‘Social’ Media

My first forays into social media were in 2007, when my sister Victoria encouraged me to join FACEBOOK to find old pals. Having had this blog/website since 2001, I thought anyone who’d wanted to find me could already do so with a simple search on Netscape (or whatever the prevailing search engine was back then) But I joined anyway. 

Almost immediately, I found old friends, and others were able to find me, just as my sister had promised. I’d lived and worked all around the world when we didn’t yet have cellphones and email addresses (and consequently losing touch was commonplace). So this reconnection with old friends from different phases of my life was a source of great joy. 

Fast forward past fun years of playing silly games (throwing sheep, ‘pokes,’ etc) and laughing at everyone’s high school photos.. Next, I got first hand experience in what a powerful tool for human connection social media can be, when I was a housebound shut-in recuperating from a medical disaster. In those troubled years, social media gave me a lifeline to sanity, and my activity expanded to other platforms as a consequence. 

In this year when the entire planet is in lockdown, social media could be a fantastic tool for replacing human connection, lost due to quarantine isolation. But it seems to be driving people apart instead. Nowadays, people do the air quotes finger gesture as they say the phrase; “social” media, because it hasn’t felt social for quite sometime. 

The brittle crankiness out there is understandable, given the harrowing events of 2020, but online interactions were already snarky years ago. I might go for months without encountering objectionable behavior in the real world, but hostility & hatefulness is ever-present online. These days, that contrast is harder to bear. Simply because my real interactions with actual humans are rare during lockdown and online interactions have become everything. 

FACEBOOK in particular has grown into something other than the fun platform it used to be. It now feels like a real life “MAFIA WARS”. Not just the constant name calling, but the corporate entity itself. I was certainly warned many times over the years, by wary friends grimly alluding to data tracking and other nefarious shenanigans of the Zuckbot..

My feeling was that if a corporation wanted to track my eyeballs on their advertising, so what? Wasn’t that always what they’d done? I’d soaked in a bath of their advertising my entire life. But now I do feel a part of some dysfunctional toxic ecosystem, and need to PAUSE social media, at least for a while.  

Social media might simply be be a representation of the collective ID of the human race. A nonstop jabbering stream of consciousness, with all the rabid raw anxieties that implies. It’s a fantastic diagnostic tool for taking the pulse of the human race. However, looking steadily into the white hot glare of that pulsating cyclopean maw for too long becomes exhausting. Possibly even dangerous, and it’s important to step away to other things.

I’ve periodically done fasting or ‘cleanses’ for my physical health in the past. Now it’s time for a media cleanse, when I lay off the social media candy. As with any real life fast, the goal is to reset. I’d like to get back to blogging, writing, personal creative projects, and things I used to do more consistently in the pre social media era. Blogging gave me a lot of fun. Both writing my own blog and reading posts of others. I hope to do that again.

I’ve quit Facebook, but still have a few active social media accounts. Instagram in particular is one I greatly enjoy. Its image-based interactions favour the sharing of drawings and photos, which I love.

13 thoughts on “‘Social’ Media”

  1. I could not agree more about Instagram. I want to bathe in art sharing and inspiration rather than the constant onslaught of hate all day long. I read the news, I keep up with the events, and I do my homework about issues. I also want to find some bits of enjoyment in my own life, as it is the only one I have. I don’t know how to make friends in this context, especially being in isolation. So for now just working on art and sharing art seems like the best way to get through it all.

  2. It was two weeks ago that I figured that I hadn’t seen a recent post from you on Facebook . Then I couldn’t find you at all on there…..and you weren’t even on Julia’s friends list. This explains it. Stay safe over there man….the U.S is getting smashed by the Rapture at the moment.

    • Tony! hanging with old mates like you was one of the true joys of FB for me, and frankly if it weren’t for that I might’ve pulled the plug years ago, when the yelling began. Yeah, it’s nutty over here right now. I have front row seats for the collapse of the Neo Roman empire! If a few of these nutters would be raptured up and away that would suit me very nicely.

  3. “the white hot glare of that pulsating cyclopean maw” – HA! brilliant! I hit that wall two years ago, dumped FB, and haven’t once wondered about the opinions of old acquiantances, or what they had for lunch. Don’t look back! You’ll turn to stone.

    • Hey Steve! I definitely began to consider bailing FB around 2 or 3 years ago, but still enjoyed the socializing enough to stick with it. I may go back to it later, not sure yet.

  4. Yeah, social media is a double edged sword. You really have to currate your feed. Interestingly enough, I am kinda steering back to blogging as well! It has been unattended for a long time, but I recently just realized, I do like blogging alot more, now that I have like a zillion social media accounts to blast my work out there. Have you given any thought to youtube maybe? Like a show with your process and thoughts? Maybe edit some of your comics on there? NARRATE THEM?! Or is that just silly talk?

    • Hey Arvin!
      I spent an afternoon going through my LINKS page and sadly most of the blogs i used to follow were abandoned, or hadn’t been updated in years (glad to see YOU back at it though!) I do really love the format, but I must admit that even I wasn’t visiting them as much as I used to. (If you learn of any good active ones let me know!)

      No, I’ve never thought of youtube. There are tons of people already doing process vids, or review vids, neither of which I’m into doing myself. But maybe I could make simple film of some of my childhood stories..

  5. I have a presence on FB but only because it gives my webcomic some visibility. I did find a friend from years before whom I knew during the Cambodian incursion riots at my university in the 70s. I reminded him of those “fun filled” days and he unfriended me. I can only assume his present job wouldn’t take kindly to his former (?) radicalism. I also expressed a political opinion once and got unfriended by a number of “followers”. After that I maintain the FB page but rarely post anything.

    Very very glad to hear you’re out of the “bad time” now. Always wishing you the best of luck.

    E.T. Bryan

  6. Dear Jamie, what YOU said. Write down names of people I want to remember)stay in contact with months ago then didn’t follow through with getting contact info. It’s crazy I’ve let numbers and emails slide due to using that platform for messaging, and even phone calls. Not good to give that power away. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration to follow through with cutting the ties. See you in IG, and hopefully beyond xox

    • Hey Larissa! Cut ties to FB and hopefully REGAIN true ties, to people again. My hope is that eventually FB will be carved up into smaller companies the way they did with BELL telephone in the old days. One thing I’m learning, now that I’ve bailed FB and returned to the older technology of email, is that I find a lot of my stuff ends up caught in SPAM traps. Ah.. technology, eh?

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