Many agree that social media is poison.
There are better things a person can be doing than wasting hours on Facebook absorbing the idiocy, drama, and pseudo-social justice wars. There’s harassment, stalking, oh yes, and those wonderful memory reminders that show you things you may have wanted to forget (such as “I’m so excited I’m going back to school!” when you had to drop out for medical reasons and now five years later owe $3K for an education you were never able to get).
The negativity is incoming and outgoing. Everyone has bad days and lousy moods. When people have these shit storm feelings, they need an outlet. America’s mental health system is a mess. Many that need it cannot afford therapy. Some use social media to release negative thoughts and get support from peers to help boost their mood. For “I’m having a bad day, my car broke down” that’s fine, but for “I’m worthless and want to die,” that’s not something to have exposed to the public. The outward internet is not a therapist or diary. People that care and want to help can’t really with *hugs* and kitten GIFs.
Different types of social media have different levels of drama. Facebook, obviously being the worst, then twitter. Instagram has the least but it’s also the most superficial because everyone’s just being judged on their appearance in photos instead of on their thoughts and ideas. Even on motivational quote photos, the font and background have to look good.
Facebook, being something so evil and toxic (that I over-use a lot), needed to go away for one month so I could do myself a favor. Managing my time in other ways: drawing, intelligent games, music, text conversations, trying to build and learn new skills. Also working through a lot of deep sadness, loss, and self-loathing that I wanted to keep private in a space where I could focus/deal with it. I wanted/want to be a better person. So after a month “off the grid" here’s things that I noticed.
1. Feelings of Isolation
I’m disabled. During a lot of this time I was sick with a virus as well as chronic illness of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome/Chiari, so I was unable to leave my apartment. Facebook has always been my way to “go outside” when I can’t actually go out. Not knowing what’s happening in my local city groups made me feel distant from my own surroundings. I was unable to post a “thank you" to the South Philadelphia group that helped me raise money for a new rollator that also functions as a transport wheelchair. Not only did I become unaware of what was going on in my community, but also of my friends all over the world that bring me joy to feel connected to.
2. Lack of Professional Function
I couldn’t see updates and discussion for the Disability Equality in Education program that I'm going to be a part of this spring. I had to ask the director instead and have her just tell me a summary.
I couldn’t promote an event I was booked at for Vox Populi. Most events are promoted through Facebook these days. If you’re a performer, it’s really important to be able to invite and share event information. I texted my friends about it instead with a flier image, but the scope of people that way was far more limited.
3. Family and Friend Conflicts
I forgot one of my best friend’s birthdays. I use Facebook to remind me of those because saving everyone’s special day in a phone is very tedious.
I didn’t see photos from my sister’s baby shower (which I was unable to attend due to illness).
I became out of the loop in conversations because my friends reference things that happen on Facebook just like things that happen in actual life. We are living in a partial virtual existence. Those that choose to not be involved in that are esoteric and reclusive.
So as of next month I will be back on the toxic pit of existence. Yes, the world sucks and hell is other people. However, I’d rather be there then in a safe space, alone and ignorant.