Let’s Take It Down A Notch, Facebook

I’m disabling my Facebook this weekend.
Yes, I want it to be permanent.
No, I don’t think I’ll succeed.

Which is why I’m actually NOT going to disable it (HAH!). There’s no point. It’s become an addiction and an outlet for the tightly wound fury that I’ve yet to fully ease from a variety of truly shitty life experiences. It’s healthy to have an outlet to vent, but I’m increasingly hurting and offending people (mostly unintentionally) that don’t deserve it and that’s when it ceases to be therapeutic.

When I log in, I of course check my notifications… which usually sucks me back in to a prior conversation that I had hoped was long over. If a follow-up gets me riled up, I get right back in there and fight what I perceive to be the good fight. But why fight at all? Winning arguments is a much smaller victory when everyone around you is in a worse mood for it. I want to elevate myself and others, not denigrate.

Next is that fucking newsfeed. I’m very opinionated, frequently with a well-informed and thoroughly-researched basis for my positions, and that makes the ignorance soaked newsfeed just one loooooong list of tempting opportunities to crush stupidity, bigotry, and ignorance.

A few examples: I saw a post on a Transformers fan page gushing with love for the latest Michael Bay trainwreck “Age of Extinction” and wrote a three-paragraph evisceration, arguing a true Transformers fan would be ashamed by what Bay has done. And it is true that the Transformers movies are sloppy, noisy, and dumb… but hey, who ever changed their mind about a film just because someone else disagreed with their tastes (or I’d argue, lack thereof)? What did I accomplish? Even if I succeeded, that’s ONE less idiot putting money in Michael Bay’s talentless pockets. People that like terrible movies will continue to like terrible movies. I can’t change that without changing the majority of American culture.

Another example: Someone posted a feminist article claiming that the word “girl” was demeaning to women and wrote, “This is important” in the post. I replied quite harshly, explaining that such petty articles are exactly the kind of thing that gives feminism a bad rap and that if people were going to be this fucking over-sensitive over a word like “girl” then they were “pathetic invertebrates” (aka, spineless). Do I stand by it? Of course. I meant every word. But again, what did I accomplish? I welcome constructive criticism, but not everyone else does. And in this particular case, I suppose it wasn’t even very constructive. (But it was true, dammit!).

One final example: I saw a pro-Hillary post that claimed she would defend America from corporations so I pointed out that every single one of her top 10 donors were from corporate donors, most-especially the big banks. And added the comment, “Wake the fuck up or don’t vote, you fuck.” But is this person seriously going to do the research, find out I was factually correct, and shift his vote to Bernie Sanders? Probably not. Americans aren’t fond of reading, after all. Or voting. Or being called “you fuck”.

See? Right there. Two little snide remarks at the end of that last paragraph. Whether it’s true or not (it is) is immaterial. The bottom-line is that the overwhelming vibe is negative. That’s not something I want to make a habit. I will still always debate people in person, ruffle feathers that I feel could use some ruffling as I do like to push buttons just to see how people respond… but Facebook makes it far too easy to get carried away and forget to be cordial. Without a human face in front of me, without having a vocal tone to lighten the impact of my sometimes harsh wording, I neglect to factor in that real people are still on the receiving end.

I also started to ask myself… how do I really feel after using Facebook? How does it affect my mood? Overwhelmingly I feel worse for the experience. When I was traveling recently I didn’t have my desktop available, just a shitty 3G network on my phone and a wi-fi only iPad. Consequently I found myself rarely going on Facebook and I did feel notably happier.

Solution? I’ve unfollowed just about everything and everyone in my newsfeed, so now if I want to check in on someone I can (gasp) DECIDE to go to their page. Now I only see posts related to scientific discoveries, National Geographic magazine, and High Times. I was going to keep Richard Dawkins in there, but his posts are too anti-religion and not enough about being pro-atheist. He mirrors my habit of pointing out problems but not offering enough in the way of solutions. It’s not positive. I’ve disabled all notification alerts except for when I’m specifically tagged, so I don’t get sucked into time-consuming debates. I’ve also stopped contributing to Political Junkies, a page where I argued against the most idiotic conservatives (redundant?) on the web and was eventually booted by the admins that valued cordiality over substance.

I’m giving myself 30-days of a “limited” Facebook experience to see if it works out better… if not, I’ll delete (not just disable) my account and bid farewell to Mark Zuckerberg’s bastard child entirely.

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