I've been involved in Internet commentary of one kind or another for nigh on two decades now. I once said I started this blog in 2001 because I needed a different outlet than yelling at the TV news, and in that sense, it's been a healthy outlet at times. But at other times, I've let my disgust or fear or insecurities show themselves in angry outbursts and unkind, uncharitable attacks. Unfortunately, social media did not improve that impulse.
Over the past year, as we've been bombarded by outrageous news story after story, I've found myself veering toward despair. There's the Sophie's choice between Trump and Hillary. There's the Outrage of the Week, whether it's Gorilla Mom or Stanford Rapist or the Orlando Shooting/Gun Control/Homophobia/Islamaphobia debate. My comments on Facebook have started to tend toward angry and mean and dismissive and abusive. My inability to convey my point in a logical manner was extremely frustrating. People just didn't seem to get what I was saying.
A Brief Break and a Change
I knew it needed to stop. So I took a long weekend break. And I don't know when or if I will return to writing on Facebook about contemporary events. In fact, I've begun to pare down my Facebook news feed to exclude those who post the sorts of things most likely to elicit my poor responses. That excludes friends who also write about the good things in their lives, sadly.
I'm not quitting social media. Just pulling back a bit.
Some might say I'm hypocritical, but I'm not going to stop writing about controversial subjects entirely. To cut down on the problematic interactions, I write here as much as I'm able, and not on social media.
I will reserve social media for more pleasant interactions. Pictures of the kids. Posts about places we go. Links to interesting stories about books and movies. That sort of thing.
Because in the other direction lies an ulcer and a bitter, old man. I don't want to be him.
- photo-1444791909289-55cb2fc9ad30: Sergei Akulich/Unsplash | CC 0