So it’s been a while since I last blogged. It goes without saying that 2020 has been a difficult year. I could write more colorful words than “difficult,” but I don’t like to swear in a public forum.
I honestly don’t know what to say anymore, at least in blogs and on social media. Because of COVID and all the awful things that have unfolded this year, the world is meaner and leaner. If you follow me on Facebook you have probably noticed that I have stopped posting, at least on my personal page. In 2020, I have endured several mean-spirited comments to my deliberately innocuous postings. I don’t have to take this abuse. So I’m no longer on Facebook.
I’ve taken a serious look at the whole social media schtick: Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, blogging, and even more private forums like text messages and emails. And I include phone calls in this group. The problem with social media lies in two areas:
1. People seem to expect that you will not only respond but respond immediately.
2. People feel they can say whatever they want in comments, no matter how mean or opinionated or vulgar.
Think about those two points for a minute. First, what rule or law says that we must respond IMMEDIATELY to every “ping” on social media? I have a life, you know? I’m not going to stop whatever I’m doing at the moment just because someone I don’t even know personally is throwing shade at something I posted on Facebook. And yet, I have seen people who respond to social media in their cars while they are driving! Hey, keep your eyes on the road!
Secondly, from whence comes this impulse to say whatever the hell you want to say in the comments section, consequences be damned? What happened to civility? What happened to “thinking before you speak?” What happened to respect for the opinions of others? When did we become a society where MY, and only MY opinion, is valid? And when did we become so closed-minded that we can no longer have fair and open discussion on the issues of the day, with ears that are truly open to listening to new ideas, instead of blurting out our already made-up minds instantly while the other person is speaking?
It’s the instant accessibility in social media that has totally soured me away from it. Back in the day when people wrote hand-written letters (yes, I’m old), it was an art to formulate your ideas, express them in a cohesive and even poetic way, fold the letter, put it in an envelope, stamp it and mail it, then wait a few days for a response – if one even came. And if the other person did not respond, we just shrugged and went on with our lives.
On top of all that, why should anyone even care what I have to say? Yes, I do have a couple of close friends with whom I might share my ideas and opinions. They are important sounding boards for me, and I value their input and the way we listen and guide each other’s thinking. But I don’t need to do that with 1,500 Facebook “friends,” most of whom I do not even know personally.
I’m just a small insignificant cog in this vast universe. Yes, I write songs, and I write books and magazine articles. Is that not enough? Do people really need to hear EVERYTHING I am thinking at any given moment?
Sorry. I’m venting as I try to explain my continuing absence on social media. I just don’t see any value in it anymore. If you find fulfillment or fun in social media, more power to you. But it is no longer for me.
Maybe someday I’ll come back, after the pandemic is over. But I truly feel that nothing I say or write matters in a world that has become so divided and opinionated.
So, until next time, take care and God bless! Wash your hands, wear a mask, and get the vaccine.