Hey, How are you?
I wanted to say I’m sorry that I haven’t responded to any comments or emails- I’ve been kind of “off the grid” when it comes to social media for the last several months and I’m not doing such a good job of hopping back on.
I’ll be honest- this election has driven me insane. They always do- but this once has been vicious. At the beginning of the year when my stress from my health went into overload, I decided to see if limiting my exposure to any mention of the news and/or current events would make a difference in my mood. I deleted all links to news sites and dropped off Facebook. I kind of took a giant step back from the internet, and when I was online, I basically spent all my time on art websites, painting videos on YouTube, and listening to talks on Dharma Seed.
The biggest change for me was my decision to drop off Facebook. I didn’t delete my account, but I went from checking Facebook several times a day to maybe checking it once a week, if that. When I did go on Facebook, I basically checked my feed out of the side of my vision, and the minute I saw anything about politics or any kind of debate about current events, I immediately shut the browser window or quit the app.
Needless to say, I missed most of what was posted on Facebook because you can’t go more than a few posts without seeing something related to the election or guns or animal abuse. It’s a current events hotspot.
I used to really love Facebook- it was this place where people would share little snippets of life, or a few personal photos, and you could really stay connected via the little statuses. If you checked in once or twice a day, you could catch up on what people were up to and leave a few comments and it was a meaningful exchange. It was personal and manageable. Now it’s become a weird mix of endless memes, links to news sites, debates about politics, and huge dumps from people’s smart phones. It’s almost like it’s a grown-up Tumblr. And then Facebook started changing the way they displayed people’s statuses, so I kept missing all the personal stuff and just seeing the news stuff and the memes. It became this whole process to find the stuff I actually wanted to see.
I can’t say I miss it that much. I do miss being connected to friends, especially since I despise the phone and am a rotten pen-pal. But being away from current events and political arguments has really been good for me. I’m finding that the things that are meaningful to me and important for me to know about eventually find their way to me. And once I find out about them, I can seek out the information I need to know. It feels good to be in control of what I’m exposed to, instead of being at the mercy of what’s on my timeline, if that makes any sense.
One unexpected bonus to getting off Facebook was the time it freed up.
And I discovered the app Snapchat, which I actually love. I avoided it for ages, because I thought you basically “snapped” (I don’t like taking selfies…) your “chat” (and I really don’t chat…), but the whole “chat” thing is the part of the service that no one really uses. It’s all very non-chatty, actually.
You just basically take little photos and short videos with your phone and post them to your Snapchat timeline, and whoever is on your friends list can see what you’ve posted. That’s *literally* all there is to Snapchat. There are no comments, no “likes”, no sharing posts, no memes. There’s no way of sharing or linking anything off the rest of the internet into Snapchat. You can’t even take photos off your camera roll and post them on your timeline. All you can do is take a photo or video from inside the Snapchat app and post it. It’s a closed system. It almost reminds me of what the internet was like before “comments” were even a thing- when you just accessed a webpage and all your could do was read it. It’s very old-school that way.
And after 24 hours, everything disappears, so there’s no backlog of stuff to catch up on.
And, unlike Instagram, there are very few filters (and the ones Snapchat have are funny or useful, like temperature or time), so it’s not a lot of people staging their life to make it appear glow-y and blissful. It is what it is, warts and all. It’s designed in a way to encourage people to post and feel at ease being on camera. As much as I hate pictures of myself, I don’t mind posting little videos on Snapchat at all. It’s kind of lovely, actually, seeing people’s real lives, hearing their voices, seeing their lives unedited. I’ve always been obsessed with documentaries, and Snapchat is sort of like this little network of documentaries.
So when I have a desire for social media, I pop on Snapchat for a bit. It’s a nice alternative to Facebook, although I wish more people were on it.
Okay, enough talk about social media. But hopefully now you know why I haven’t responded to your email, replied to your comment, or left a note on your very important and personal Facebook status. I’m just taking a little break from social media. Please forgive me. <3