©2022 Michael Raven
I pretty much mean it when I say I am highly motivated to make some radical transformative changes in my life, which is my main logic and reason for dropping off my social networks. I may also drop out of reading the news while I am at it, another nasty habit I have.
And so, I put Twitter, Instagram and Facebook connections on notice that I’m taking a break. I never installed Facebook on my phone, but I’ll close out the browser window, and I deleted Instagram. Twitter will probably get deleted soon, but I hesitate to do so — not for the feeds, but for the DM features that some people I know use as their primary means of communication and I’m not ready to boot those people out of my life, just the doomscrolling and the weird followers I’ve acquired who are more interested in follower counts than meaningful engagement. There’s some of that here, too. But I tend to not automatically follow back someone, but see if they are actually engaging and/or have sites that actually meet my interests (“self-improvement” seems to be one of the classes of sites that never revisit after blasting me with likes, followed closely by sites with potentially nefarious content). And I don’t follow back sites where the last post was over six months ago. Even three months is kind of iffy for me to follow you back, even if it is the content I want to consume.
That said, it’s not a matter of content for the people I like, but some of the other same-old-same-old on the social sites that feels derivative and tiring to scroll through. And there is a lot of really negative stuff out there mashed in with the phony chipper shit. If you’re familiar with George Carlin’s “Nice” routine, I think you’ll understand at what I’m getting at with the chipper elements.
As part of my intentional “radical transformation” (we’ll call RT for short), I want to change my thinking. I’m tired of having my thoughts trapped by “right ways” and categorizations and weird internet social quirks, by still living in a “80s goth” mental state, and weary of the fighting, posing and meanness common out there. If anything, the world has gotten more divisive than ever with “social media”, and people are drawing lines in the sand over some of the strangest things. I mean, I saw someone get berated on Twitter for “merely giving a heart” when they liked someone’s post because, “If you liked it enough to take the time to put down a heart, you could have written a few words of encouragement to the author.” What’s that unnecessary bullshit? It was a heart. It was enough. Jesus, people. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit”, as my twin girls are fond of saying.
Self-proclaimed experts… Don’t get me started about people offering me anonymous overgeneralized advice I didn’t ask for…
I’m weary of the us/them mentality and, as part of my RT, I’m trying to change how I think less in terms of tribalism and more in terms of understanding the people have reasons for their stances. I don’t have to agree with their reasons, but I don’t need to put them down for having those reasons either. I don’t even need to verbalize my disagreement.
Also, as part of this RT, I am trying to focus on giving people supportive and positive feedback in everything. I’m tired of being “The Realist”. I don’t need to be the downer all of the time.
I’m going to stop teasing my kids. It’s what I grew up with, but I also have a lot of lingering resentment about when I was teased by my family growing up. I don’t need to give them that hand-me-down shit.
In essence, I’m trying to overhaul my way of thinking by breaking up with harmful cycles that get perpetuated over and over. By removing the normalcy of these broken kinds of engagements is a first step.