After a prolonged and tumultuous love-hate relationship with social media–learning from it, being misinformed by it, enjoying it, getting mad at it, feeling addicted to it, trying to quit it, deciding to use more of it, vowing to delete all of it–all over and over in endless cycles–I have come to an important realization.
I need social media to make connections to people. I need it make contact with real-life people I’ve met and would like to know better, and occasionally, friends-of-friends and potential friends I haven’t met.
I need texting because it’s an easy way to touch base with people without interrupting them. I need that one most popular and hated of platforms–the one I most often want to delete and never look at again–because everyone’s using it and that’s the best way to reach them. I need that platform’s messaging app because it’s the cheapest way to keep in touch with those abroad, now that I’ve had the good fortune of making friends with people who live and travel in Europe, Asia and Australia. Social media is a convenient way to connect.
But social media is no place to have a conversation.
I’m not going to have any more conversations on social media.
Browsing social media is like drinking poison. It’s full of mean people and terrible ideas and echo chambers and bits too small to ever do anyone any good. The notifications literally rewire your brain and the scrolling and the blue light is bad for your eyes.
It’s been said that the average person will look at their phone alone for several years of their life. That’s several years that could be spent going outside or talking to humans, to name only two vastly superior activities.
I will read long, thought-out, informed articles and posts. I will create long, thought-out, informed articles and posts. But I will not debate in the comments sections of these posts or in the social media threads in which they are shared. Not because I don’t want to hear what others have to say. But because I want to hear it in person.
If you have something you want to say about what one of us has read or written, get a cup of coffee with me and say it in person. Because social media has caused me to waste too much of my time with mean people, ill-informed people, sociopaths, liars, occasionally literal kids whose brains haven’t yet developed enough to handle the conversations they’re trying to have. People with bad intentions. People who can’t and won’t back up what they say.
Mean people, most of all.
And yet, nobody–nobody who sits across from me face-to-face is mean to me or even disagrees with me that vehemently or often.
Humanity. We need to not lose it.
Bravery, too. We need that very desperately in these dystopian times.
This is why I’ve decided to blog more and fly over social media less.
I want to share ideas. And I want to do real things in real spaces with real people. This is important. This is all that matters.