A while back I took a Facebook vacation. I’d decided that I was spending way too much time monitoring the goings on of friends and strangers on social media. I didn’t quit altogether, like some people do, I just severely limited my hours (yes, HOURS). I limited my Facebook time to fifteen minutes, three times a day: morning, mid-day and evening. It was refreshing. I felt unencumbered, like I’d ended a bad food habit or stopped biting my nails (a habit I never had).
I’ve been told “Oh, you should use your Twitter account more. That is smaller text/tweets…you’d do better with short bursts.” That may have been true before people decided to abuse the system by just piling the Tweets into a long, broken up, machine gun fire styled posts. Additionally, once DJT got a hold of Twitter and turned it into his cray-cray cyber podium, I knew Twitter was not the answer.
I’ve sense eased back into larger chunks of time on Facebook. Like many bad habits, it is difficult to maintain discipline and stay on the healthy path. I have an endless curiosity and Facebook makes it so easy for me to indulge my queries. But now, in addition to using up an embarrassing amount of time, I also find myself getting into long conversations and sometimes arguments on Facebook with people I don’t even know.
I am not one of those types of people who is mean or nasty. I don’t feel like “everyone has an opinion” and that justifies sharing said opinion in an aggressive, know-it-all fashion. But I really can’t tolerate other people being bullies on social media. Especially when they are sharing information I know to be untrue. Sigh…so then I jump into the pool. Sometimes I am met with success. Because I was educated by teachers who stressed the importance of “citing your sources”, I come to on-line arguments prepared to back up my position with facts. Oh…and “Google it.” is not a source of information. Someone telling me that is likely to rile me up even more. It is the equivalent of someone telling me to go ask the tree outside which stocks I should invest in. Other times, the person I am countering just digs in further with a bigger shovel in the stupid shit pile. I can’t with these people. They are determined to be right, refuse to accept facts or logic.
My solution to the indefatigably ignorant is to limit myself to three comments on any one post, unless it is bringing me knowledge or joy. This is a struggle. Not because I feel the need to be right, but rather because I have trouble walking away allowing the other person to feel victorious. (No, that is not the same.) I also feel like I didn’t help if I give up. Nevertheless, for my own sake, I can usually walk away, turn off notifications, distract myself in other ways.
Lately, my fixes haven’t been good enough. I leave the conversations, but the feelings stay with me. The irritant has gotten under my skin. I find myself engaging my spouse in my on-line mess. I need to know I’m not crazy. Turns out, I may be crazy, LOL. I am a smart, reasonable person. I should NOT be engaging with those who are a pal on my on-line experience. So now I have to go a step further. Enter the “no comment” phase.
My Facebook vacation of the past was so refreshing and successful, that shortly thereafter I decided to limit my responses to “Like” or keep scrolling. This was before the emoji expansion. Now I can “like”, “love”, “dislike”, etc. Sure, the expansion broadened my ability to more accurately express how I felt about a post, but it sometimes wasn’t enough. And then depending on the topic of the post, I’d feel compelled to read the comments. BAD IDEA. There is almost always some person in the comments thread who is going to bait me into commenting. This isn’t their fault, it’s all me. I have to be stronger.
So, now I am trying a new experiment. Fifteen minutes, three times a day, like/emoji only and no comments read nor comments posted UNLESS it brings joy to someone else. I think I can do this. I have steadily been on the road to this anyway. Once in a while I get blindsided by someone misunderstanding a comment I’ve made or just being plain old miserable and wanting to shoot me down. These people will be the toughest to ignore because I’ll feel the need to explain myself. (Wish me luck.) I have the ability to verbally eviscerate and be very condescending and mean. I generally choose to be the bigger person and smother my negative thoughts. This is made easier by not reading the comments or commenting at all myself.
The additional upside is I’ll likely need a place to vent and where better to do that than here!? I can thereby meet a few other goals: better use of my time; healthier outlook, writing/blogging more; reading books; etc. This can only be a positive change. I am looking forward to this “no comment” life. There are plenty of people out there willing to fill the void. My absence will go unnoticed.