Since the time that Tom had friended me on Myspace, I felt like there could be a little bit more in connecting over the internet. Along came Facebook and that all changed for an entire culture. The ability to keep track of everyone close to you at the click of a button, had never been so easy. After close to a 16 year relationship, I’m sad to say that it’s not you, it’s me. You don’t make me feel good anymore. You make me sad with the comments that you make and the disturbing division that you bring. I’m sad to say, it’s over, for now.
A network that has the ability to do something great, has sadly brought us all into darkness over the last year. As I scroll through the social media platform in the past week, I see various posts that made my jaw drop in disgust. Friends on facebook writing distasteful posts that divide us more than ever. Each time, I’m left trying to understand what could be in their mind. Have they always felt this way or is it just part of the climate we are in?
This lead to the unfollowing of many people on my page. As I continued to unfollow people, I decided to switch over to instagram (which of course is also owned by facebook) and started scrolling through images. I made my way to my waterfall page that I follow. Beautiful waterfalls can always take your mind off of things. As I looked at the picture they placed, I read the description. In the middle of a beautiful waterfall image (an image of unity with us and mother nature), was a message about people being brainwashed by the media if they vote a particular way. Even the waterfall page has turned on me? I unfollowed and scrolled on. Wait, did I just unfollow a waterfall page? Seriously?! This is what it has come down to?
As I contemplated what I just did, it brought me to a future thought…why am I distracting myself with these things altogether? Why do I waste time out of my day to scroll through various images and opinions that are leading me away from sanity? I can’t explain the countless times in the past week, that I scrolled through Facebook and felt disturbed after being on the application for no more than 5 minutes. Friends on facebook, placing images of hate, advertising that left me confused. Arguments back and forth between people. Adding fuel to a fire that should never have been started. Isn’t a fire supposed to bring you warmth anyway?
How do we have so much division in our country at the moment? In my entire life, I have never felt this divided as a country. I know that a civil war would never be imminent at this time, but is it weird that it’s crossed my mind? Is there that much feuding going on, to where there is such a division between the left and the right that there is no coming back from this? I even question, regardless of who gets elected in November, how will people react on either side that loses? Is there an ability to go quietly into the night at this point? Or does it involve kicking and screaming?
Regardless of the political spectacle happening, you still see posts that might not even be political, yet still have hateful content. I am an American football fan and will always be a Miami Dolphins fan (even after countless losing seasons). I was on a post for their facebook page and someone posted that it was a bad day for California. Being that the Miami Heat had just won a game and the Dolphins had beaten the 49ers that day. Through the fun banter back and forth, somebody posts something nasty involving the state of California. The person spoke about how the state deserves the natural disasters currently happening. How did the topic get changed so quickly to how Californians deserve horrific wildfires, because they are known as a liberal state? Is this really what it has came to?
Discussions happen among family and friends. When you are in person or even on the phone, there is the ability to hear and see empathy for another. I’ve had many discussions with family and friends about tough topics. When the conversation ends, we don’t stop being close, we just learn the others view. When you post an opinion on Facebook, it doesn’t lead to a discussion in real time. It can lead to a disaster. It can lead to misinterpretation of your message.
Have you ever seen the page where it shows discussions over text involving autocorrect? Often a simple answer back, leads to complete laughter as autocorrect, for some reason always reverts to something sexual. You actually question if the programmer for autocorrect has the same sense of humor as Disney with their movie artwork! These messages get lost in translation. This is what happens across social media. There is no debate on the situation, you simply read a message and interpret the message based on your knowledge of the person and their words.
You shouldn’t leave social media feeling disappointed in humanity. I remember a time where facebook was about connecting to others from all walks of life. Families living far apart, could connect and get a glimpse of each others lives through posts. People could reconnect after years of being apart.
Social media at the moment has changed. It leads to darkness and sometimes a disturbing look into who some people really are. It’s hard to find the positive in someone you know, when they put forth an image that I would prefer to delete from my life. If you find yourself in a depressed state from the previous month, it could be from the pandemic, but it could also be from the overuse of social media.
It’s said that 77 percent of America has some form of social media account. That is a crazy amount of people connected from all forms of life. When it leads to a feeling of being left out, anxiety or a loss of self worth, it can cause a big issue with the society we are in. You have to determine what it’s doing to your mind. Is it making your life better or worse? How are you benefiting from your time used on social media? Do you feel a withdrawal effect if you don’t use it for an extended period of time? I know how I feel at the moment and I’m taking a break.
What I have loved about facebook is that it connects us through our world experiences. Each time I travel, I post pictures and it connects me to someone that I might have not known previously. The same as I see pictures from others and their experiences. It gives me ideas of the fun they had and the places they have gone. My family uses facebook and it gives me an opportunity to see what they are doing as we are on the opposite sides of a country. If it were only left to images of positivity, maybe my view of the site would be different. At the moment, sadly it’s bringing more negative than positive.
Facebook, I’m sorry to declare that we have been friends since 2005. We’ve had a wonderful ride and you’ve helped me expand my network for years. I’ve laughed and cried over posts. We had a good run, but it’s time for me to dust off my phone feature on my actual phone. Give some friends a call and have an actual discussion on their view of life. I know it will be a whole lot easier to interpret. Hopefully someday we will be friends again, but I ask you to change your view of the world first. Spread kindness and connection. If you find your way again, I’ll gladly accept your friend request.