Living Someone Else’s Upset

Does anyone else find they are spending less time on Social Media sites?

There are a lot of things wrong with social media, sufficiently so that Mark Zuckerberg, head of Facebook, says his goal for the year 2018 is to “fix” his creation, which is to say, Facebook. When asking “what is wrong” I’ll just bet that everyone might have their own answer!  Still, it’s something that a guy who has become outrageously successful (spell that as in $$$$) because of a simple idea, should also be honest enough to realize that his product sometimes produces undesirable effects. I mean, who would want to get blamed for helping the Russians to meddle in U.S. elections! 🙂

The thing about social media is that you tend to be bombarded by other people’s problems.  Isn’t life hard enough dealing with our own problems that we need to take on the problems of other people?

Of course there is a social salve that accompanies chiming in on someone else’s problem.  You feel good because you think you are better/smarter/prettier than them:  Facebook makes you feel better when your life isn’t as screwed up as your Facebook-friends lives are! Who doesn’t love giving advice.  Specially if you don’t have to bear the cost of telling them to their face that they have screwed something up. The way Facebook works we all are simultaneously Visible-yet-Invisible.  We can insult someone ’to their face’ without looking them in the eye — all with a few keystrokes.  And we can do it anonymously if we create a false ID which is easy enough.

I find I am personally spending less time on Facebook; and I can’t for the life of me understand why people are so enthralled by Messenger.  It takes longer to say the same thing, there are more opportunities for misunderstanding than if you just phone someone, and now that many if not most people have unlimited phone accounts you aren’t saving talk minutes by wasting your time texting on a too-small-keyboard. I realize there are a few instances when Messenger or a text message might be easiest to use.  In our family we have a sailor who’s often out of touch — somewhere in the middle of some ocean — Messenger and text messages do get to him when a phone call might not.  And certainly a text message is a great way of substituting a message instead of having to write yourself a reminder to call someone later in the day when both of you are done with your jobs to ask them a question.

Still, and all, I’d just as soon pick up the phone and talk to someone!

The biggest thing however is the way in which other people’s problems keep getting pushed in your face.  I happen to have all my “notifications” turned off.  I won’t let Facebook interrupt my day overtime someone I “know” on Facebook posts something of no interest or use to me.  Killing notifications was a step in the right direction.  But that does not prevent my Facebook feed from showing me more about my friends than I ever wanted to know.

I keep my friends list pared to what I consider bare minimum.  My phone directory has some 500 contacts. I’m friends on Facebook with only 175 people and almost all of those I knew face-to-face before Facebook ever happened. I never understood the idea of “friending” people I’ve never met unless our prior interactions have been particularly interesting.

Just how many cat videos does a person need to see?  Or how much do I need to know about a casual friend’s check-in’s? Or some single person’s string of relationships?  And I certainly don’t care about what some celebrity has done!

When we were RV’ing it made sense to check-in where we were — that way our family knew what we were up to.  It saved a lot of time on my blog not having to repeat every single thing even though we have a couple family members who would be perfectly happy knowing every single movement.

Now that we are “stationary” it’s a whole new game.  And I’m struggling knowing how much to abandon the new world of social media, and how much to stay connected.  For example, if it weren’t for our daughter I would throw out my Messenger application.  She’s really the only person we message with any regularity; anyone else I could  simply email.

I have seriously thought about un-following everyone save (about) 20 people, but I wonder if I did that whether Facebook’s algorithms would try to fill my home page with other content.  I might try that.  I could still look people up and check in on what they’re up to; keeping them as unfollowed friends.

All I know is that most of what I see there simply isn’t worth wasting my life reading. Yet I don’t want to become completely unreachable.  There has to be a good compromise somewhere.


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