reason. I have four children. There’s no real need for distraction or time wasting. Not like that.
The more difficult issue for me, the thing I have come to really hate, is the increasingly partisan world of social media shouting.
I am an advocate for advocating. I am truly for stating what you think and why. In fact, I think people do far too little of that. But President Trump’s presidency has lit this wildfire of shouting commentary that I’m already tired of and we’re only two weeks into his presidency.
I’m already tired of every single action being greeted with ear-piercing shrieks. I was sick of it from conservatives under Obama and I’m already sick of the reverse of field. Just as annoying is all of the conservative “Oh just get over it you big babies” when I just spent 8 years watching/hearing conservatives commit to opposing literally every single thing the president did and complaining that “we want our country back” and yadda yadda yadda. It is the blackest of all pots calling the kettle black.
What I can’t stand more than anything, though, is the increasingly obvious power of confirmation bias. Everyone has seemingly divided into teams and all data is always interrupted to convey that their team is always right. The echo chamber… it’s real. And loud. I never imagined that Earth would be able to house so many infallible people. Donald Trump is doing some deeply disturbing things and every single question you raise about it is explained or dismissed away. There are never any problems. It’s all an illusion concocted by “the liberals.” There are very legitimate reasons why many Americans felt angry at Democrats and PC culture and those people are all (millions and millions of them!) brushed aside as uneducated fools who got duped. No one is ever wrong.
I’m not here to lecture on this because I know I hate being wrong. Maybe more than hating being wrong, I truly cannot stand admitting that I am wrong. I had to do it at 5:30 this morning before I even left for my workout and I was so disgusted about it. I had to tell my two-year old that I was wrong and needed forgiveness. Ugh. So repulsive.
Social media can provide some iron to strike against and make you sharper. But it can just as easily give you gasoline to throw on your fiery opinions. More and more, it seems that we reach for the latter. When people have honest, respectful exchanges, I’m surprised. When requests for information are made, you have to couch it in the gentlest of language for people to understand that you’re not being snarky, you’re legitimately curious.
I am a born arguer. I like to explore ideas. But there’s another side of me that is ultra-competitive that just wants to be right. And I’ve found that social media feeds that second side of me more than the first.
I don’t need that. I really don’t.
I need to be better about admitting I’m wrong. I need to more clearly and faithfully say that I am not always right. And social media does not help me with that. It feeds my vices. It is poisoning discourse and it is acting like poison to me.
I feel some sort of responsibility, some delusional temptation to be there on those platforms and be different (which I’m successful at sometimes and fail deeply at at other times). But this is self-delusion. This is crazy belief that I can be different from everyone else. I can’t, though. I’m just like everyone else. I think that whole world is fracturing apart into little island republics full of infallible rulers who speak ex cathedra. I want to be on such an island.
I can’t do it, though. I just can’t. I know the truth of the matter.
Right now, I can’t be a part of the social media world. Maybe I’ll figure something out or become the kind of person I need to be to be there. I just shouldn’t dabble there any longer.
I am wrong far too often. And there’s no place to be wrong anymore. The sides have been drawn and I can’t pick a team.
I have to take my ball and go home.
I’m wrong for this place.
If you need me, shoot me an email. Comment on this blog. Even send me a Facebook message. I’ll get those still. Text me. Call me (Yes. You can even call me). I’ll pop in and out randomly to make sure I haven’t missed something that was personal to me. It’s not like I’ll never see Facebook or other social media again. But I hope to be absent for a good while.
Farewell, social media world. See you on the other side.