Anyone who has been following me for any length of time knows that I regularly get sick of social media and threaten to leave it. It happens regularly for me. I start to feel like shit when I am scrolling and then everything I read from others makes me mad and depressed. How can people be so dumb?
It got worse leading up to the 2016 election. I have seen so many good people become crazy people with whacky opinions. Things that go against Church teaching which under any other circumstances would be obvious to everyone and people would be trying to help them for the sake of their soul, but in 2020 what happens is that the people who agree with them circle the wagons, double down on the opinions and the people who disagree with what this person said circles their own wagons and start calling for the person’s head. And then cue the persecution complex and then the warrior “I have to speak the truth” complex and you end up with flame wars.
None of this is new to social media. I’ve been online since MySpace so most of my adult life has been with social media as a way of communication and also they have been a huge part of relationships with people in my life. But what is new is how crazy the opinions have gotten, the conspiracy theories are more whack and have more believers and the dehumanizing of each other is off the charts.
I watched a documentary on Netflix called “The Social Dilemma” which really laid things out in a way that, to me, explained what I’ve been seeing all around me. The ugly and the lies and the inability to see the good in others. The despair and anger…. the just all around ick of it all. I feel like 2020 is the fruit of it all somehow.
One of the people in the documentary said something that stood out to me. He said that lies and manipulation are programmed into the algorithms to make us click and to keep our attention. The point is not for us to just be addicted but to be addicted so that our behavior can be manipulated.
Hearing this stopped me in my tracks.
As human beings we are made to seek what is true, good and beautiful. That is how God changes our behavior by leading us to love through those things. It is love that guides all of our actions to become holy , not perfect, but actually holy which means to be a part of the life of God. Evil erodes those things so that we do not fall in love with what is True, Beautiful and Good aka God and so we destroy ourselves.
That is why Jesus says the father of lies is the devil.
And here we all are sucked into a space where lies and manipulation are embedded into the code (LITERALLY) and it distracts us from God. And it alters our view of reality. How many times have you said “what reality does _______ live in?”. How many times have you felt like your kids are operating on a totally different planet? Which is also normal but this level of it is not.
It is concerning to me because we are all watching it happen while making excuses on why we “have to” stay logged on. We don’t have to be. It might take some creative thinking on how to do life without social media, but we can. That is Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… all of it.
Here’s my plan. I am going to keep my public Facebook and my Instagram but I am going to post on them from Hootsuite. I will spend a few hours a week replying to comments. I am going to build a newsletter that will be free, I will begin blogging again and I am also on Patreon share pictures of my life and grands because I do not want them on socials. Not to mention my Podcast.
I love writing. I love creating content but I do not want to be part of the problem and I do not want to compete with the crazy. I do not want to treat you like a breathing wallet that I need to sell my product to. I want to write to give people hope and to tell my story. I want to talk about Anthony and how losing him has almost killed me but I lived. What I do not want to do is psychologically abuse you which is what marketing does and how social media makes money off your attention. I refuse to do that.
So this is the plan and it is for real this time. As always, pray for me. I’ll pray for you.