When social media becomes more annoying, discouraging, and hateful than social, maybe it’s time to leave. Since November 2016, I’ve pared down my friends list on Facebook, deleting mostly Hillary-haters who spewed and shared unsubstantiated stories that simply weren’t true. This past weekend I allowed myself to get sucked into an online argument with someone I don’t even know (and am not connected with), who posted derogatory comments about Meghan Markle. (Here’s what he posted: “Lets see how long stargazing bi-racial divorcee “Princess” Meghan holds on to her now royal title of Her Highness Duchess of Sussex.”) How kind.
I originally joined Facebook to reconnect with high school friends. Then college friends, former work colleagues, and eventually other authors and the wonderful folks who like to read my books. Some of those friends have voluntarily left Facebook, and I get it. Facebook, in my opinion, is the worst of them. Others just choose to ignore Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other sites. I miss the positive and warm interactions with them.
Yesterday morning my Facebook feed had as the top post a “share” by a woman I’m connected with but not close to – a photo of the Santa Fe high school shooter wearing a Hillary cap. Now, I do know that she identifies as a Republican, and she captioned the post with “Here’s the Santa Fe school shooter.” Was she glad to post it, as it fit her agenda? Had she bothered to check its veracity before sharing, she would have discovered that it was a Photoshopped picture, created hours after the suspect was in custody. So yeah, I called her out on it, and she eventually deleted the entire post.
There are still videos of kittens and puppies and babies, there are still inspirational slogans and photos of what someone made for dinner. But there’s also so much negativity. I’m not a head-in-the-sand kind of person – I devour news stories and analyses, and usually it depresses me, because we’re living in a dangerous time (climate change, the erosion of democracy, human rights threatened, kids getting shot at school, I could go on). It’s overwhelming, so I understand why many of my friends choose instead to abandon these sites and focus on family and home.
I haven’t made a decision yet. But I do know that turning off the noise and turning away from the chaos can be beneficial – physically, mentally, and emotionally.