Deliver Me From Anger

I keep thinking about going back to social media.

I don't miss it but I'm trying to start a writing career and self-promotion is part of that. I have 45 subscribers to my newsletter and no one makes a career on that small of a platform. Social media is the obvious way to get the word out and push things to another level. All week I've felt almost compelled to rejoin Twitter and Facebook and to sign up for Instagram.

Then this crap happens.

In the news, there was a picture of a kid in one of those hateful red hats smirking at a Native American man beating a drum. There's video of high school kids seeming to surround the kid and the man with fury. Both picture and video disquiet me but something else really makes me uncomfortable.

The day the story broke I read an article about it and got angry at that kid. It was that smirk and how he stood in the man's space. I teach high school and see that kind of deniable aggression often. I felt myself go toward anger and dive in deep. Then I dove into the web to find out more.

The school from which the kids had come was identified and so was the smirking kid. I wanted to flame everyone involved. I wanted revenge. I wanted to get angrier. I searched for more, more, and more to feed my anger. That kid's name was all over the web and I was part of a growing mob calling for his head. From what I've read about such things we were all reacting predictably to the stimuli. That's just what social media algorithms feast on.

Eventually, I backed away from the computer. I still went to bed angry at that kid but stopped reading for the night. Good thing too. The next day I saw that the kid had come forward to say who he was. Turns out it wasn't the kid identified the night before, the one my mob was after.

The headline for the new piece began "A More Complicated Story Emerges..." Complications get lost in anger. I scanned the story but couldn't stand reading it or looking again at the picture of what I still see as the kid's condescending and provocative smirk. I closed the browser tab.

I don't want choose anger.

There may come a time I go back to social media to promote my writing. If so I hope I'm not led into temptation but find a way to be delivered from evil. I might need to look higher than a social media platform for that kind of guidance.

I've chosen not to link to the articles or post the picture. Nothing good can be gained from that.

FOMO's Nothing Terrible IRL

Maybe I'm just hearing from people who agree with me, but folks seem to be leaving Twitter in droves and some are even quitting Facebook. Most everyone leaves Twitter for the same reason I left: it's making me so damn mean. And everyone gives the usual excuse for not leaving Facebook: all my friends are there.

I get that, but here's the thing: Twitter and Facebook are cancer. Staying with them promotes that cancer.

I'm being obnoxious. I have friends who remain on Facebook for many reasons. They're good people and aren't too lazy to do the right thing. Leaving bad relationships is difficult and having opted out of Facebook I miss out on things. I didn't know about an acquaintance's cancer, my favorite record store's Christmas social, or a bunch of other things until someone told me. I was behind the times and there are things I miss. Heavens to Murgatroyd!

My FOMO (that's the Fear Of Missing Out, Mom) lasted about three weeks and was then gone. Your mileage may vary.

Another thing about opting out is that I keep working on ways to stay in touch without social media companies. I admit, it's damn inconvenient but friendship should require some effort. Otherwise it's as meaningless as a social media feed.

Let me know when you quit Twitter and Facebook. I won't say I told you so and we'll find ways to stay in touch. We could even go out for coffee IRL. (That's In Real Life, Mom. Speaking of which, let's go out for coffee. I'll drive if you buy. Call me.)