Sunday, January 27, 2019

Passive-Agressive and Outright Aggressive Posts on Facebook and Social Media


Have you ever been wasting your day, just scrolling through Facebook, without a care in the world, when, suddenly, you see a post that makes you wince?  You know, the kind of post that makes you wonder, "why would anyone post that?"  I have.  Many times.  And, truthfully, it always made me feel dirty.  It always made me wonder, "what in the world am I doing with my time?"

If you study the posts on Facebook, you will find that the posts fall into various genres.  Some of these are:

PERSONAL POSTS - Generally written by the person posting them.
•Posts about family, real life, travel, or happenings.
•Posts about faith and religion.
•Posts about hardships and advice seeking.
•Posts that brag, often about school, job, income, wealth, future plans.
•Opinion/Political posts.
•Posts that say too much:  Generally posts about love, romance, and things that maybe should be kept between couples. 
FORWARDED POSTS: created by another person, passed on around Facebook.
•Memes, things that make people laugh.
•Religious forwards:  often along the lines of: "If you don't do this, you are ashamed of..."
•Posts about luck: similar to religious posts, but more like "share this to get money."
•Feel good posts, such as "hope your day is swell."
•Political forwards
•Passive-aggressive/outright aggressive posts:  posts that attack something indirectly, and sometimes directly.
This entry is about the passive-aggressive posts that pop up on Facebook.  To me, these represent perhaps the ugliest type of posts, and one reason that Facebook falls afoul of being a place that is "kind, pure, just, wise, etc."
By definition, passive-aggressive behavior is a deliberate and masked way of expressing covert feelings of anger (Long, Long & Whitson, 2009). Motivated by a fear of expressing anger directly, the passive-aggressive person employs a variety of behaviors designed to get back at another person without the other recognizing the underlying anger. Today’s technology—through which anyone can share cruel jabs and humiliating photos behind the cover of a screen and through the remoteness of a mouse click—provides the perfect medium for the passive-aggressive person who seeks to express anger definitively, yet indirectly.  -- via Psychology Today.
We all have a friend who is a bit too angry at life.  We all know someone who just needs to cool their jets and accept that life is sometimes hard.  We all know someone who has fallen between the cracks of society and has emerged on Facebook to tell the world that they are very, very angry.  If you are reading this, you have already thought of someone.  Yes, chances are we are talking about the same type of person.

We all go through stages of depression in life.  Depression is hard to deal with.  I have long believed that if you are depressed, it is best to stay away from Facebook.  Facebook never really makes a sad person feel better.  And chances are, if you are on Facebook when angry or sad, you are going to be tempted to fish for compliments.  You want recognition for who you are.  That's only natural.  You're human.  You want people to understand your problems.  You want to get your point across.  There's nothing wrong with that, for the most part.  The problem is that Facebook is a very, well, strange place to try to get recognition and share problems.  Imagine you are angry at your ex-wife for taking the children.  Imagine you know that a few of your close friends are in Grand Central station, and so are you.  You don't see them, but they are there, in the crowd.  There are also some people you went to school with, but that was years ago.  And some ex-coworkers are there too.  Would you scream, "I can't believe my ex-wife took my kids!  She is such a user!  I gave her everything!  And now this!"
Facebook is like that.  We are screaming our problems to the world, and many people are just scrolling through and thinking, "who was that guy again?" 


There are some very ugly forwards that go around Facebook.  Things that make me cringe.  Things that are dirty and dark.  Posts that represent the foulest and lowest part of society.  The deepest and darkest chasms of the mind.  These are posts that need not be shared or spoken of.  They do nothing to make a person feel good and represent the vilest nature of mankind.  These posts are not seen by many, but some people love them.  These types of posts include posts of a very sexual nature, posts with near-pornographic content, posts that talk about hurting one's self or others, and posts that tear others apart.  Many of these posts are allowed by Facebook, surprisingly!  Posts about "wanting sex" with erotic art that features sexual intercourse is okay with Facebook.  How do I know this?  I had reported many of these, and Facebook said that they found nothing at all wrong with the post in question.  Insane!



Passive-aggressive and outright aggressive posts are, for worse or worser still, a part of the Facebook experience.  I used to watch family members threaten to "delete friends" off their wall if a post was not liked.  I knew one person who literally said: "I don't ****ing understand why my posts don't get more likes."  Parents posting nasty things about their children.  Family and friends ripping into each other.  Words like claws scratching and cutting deep into each other.  Ugly, ugly place!  Relationships that were once full of love, posted and plastered on the Facebook wall, which is now a warzone Everyone watches as the two battle it out, and you are stuck in the middle of it, even after both unfriended each other!  And this is entertainment for the world.  This is what people spend their lives engaged in!

In the time that you have spent on Facebook, you could have started a business, wrote a book, went back to school, found a new job, started a new hobby, got very good at an instrument.  They say it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something.  How much time do you waste reading passive-aggressive posts a day on Facebook?  Think about that.  You could have had a downpayment towards mastering a new craft or skill with all that time that you have literally squandered!  I speak for myself, too.  I look in the mirror and say, "what a waste!  What a shameful waste!"

All hope is not lost.  You still have a lot of life left ahead of you!  You can change your course right now.  Chances are, you have hundreds upon hundreds of hours that you will still log on Facebook if you don't give it up.  Why not trade your Facebook addiction for something more productive?  Why not learn a skill or get in shape.  Ten thousand hours of exercise and study sounds pretty nice, doesn't it?  How much of a language could you learn in 10,000 hours?  A lot!  Why blow that time hooked on (a)social media?

Sometimes when I play Duolingo, a little note pops up that says, "15 minutes a day can teach you a language. What can 15 minutes of Instagram do?"  That is so relevant.  So true.  Unless you are using Instagram or Facebook to build your business and reel in more customers, it's pretty much irrelevant for life.  If you're spending vast quantities of time on either and are feeling a roller coaster of emotions after and during your time spent on these sites, GET OFF NOW!!   It's not worth it!

Have you blown your time through your Facebook or social media addiction with nothing but depression to show for it?  Do you get tired of all those ultra-passive-aggressive and outright aggressive posts that seem to show up on your wall.  Do you know someone who is just really sad and angry on social media.  Is that person you?  Do you want to quit but don't know how?  What would your life be like if you stopped right here, right now?  What would you do with all that time you saved?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Day that Facebook Died


I remember the screams.  The screams that lit up the night.  It was a Thursday.  I was debating whether or not to eat a late night dinner.  I was just about to open the refrigerator when I heard the first scream.  It sounded like someone's child died.  I rushed to the window, to look outside.  On the sixth floor apartment overlooking 58th street and Broadway, I looked out.  Cars passed up and down the street.  But that scream.  It was coming from across the street.  Then another.  It was a gut-wrenching scream.  A chill went down my spine.  Then more.  In succession.  Screams, wails, moans.  It sounded as if the end of the world was about to come.  Lights came on, and people were running up and down the streets.  I looked out the window and wondered what could be happening.

My heart was racing now.  My mind was telling me to run.  Something horrible just had happened.  Banshee wails filled up the city.  It was unreal.   Was this a dream?  I quickly grabbed my coat and boots, slid them on, and went down the stairs.  I did not bother waiting for the elevator.  Down and down.  Around and around.  I could hear more of these shrill screams coming from the rooms that I passed.  Children were crying.  What was happening?  Why did I not understand it?

I reached the door and headed out into the street.  Cars had come to a halt as people were getting out.  Some people were throwing up.  A man laid in the middle of the road, sobbing like a baby.  People did not see to care.  Nothing was moving.  The street lights eerily shined their light upon the scene.  Had a plague broken out?  Were people dying?  I saw no bodies.  No military presence was seen.  I looked up and down.  No act of terrorism had seemed to happen.  But it was as if the world was in shock.

Then I heard it.  A woman, on her balcony, hanging off, as if ready to fling herself off into the night.  It was the longest and most horrible sound I have ever heard in my life.  I will never forget those eyes.  They shined like a werewolf.  Her mouth opened, and she screamed "Faaaaaaaaaceeeboooook."

That was the day that Facebook died.

I made my way up to the apartment.  I still did not understand it.  I turned on the news and saw an empty newsroom.   On the bottom of the screen, the words passed by, "Facebook is No More.  Cities are reeled with chaos.  Martial law has been imposed.  Curfews to come."   Then I saw two soldiers appear on the screen.  "Until further notice," one said, "the US military will be imposing martial law until things stabilize.  Facebook is no more.  There will be an announcement from the president to come."

Then, the screen flashed and the president came on.  "My fellow Americans," he began.  His demeanor was calm, but I could see the fear in his eyes.  "Tonight the unthinkable has happened.  For reasons that are yet unknown, Facebook has gone down.  Not just for a moment.  The servers have been overloaded.  It's done.  It's over.  Listen to the army.  They will restore order until things get back up and running."

I could not believe it.  I had not been on Facebook in a couple of years.  In fact, my life seemed alright, actually pretty good, without it.  Now, it all went down.  I never thought much about what the world would be like if it had ended.  I just sat there watching the news as it showed images of helicopters flying over various cities.  Philadelphia, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles.  Each one was in chaos.  It was as if a plague or war had broken out.  I saw images of people rushing into stores and looting.  I saw cars on fire.  It was a breakdown of society.  Was this how the world was supposed to end?

On the bottom of the screen, the government had announced that financial markets would not open out of fear of a market collapse.  The suicide hotline number was plastered on the screen.  Many, it seemed, were taking their own lives.  Welcome to the apocalypse. 

I walked to the window.  Much of the initial screams had died down, but chaos had begun.  I saw a tank roll along Broadway as people were shouting and running alongside it.  Back on the television set, a man had set himself on fire in front of the US Capitol building.  Chaos.

I looked in my fridge.  I decided I would not eat.  I made sure my door was locked and went to lie down.  My eyes did not want to close.  I just looked up at the ceiling for hours, wondering what would come next.  The sounds of people, movement, anger, and fear filled up the night.  The morning was coming.  The world would never be the same.

***

I must have fallen asleep at one point because I woke up and all was pretty quiet.  For a moment at least.  Then it hit me, and then I heard the sounds again.  Helicopters whirred out and loudspeakers came on.  "Everyone is required to stay indoors.  The Army will bring rations to each house.  Anyone on the streets will be arrested or shot.  This is an order."  It kept repeating.


An hour later I heard a knock on the door.  I went to it and looked out.  A soldier was leaving.  I opened the door and saw a box lying on the ground.  The soldier turned around and said, "do not leave your apartment."  I nodded.  I went back inside and opened it up.  In the box, random items from the nearby Gristedes grocery store were packed in.  Some lettuce, a bottle of ketchup, a bottle of water, some olives, two bags of chips, a kit kat bar.  Nothing substantial.  I set it on the counter.

I sat on my couch as the light of the television set illuminated my face.  I could not hear much over the siren and loudspeakers.  Every once in a while I heard what sounded like gunfire.  I had even heard an explosion in the distance.  This is when I started to feel a strong sense of dread, fear, and anger.  I think the anger was the worst, as I could not even fathom how a social media website had brought about the breakdown of society.  I guess I had initially thought that people would get over it and move on, but society had not.  Now, everything was falling apart, and this was real.

I never understood the point of Facebook.  I had never really understood how people could become so addicted and enthralled by it.  I was once on it but quickly grew tired of all the politics, the arguing, and the bickering by my own family members.  I found the website to be a waste of time.  Few had agreed with me.  In fact, most thought that there was something wrong with me because I was not a slave to social media.  Life, for me, went on just as normal.

But now, life was not normal.  How could it get to this point?  How could this stupid website be responsible for the breakdown of a once proud and powerful society?  What would become of us as a people?  I watched in horror as I saw that a war between civilians and the military had broken out in Brooklyn and various cities on the west coast.  I heard another faint explosion in the distance.  Unreal.  What in the world would I do at this point, I wondered.  I still could not believe it was real.

I went back to the window and looked out.  A soldier was standing guard on our block.  He saw me looking at him and he motioned for me to go back inside.  I closed my curtains but peeked through.  A bulldozer was slowly moving along the street and pushing cars to the curb.  In the distance, the morning light was growing brighter.  I could see smoke rising over the buildings.  And the sky seemed to slowly grow black.  Another explosion.  The ground seemed to shake a bit.

I made my way back to the television.  A message appeared on the screen now that said "please stand by for updates.  Do not leave your home."

***

In the days that passed, soldiers would sometimes bring boxes of mixed up food items.  I did not leave the house, but time seemed as if it was standing still.  I could hear gunfire, and I started to get used to the sounds.  The mind does that.  It quickly adapts to what is real.  Had you told me this would happen before it had happened, I would have been terrified, but now I had grown accustomed to living in a warzone.  In fact, at this point, I expected that I would probably die, and strangely, I was at peace with that.  But, I was still angry at the fact that Facebook was the cause of this madness.

I was laying on my couch, looking up at the ceiling when I heard a scuffle outside on the street.  A woman was screaming at a soldier.  "Go inside, now" the soldier demanded.  "I can't.  I need medicine.  My child is sick."
"You will go in now and we will bring you medicine."
"No, I need it now.  You said you would bring it yesterday."
"We will bring you a military escort so you can go to the hospital."
"I need it now!"
"GET INSIDE."
"No."
"This is an order, GET INSIDE!"
"NO!"
She started towards him... and I knew.  I knew what would happen.  I moved away from the window.  Then I heard it.  Bang.  Then silence.
"Everyone will stay inside of their homes until further notice."  

 ***

This, of course, is a story of fiction.  For now.  When does it get to the point where, if Facebook went down, would society collapse?  Would this be reality?  Would the end of the website that the world is "hopelessly" addicted to bring the breakdown of modern society?  Would Facebook's servers being filled with mundane images and family arguments, and political banter, cause it to collapse?  Could this collapse trigger the end of the world?  Is Facebook a ticking time bomb?

Perhaps it is not so far fetched to imagine that Facebook's downfall could bring about massive changes in society as we know it.  Perhaps it's not so strange to think that people would lose a sense of reality if Facebook went poof.  There are many who live, drink and breathe Facebook and social media, so to speak.

Imagine, for a moment, the fall of Facebook.  What do you think it would look like?  What would happen with those who you know who spend their lives on Facebook?  What would your family look like?  Your friends and co-workers?  What if you could no longer see what all of your classmates from decades ago were doing?  What then?  Would your world collapse?  

Friday, January 25, 2019

Offline is The New Luxury: Taking a Social Media Fast


Fasting is becoming very popular once again.   It is not as popular for religious purposes, although it has long been popular for that, but for weight loss and health.  Intermittent fasting is something that you have probably heard of if you are following diet and fitness trends.

Well, there's another kind of fast that's also gaining ground.  That's the technology fast or Technology Shabbat.

According to Wikipedia:
A Technology Shabbat or Tech Shabbat are terms for a rest or cessation from the use of all technology with screens, ie smartphones, computers, tablets and television. The term was first coined in 2010 by filmmaker and internet pioneer Tiffany Shlain and husband UC Berkeley robotics professor Ken Goldberg.
Is fasting from social media a good idea?

This is like asking if it is a good idea to breathe air.  Of course!  I shudder to think that, at one time, I was plugged into (a)social media seven days a week.  Taking in the arguments, the negativity, the politics, the bragging, the drama, the mindlessness of it all, day after day without a break.  I can't even imagine what that does to a person's mind.  One day away from that, once a week, almost does not feel like enough, does it?

Religiously, I am used to the idea of taking a "Sabbath."  In fact, I think that it's extremely important to take time away from work and the cares of the world and focus on more "heavenly" thoughts.  However, I have, at times, spent valuable Sabbath time on (a)social media, to later feel like garbage afterward.  Is this a proper use of the Biblical Sabbath?  Perhaps that is a more personal decision.  Yet, I would say, being on (a)social media seven days a week is not the proper use of your mind.

Fasting from (a)social media is a great way to see how nice it can be to unplug.  Like fasting from food, fasting from social media will likely leave you "hungry."  At least at first.  Yet, the more time you take away from this high calorie, low nutrient substance, you will start to feel amazing.  In the end, fasting from (a)social media will fill you up in ways you probably have never imagined.  Fasting from (a)social media is like fasting from the worst foods you can put in your body.  Facebook and its ilk represent some of the worst internet content you can put into your mind.  Various governing bodies around the world regulate what can be put in food.  Few would argue against, that on its surface at least, it's a good thing.  Yet, there's no regulation of any kind what is put on Facebook.  I don't advocate that there should be.  Freedom of speech, after all, is an amazing right.  Yet, what appears on Facebook is often some of the gravest abuses of freedom of speech known to man.
The apostle Paul said, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things and the God of peace will be with you” Philippians 4:8.
I look at the above verse and I ask, "does Facebook reach the standard of this ideal?"  I can not, in any way, with an honest mind or heart say that it does.  Facebook and (a)social media is often the exact opposite of this amazing verse.  There is no way that a person can say that what is seen on Facebook is in line with these things.  Just by being present on Facebook, you are widely opening your mind to the worst of humanity.

At one time, I made a list of reasons why I should stay off of Facebook. They were:
•It’s incredibly political. I don’t want to be on there if all that is talked about is politics.
•It’s all about showing off. Facebook is all about boasting. My life may make other people jealous and I do not desire that.
•It results in time away from God and study of God’s word.
•It results in time away from family.
•It results in more time spent staring at my phone. Since leaving I have been using my phone far less.
•It was often responsible for or a part of online fighting that took place.
•It is like being back where I grew up, something that I have no desire to ever do again.
•I care too much what others think of me on there. I compare myself with others, and there are thoughts of competition and jealousy that are not of God.
•I am on display there and do not wish to be an internet novelty.
•By beholding we become changed.  The change was not good.
•It negatively affects the brain and mind. It puts me into a bad mood at times and makes me think very negatively of others and even the blessings that God has given me/us.
•Many times I am fake or portray others of being fake. I felt that I was forced to be fake there, and not honest. At the extreme, it made me into a liar.
•There is a lot of cussing and negative influences; coarse language.
•There are many anti-God posts.
•It is a “strange culture” that exists nowhere else in the world.
•Those who do not want to be my friends on there still comment on my posts, which I find confusing and oftentimes annoying.
•I am not missing out on anything.
•It is a bad influence for my daughter to see me always on it.

I once saw this quote that said, "offline is the new luxury."  At one time, having internet was a big deal.  I was in high school when my parents got a WebTV for a gift from my grandparents.  I was an instant celebrity for having that thing.  Instead of just existing in the "regular" world, the entire world of the internet was opened up to us.  The internet was not that big yet, and (a)social media had yet to be invented.  Yet, being online at that time was a luxury that a small percentage of the world had yet experienced.  It was great!

Yet, fast forward to the year 2019 and I see the opposite.  Being offline, off your phone, out in the world, in nature, with those around you, that's the new luxury.  Creating, living, just being, that's what being alive is about.  Not everything about being online is bad, and (a)social media has its place in the business realm.  But, investing yourself and your mind into the world of (a)social media constantly, every single day, is not a luxury.  It's madness.  It's a waste.  And in the end, it hurts more than helps.  What we put in our mind becomes a part of how we feel and ultimately who we are.  

Yes, there's something amazing about taking time of (a)social media.  Even if you take a day or two, you will see results and you will start to consider taking a longer sojourn from the highly negative world of social media.  You will see positive changes in your life.  There is no way you can not say more time spent with family, work, school, God, friends, physical and intellectual pursuits and living the life that makes you human is in any way a negative thing.  If you want to feel like a living, breathing, human with a renewed vigor, then take a social media fast.  You will never know what you were missing until you give up (a)social media.

Have you ever considered taking a social media fast?  Have you given up Facebook for a day at a time, weekly?  Do you think it would be good for you?  Are you scared you would miss being on Facebook?  Or, are you more afraid that you would become addicted to not being addicted?  Imagine the wonderful things that await you when you unplug from (a)social media and plug into the world that is around you.  There's a reason people have fasted and taken Sabbaths throughout the ages of human existence.  Try it with your phone and social media accounts.  You will be surprised!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Whether or Not to Be on Facebook (Or Social Media) is a Choice


You ever feel like you need to do something?  I mean, like you really should be doing it.

Everyone else is, so you might as well, right?

No, not "might as well" -- I mean, you should do it.  Because.  Well...  It's required for life.

I have.  I felt that way with a lot of things when I was younger.  I felt that to be a legitimate adult I needed a house, family, job, car, and all that society tells us we should have.  Oh.  And one more thing:  I thought I should be on Facebook.

Well, get this.  I don't have a house.  I don't have a car.  And I work for free.

I do have a family though, but I'm not currently on Facebook.  And you know what?  Life for me is amazing!

We are sold this idea that we need to be on (a)social media to have a so-called "good" life.  And if we are not plugged in and checking up on everyone we ever met, our life lacks something.  Well, I don't agree!  Not one bit!  In fact, I have found through the experience of my own and reading the experience of others that a life away from (a)social media can actually be optimal.  I have watched other people who are plugged into sites like Facebook and Instagram wasting time and feeling depressed.  Guess what?  I'm far less depressed when I'm away from it.  Facebook is DEPRESSING!  And so are a lot of people who I talk to who are not on sites like Facebook or Instaskin.

The conventional life, the "one size fits all" life, the "do it like everyone else does it" life is for the birds.  Many people have told me over the years that I am strange or am not living right, but I look at my life and others and I say, I'm happy with my life.  Great marriage, great family structure, plenty of cash, plenty of time to develop myself.  Yeah, it's good.  Real good.  And where did all this come from?  Well, being productive which was brought on by curbing my use of (a)social media.

You see, when I was younger I was building my future while others were building their profiles.  I was developing my life while some were developing their friend's lists.  And, you know what?  When I went on Facebook, I was actually sometimes jealous of the amounts of likes that others got on their posts when my real life was just crushing the competition!  Isn't that just messed up?  Yeah, my posts didn't have the (a)social media weight as others did, but I was hanging out in Morocco, Germany, Switzerland, Red Sea Coast, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and plenty of other countries, earning money daily through my own businesses, and I was jealous because my posts of the Georgian Highlands or the vistas of Tbilisi and Marrakech didn't reel in the same amount of likes as my sister-in-law's new hair color!  What in the world?

Life isn't about virtual likes, though.  It's not about who on the other side of a computer or phone "approves" of your day.  Until you wake up and realize that, you're going to be stuck in a roller coaster like cycle of depression and elation.  Why do these things matter to people?  Why did they matter to me?  Because we are told they do and they were built to psychologically control us.  (A)social media is a psychological mind game.  It's built to be addictive and to make us act in certain ways.  We want likes and we will do anything to get them.  But what's the point?  What does it do for our life?  Sure, it makes something in our mind feel better.  We feel acceptance.  So what?  Acceptance from a person we have not seen in decades?  Does it really make our life any better or worse?  I mean, if you think about it, does getting a like on Facebook really have anything to do with the course of your life?  Does it make a night on the beaches of Phuket or a movie with your family really any better or worse?  No.  It doesn't.  It's all mental.  It's psychological.  It's ridiculous, really.

People will always tell you how to live your life.  Ever since I was in law school, I have a really creepy stalker-person follow me around and post how I should be working in a law office instead of traveling the world and running my own businesses that are based in the United States.  It angers him that I don't use my degree in the way he was taught to use his.  But, so what?  Too bad.  We all have different lives.  We are all given the ability to choose how we want to live.  Some people won't ever understand that.  They'd rather spend their lives on the internet, telling others how to live.  That's kind of what (a)social media is like, isn't it?

Likewise, some people are going to tell you that you need to be on Facebook.  No, you don't.  You don't have to be anywhere you don't want to be.  If you want to not be on (a)social media, the more power to you.  In fact, you are going to probably have a much better life than those who are plugged in and chugging away for likes day after day after day.

Facebook is optional.

Instagram is optional.


Your presence on social media is optional.

Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Do you got someone breathing down your neck telling you that you just have to be on (a)social media?  Do you feel like your life is not legitimate if you are not doing what society tells you that you should be doing?  Did you learn in school or by others that if you don't follow the prescribed course for life then you are doing it all wrong?  Do you want to give up Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but feel that you'd be a pariah of the world if you did?  If so, share your comments!  

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Lying on the Internet: Social Media is a World of Lies


The world of (a)social media is built on lies.  Think about it.  How much of what you see on (a)social media do you actually believe?  Think about it for a moment.  What have you read online that you once thought was true to find out was false?  Sites like Snopes are required reading to wade through the lies that exist on the internet.  

The truth is, there is a lot that exists on the internet and on (a)social media that just can not be believed.  An NBC News Report of an MIT study about false news on the internet states:
“Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information,” the team, led by Sinan Aral of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote in the journal Science."
Why are people on these sites then?  If you can't believe what is said, why do you follow this stuff?  That's the big question.  Yet, it's not just news that is passed around that is false.  Much of what people say on (a)social media is not quite the truth.

Why is this?  Well, it could be the fact that (a)social media exists for people to brag and get their own all-important points across.  Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram all exist for people to advertise how wonderful they and their lives are to the rest of the world.  And, much of what is said is not reality.

It is no secret that the internet is often a web of lies.  Go to forums such as JDUnderground and see people brag about their degrees, incomes, and general lives.  People enjoy making others want the lives they have.  As some of my students like to say, "we live in a dog eat dog world" and there's a lot of truth to that statement.  Sisters, cousins, brothers, friends, enemies, children, co-workers, classmates and even church members like to compare themselves and their lives to others.  Nobody likes to be at the bottom of the food chain.  On (a)social media it's all too easy to fib a little.  Some take it a step further and turn it into an even bigger lie.

Look at the dating sites on the internet.  Craigslist (which is no longer a dating site per se), Plenty of Fish, or Tinder, for example.  How many people fake their profiles in some way?  How many people say that they are not or have never been married?  How many people use older pictures of themselves?  On the internet, it's all too easy to show "your best side."  And many people seem to think that there is an okay time to lie.  Add to that the fact that many people are more okay lying to strangers (people on the internet) versus people in everyday life.  After all, what are the repercussions if someone online finds out you lied?  Generally, not much.

CBC.ca states that:
"The internet is a web of lies. 
That's according to new research looking at online honesty, which found that "online deception is the rule, not the exception."
 Is It Okay To Lie Online?

Personally, I believe in never telling a lie.  A lie, in my opinion, is always wrong.  Once trust is broken, it's hard to gain it back.  And once a liar, the harder it is to be honest.  That is not to say that I have never lied.   I have.  But, I regret every single instance of it.  I do not believe that it is alright to lie online.  I do not believe that it is right to not be honest with other people, whether or not they are on the other side of a screen or on right in front of me.  Sadly, the world does not share this view with me, and when I look at (a)social media, I see too many lies being passed around.  Whether they are malicious lies or small "white" lies, I don't agree with any of it.  It's a complete waste of time to spend your time wading through lies and false statements when you can just stay away from all of it.
According to Drouin, most people reported lying online in order to make themselves appear better. 
"They wanted to be cooler. They wanted to be more beautiful. They wanted to be sexier. They wanted to give an appearance of a life that was better than the life that they were leading," she said. 
But there were other reasons too. 
"Others said that they lied because they just thought everyone lies online. This is the place where lying is standard."  Source:  CBC.ca - Everyone lies on the internet, according to new research
On social media, you can be whoever you want to be, even if it's not true!  Want to appear smarter, thinner, more well read, sportier, funnier, wilder, neater, less criminal, more savvy, not addicted to (a)social media... well you can.  And, those are the posts that get the most likes.  Want to be honest, truthful, transparent, honest?  Well, those posts don't really get the attention.  Have horrible diarrhea and post about it?   Whoa, too honest!

I have heard many people say that they can not believe sites like Wikipedia (which is peer-reviewed) but will believe e-mail and message forwards and posts on Facebook.  Stories circulate, some based on fear, and others to evoke good feelings, that in the end are just not honest.  And our precious time is spent reading and believing these things, and applying their ideas to our lives!

It's sad that the world of (a)social media can't be more honest.  It's sad that we can not always trust each other on the internet.  Yet, life is not always like that.  What's the next best thing?  Spending your time trying to decipher the truth?  Trying to figure out what is more and less likely to be the truth and what could be a lie?  Nah.  The best thing is to just say "goodbye."  Why spend your time engaged in lies?  That's one reason I don't read tabloids.  Why would I spend my time standing around with my head in my phone doing the same thing day after day?  That's the question.

Are you sick of the constant barrage of lies that exists on (a)social media?  Do you trust what others say?  What about your closest friends?  Are you tempted to lie?  Do you think that it's okay to lie online?  Are you starting to think that social media is just a HUGE waste of time?  If so, share your views and experiences in the comments.

Friday, January 18, 2019

How Do You Delete That Facebook Profile That You Spent So Much Time To Build?


How do you delete something you that you worked so hard to build?  How do you get rid of something that has so many memories for you?  Those are the hard questions that many encounters when they are making their grand exodus from the (a)social media behemoth and time waster extraordinaire, Facebook!  In this post, I will answer those questions and show you how to clear your time and mind to begin creating a life that will be better than anything you could have achieved being a slave to (a)social media.  

I, myself, was once a slave of (a)social media.  I used to slither around its dark chasms, comparing my life with my sister in laws (and one's feisty roommate), who also had their own addictions with (a)social media that they cared not to battle.  I wondered what was happening with friends from yesteryear, and what my contemporaries were up to.  In short, I was busy living everyone's life but my own.  But, the big thing was, that I was posting my entire life to validate myself and my choices to others.  It was a trainwreck that had yet to leave the station and an embarrassment to even speak of.  Did any good come of it?  I look back at my own past with Facebook and see years worth of fights starting as a result to something or other that was posted.

There are many stories of fighting and drama that takes place day after day on (a)social media, with the rest of the world playing the part of the spectator. Stories of couples that break up and tarnish each other's reputations on Facebook to become once again deeply in love, sharing that "love" with the rest of the world as if the bad had never happened.  On and off, on and off.  The Facebook roller coaster rides on!  The only difference is now I am off of it and loving life.  When do others wake up and realize that the world without Facebook is unprecedented peace?  When do others realize that they can do so so much in life without Facebook literally tethering their face to their phones?

You don't live in the past.  You live now.  There are many ways to keep track of your past that are far better than Facebook.  Keep a blog.  You can make it private if you choose.  This allows you to actually write and formulate thoughts.  Writing is good for your mind and it's a real-life skill that you can take with you to the far reaches of your professional life.

Speaking of journals, I recently took a look in one of mine and found this written, which really sums up some of my thoughts nicely:
"I think that Facebook, Twitter, and similar sites have diminished people's capacity for individual thought and social skills.  I feel that those sites have done so much damage to interpersonal relationships.  Of course, many will not agree with me, those sites are pretty much worshipped by many.  I was talking to a couple of family members a couple months back that said that they wish they could leave Facebook.  Now they are more obsessed than ever with it.  Sadly, these are people who used to write blogs and journals with substance.  Now everything is just a sentence (or a meme) from them.  The same can be said for everyone who has left blogging for Facebook."
Things have been reduced to simple "one sentence" updates and posts where no thought has been given.  Why is this?  Well, the attention span that the (a)social media age has makes a goldfish look like a scholar.  Everything is a single serving, quick, no substance.  It's the way of the (a)social media world.  And, most seem to like it that way.   It's almost as if deep thought is just an obscure sport.

It is said that you can save your Facebook profile when you leave, and there is truth to this.  You can.  But that's just in case you want to go back.  Some people may feel compelled to erase or block all their friends and keep their profile private.  For others, this may sound extreme.  I once did this to make sure I did not go back.  Sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.  That's just life.

So, how do you get rid of something that you put so much time into?  Well, think of it this way.  You put a lot of time into your last job, but you left it when you realize that there was something better out there, didn't you?  You may have put a lot of time into dating your ex, but you moved on from that, right?  Maybe you changed careers in life.  But didn't you put so much time into schooling and training for your old one?  I went to law school but decided to go back to school for teaching.  That's just life as well.  Sometimes we put a lot of work into something and leave.

Yet, Facebook seems so personal.  It seems that it's a real creative endeavor.  And there's no doubt that some creativity does go into the site.  After all, many people do no writing outside of Facebook.  And for a huge part of the world, Facebook is pretty much all the reading or the majority of all reading that takes place in one's life.  This does make it hard to leave because it's your creation.  Yet, the truth is, you can keep creating.  Maybe start writing a blog instead.  You can even make money off your blog creation.  Some have gone on to make a lot of money from their creative websites.  How much has your Facebook brought in for you?  Chances are, your Facebook use has actually cost you money.

I remember a while back people were in an uproar about the idea that Facebook would be charging money for people to use.  Of course, this was not true, but the lie was going around like wildfire (much of what you read on Facebook is actually not true).  So many people were mad about this, but few seemed to take a step back and realize that the time they were spending on Facebook was keeping them from being more productive.  I majored in economics in college, and one thing that we learned was that time spent doing something takes time away from doing something else.  There is a cost to all of our actions and inactions.  If I could start a business but instead spend my time on Facebook, the cost of my time spent on Facebook is the possible earnings that I would have brought in by starting a business (or doing something else that was worth my time).  This could also be said about the cost of being sedentary and not exercising, the regret we will later feel about not spending time with our children and family, or letting the world pass us by.  Are your Facebook memories worth trading future memories with your family and friends for?  Seriously?

Many have been reading this blog and are on the fence.  "Oh, my Facebook use is not that great," some cry.  Is it?  I have heard people that I know say that -- some of whom have MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS.  When you think they are off Facebook for a while you just find out they were on another account.  Sad.  If you are logging in each day and thinking about what happens on Facebook when you log out, then you are spending too much time on it.  If Facebook causes you to want to check it and to get nervous when you have not, you are spending too much time on it.  If you are spending even an hour of your waking day on the site, you are spending too much time on it.  If it causes drama in your life or makes you feel upset, then you are spending too much time on it.  If you want to do other things in life but don't and spend time instead on Facebook, you are spending too much time on it.  If you are having trouble with doing the tasks that you need to do in life but find time to slither around like an angry boa on Facebook, then yes, you are spending too much time on it!  Now is the time.  Go go go!

Are you worried that Facebook has your memories and you don't want to overtax your brain having to keep them in there, too?  Do you think it's too hard to leave Facebook?  Do you have more than one Facebook account?  Do you want to accomplish something else in life but you feel that you can't?  Are you a heavy user, clocking in more than an hour a day?  Do the political and drama posts make you feel lethargic?  Do you wish you could leave but feel held back?  Did you break free from Facebook?  If so, please post your comments below.  Thank you!

Instaskin II: The Next Generation (Showing Skin On Social Media For Likes)



This post is the second part of a series about the issue of nudity on Instagram.

Recently I was able to speak to a person who uses Instagram to show off their body.  I asked them some questions about their use of Instagram, and why they use it as a medium to show so much skin.  The person did not really come up with many answers (they seemed more upset about it all instead).   What was interesting about this particular individual was that there was a lot of images of their daughter interspersed between the images and "adult natured" comments about what others thought of the body that was being posted.

Little Eyes Are Watching How We Spend Our Time

One of the reasons I reigned in my use of Facebook and other (a)social media is because I had some little eyes watching me and how I spent my time.  And those little eyes are taking everything in.  That little mind is growing and it is learning about the world and what is right to do and what is right to spend time with.  I did not want my little one to think life was about staring at a phone and posting every little thing on Facebook.  She can witness enough of that when they go back to Eastern Washington and see many of the family members locked into their phones obsessively, compulsively, addictively.  But, here, at home, I do not want her to witness her parents doing that or acting in that manner.  Life is to be lived, in the world, not away from the world in the sphere of (a)social media mindlessness.

But this isn't about the place where we find ourselves traveling to now and then.  This is about showing excessive amounts of skin on social media.  I have not been the kind to want to show off my body or body parts on social media, and I don't think it's a wise choice.  Not in a world where the professional image is really everything for the advancement in life.  So, why would I train my daughter up in it?  Why would anyone?  Seriously, do some people just not think?  In what world does posting private pictures of yourself and then posting images of your children seem okay?  Yet, this kind of behavior seems normal.  There are many accounts with such actions, and many have tens of thousands of followers on Instaskin.

Showing Your Children That It's Okay To Use Your Body to Promote Your Profile Page

Many people use their bodies to promote their profile pages.  Beach images with the skimpiest outfits possible, shirtless men with pants and shorts so low you see the upper part and the part du jour.  Everything out and about, enjoying the breeze and the flood of likes.  And this is seen as completely normal.  It's a way to fish for comments, get attention, and to reel in like after like.  What kind of message are we sending to our children?  Would I really want my child to post half naked pictures of themselves on social media?  Would I really want my own daughter to think it was okay to send nude and close to nude pictures out to people online?  When is this okay and not okay? 

That's something that you are going to have to teach your child.  But, remember that children don't learn as well from the words of others as they do from the actions of others.  In short, actions speak louder than words.  But in this overly loud (a)social media world of words and images, oftentimes what is said often does not jive with what is seen and displayed.  Too many of us will talk big, but reality shows a far different image of what the truth is.

Is Body Positivity on Social Media Really Body Positivity?

Children are learning from this generation of instaskinners, and they are learning that the best way to get popularity is by bearing skin.  It's often wrapped up in this idea of being body positive or loving your body, and I understand that those are good ideas and that we should learn to love who we were created as, but I think that doing so in a way that is meant to maximize how much others like us is not body positivity, but fishing for acceptance because we are not yet ready to accept ourselves In short, the body positive movement on Facebook and Instagram is largely a lie.  It's a myth for many who depend on a flood of likes and compliments to feel good about themselves.  If you really did love your body, if you really were confident of who you were, you would NOT NEED TO PROVE it to the world on (a)social media.

Do you know someone who just can't keep their clothes on when it comes to (a)social media and the internet?  Do you think that getting half-naked on (a)social media is just a way to garnish likes?  Do you really accept who you are enough to live life without having to prove it to strangers and family/friends on (a)social media?  Are you tired of people using their bodies to get fame on the internet?  If so, please comment!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Your Newfound Freedom From Facebook!


There is this thing that happens when you are away from (a)social media.  Actually, it's a few things.  First, you feel incredibly vindicated and good about yourself.  It's must be somewhat of what leaving a cult or a bad marriage must feel like.  It doesn't happen in the first couple of days, but I would say after a few days, this feeling washes over you.  It's a refreshing feeling.  It's a good feeling.  It's the best early stage of leaving Facebook.

At this point, you are also seeing how little you use your phone and the internet.  You find that there isn't really that much to do online.  Much of what you were involved with on the internet was a real waste of time.  Facebook was kind of like a black hole that took all of your time.  It took you from one website to another, blindly just following these links.  What a waste!  And, the things that there are to get done are all more productive.  You don't find yourself lifting up your phone nearly as much.  You are actually listening to and observing the outside world.  And, the world seems so different.  Not just different, but more interesting and even better as a whole.

Second, you are starting to feel sorry for those who are still locked into their phones.  It's a whole different world for them.  You want to help them.  You want to send them to this site.  You want to suggest that they quit (a)social media, too.  However, when you do this, you find that many people have no desire to quit.  The idea, it seems, is strange and boarding on insane.  You can't understand it, because at this point you know just how great it is being away.  You don't envy them though.  No way!  Not at this point.

Third, your vindication grows into this feeling of disdain for the time that you wasted on (a)social media.  As you see your time is freed up, and you see the accomplishments in life you are making pile high, you look at your time on Facebook and (a)social media as a type of prison.  You look at it how a prisoner may look at their past in the cell, outside of society.  While you had a chance to improve, you did not.  You squandered your life and time.  You wasted it.  You threw it away.  And you are angry as you think about it.  How could you do that?!

It's time to take a deep breath.  Your world is different now.  You are off Facebook.  Your social media use is going the way of the dinosaur and the dodo.  The gates of a brave new world are blowing open and the sky is the limit of what you can achieve!  Your shackles have fallen off and you are walking tall, like a free man fresh out of the clink.  Doesn't it feel good to taste that clean air, to feel the winds of change blowing against you?  There's a momentum that is gathering.  It's like a boulder rolling down a cliff into a small mountain village.  Every obstacle in its way is about to be obliterated.  Twitter.  BAM!  Insta... BAM!  F A C E goodbye B O O K!!!!!  

Like a recovering alcoholic, you are keeping track of the days since you have been away.  Each day is a new life.  You are recovering.  Growing.  Coming into your own.  Man, oh man it feels good good good!  One day turns into two.  Two days morph into a week.  A week quickly turns into a month.  A month slithers into six.  Six months warps itself into one year.  Life is different now, isn't it?  You are looking back and seeing an old you that you never desire to reacquainted with.

Maybe you are keeping a journal of your time off Facebook.  This is a good idea for those who want the full detox experience.  Keep track of what you are accomplishing.  Keep track of the growth you are making and the temptations that exist that threaten to take you back.  There's this thing about addictions.  They are always very hard to escape from.  But, you have to stand strong.  You have to use that momentum, those good feelings, to propel you further and further away.  After all, you now know that it was the biggest waste of time in your life.

What to do?  What to do?  First, celebrate.  Celebrate and give thanks.  You are away.  You are free!  You are free!  Next, plan what you will fill that once worthless void with.  Put your phone down and live!  There is so much you can do with your life.  So much.  Go live it.  You are free.  Go go go!  Now is the best time to live.

Was it hard for you to give up Facebook?  What feelings did you have after you left?  Now that your Facebook detox is progressing, how will you spend the time that you once spent buried in your phone?  Are you ready for a new life?  If you have not given up Facebook or walked away from harmful forms of social media, now is the best time to do so!  

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

This is Just a Phase II: Overcoming Facebook and Social Media Addiction



This post is based on a post that was written in 2012, "This is just a phase."

They see him walking down the street.  Tonight he's sober.  He said he would never drink again.  Oh, they know how that would go.  He said he'd never tip back the bottle again.  He's back on the wagon, and he's telling the whole world.  He's telling them again.

His mind is clearer than before.  Life, it seems, is looking up.  He's excited about all that life has to offer.  The day seems brighter than the days past.  There are new horizons ahead of him.  There is a  spring in his step.  A grin on his face.  The book of his life is going to change.  The pages are just about to turn for the better.  The ending will be different than expected.

This is just a phase they say.  It's just a phase.

They know he's going to go back to the bottle.  Just wait!  Life will not always be roses and rainbows.  Something will happen.  He will go back.  Oh yes.  He will fall.  Everyone is just waiting for it.  They see that smile.  They see that hope in his eye, and they all want his world to crash down again.

This story may sound familiar to you.  It's the story of many people who have battled addiction.  They try and try, but the world just sits back and waits for them to fail and fail hard.  There's nothing right about it, but that's how life is sometimes.  Quitting any addiction is a struggle.  It's enough of a struggle without people waiting for a spectacular crash.

There are people who just know you will go back to being a heavy user of (a)social media.  There are people who just know that you do not have the willpower to quit something for good.  I said it before, the world doesn't look so kindly on a person with a drug or alcohol addiction, but to a person with an addiction to (a)social media, such as Facebook, the world wonders if there is something wrong with you if you are not hooked into the system.  Facebook is not seen as something that one should take a step away from.  "Why would you not want to keep in touch with your friends?"  It almost seems as if there is something wrong with you.

"It's just a phase," they say.  He'll be back.  The longer you are away, the more worry creeps up.  He's no longer counting days sober, but months.  He'll be sober for a year soon.  The sun keeps rising and not a drop of alcohol touches his tongue.  People look at him differently now, but those closest to him, they wait, almost holding their breath, for the day that he takes another drink and falls off the wagon.  For some, being proven right would be a greater thing than the life that has been changed in a positive way.  
Oftentimes the moves we make in life are looked on with close scrutiny by family and friends.  The closer you are to someone the closer the scrutiny.  When you hit that deactivate button and see that list of people who will "miss you", you may realize that they are not just "missing you", but that they are breathing down your neck saying "you need to come back to Facebook." 
This is just a phase.  It's just a phase.  Saying it makes them feel good.  It's just a phase!  Oh, how they want it to stop.  A change from the familiar is just terrifying!!! 

Years have passed.  He never went back to the bottle.  He is clean.  He relapsed before, again and again, but he never gave up.  He kept saying he would one day be sober, and the world stopped believing him.  But he never once stopped believing in himself.  And although years have passed, there are some who refuse to remember him as anything but the town drunk.  And there are some who still wait for that day, that day when he must fall again.
Yes, others may think that this is just a phase.  They may hope it is.  Sometimes when a person does well for themselves people get jealous.  On Facebook, people try to show that they are doing well, when in reality, many are stagnating.  If you are typing how great you are doing, chances are you are not doing anything.  You can only do something when you are not glued to (a)social networking.  Once you show people that this is not just a phase, their perception of you may start to change.  They may realize that you have the mental strength that few possess that allows you to back off that which 'everyone else' is doing.  In fact, they may even be a bit jealous.
There comes a day when a person just knows that the change in their life is permanent.  They stop talking about it because it just is.  They no longer have to say "I will never do something again."  They just act and the world takes notice.  Real change happens.  There are many people who leave Facebook and make a huge show of it.  It's like a grand parade plays as they leave.  "I WILL NEVER BE BACK!  DEACTIVATING!" they cry.  Thousands of friends swoop down like vultures to beg for the person to stay.  "I have your back sister, oh I know that if you leave you are going to have trouble keeping in touch with your dying father!"

"You live so far away, across the ocean, and your grandparents only keep in touch with you on Facebook.  If you leave now you might as well say your goodbyes to them."

"We are going to miss your posts so much.  Seeing those pictures were the main reason that I logged onto Facebook.  Without you, it's going to be so boring."  (Yet they will not leave).  

"Facebook needs good soldiers like you to spread the conservative message as the House has been taken over by the Democrats."

"Your jokes helped lower Tedd's high blood pressure."

"I'm going to miss, and I do mean miss, those pictures of Fluffy.  Please.  Oh please, I beg you with every fiber in my being, please please please do not go!"

It's almost as if that leaving post has made them feel good enough, loved enough, that they don't need to go. And they stay.  I have known individuals like this.  They take many vacations from the site, but that need to come back so they can one day leave again is too strong.

Why announce it?  Just go.  Hit deactivate and don't look back.  Just push the button.  There's no need to say a word.  Some will notice.  Those who are closest to you will notice.

Some may think that you are somehow better than thou for leaving.  You gave something up that isn't really seen as being bad, but deep down inside, they see a different you.  You're differnet now.  You spend more time living life.  You don't share it all, but they know you are out there living.  You seem smarter, healthier, more radiant, and composed.  You are accomplishing things in the world, and those accomplishments have a way of getting around without having to be yelled about on Facebook.  And if nobody ever knows about them, so what?  You know, and they have made your life better.  They have made life that much more valuable.



I wish, I really wish that when you left Facebook, a window popped up, after being told how much all your friends are going to miss you, and I wish it said, "Welcome to a new world, son."  That's the message that anyone who leaves an addiction behind should be given.

"Welcome to a new world."

What does your world look like?  Are you swimming in the pools of fantasy, with the thought that maybe one day you will leave?  What's holding you back?  Is it what others will think?  Is it grandma?  Your sister?  Is it your ex-boyfriend?  Is it maybe a fear of success?  Or of the unknown?  Did you give up and go back?  Or perhaps you didn't go back and you are riding the tide of a better life?  Are you in the new world of life post-Facebook?  Or, are you thinking that the new world maybe is something you're not used to?  Share your thoughts in the comments, please.  And, share this site to the world.  It's www.fbdetox.com now.  The other domain name was taken.  We need to get the word out about this website!  Share it to everyone you can.  There's a whole lot of Facebook addiction in the world.  The word MUST get out!  Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

We Get Accustomed to Life on Social Media


There are many people who read this blog who feel that things are fine with their (a)social media use.  It's just "normal usage."  To this, I say, "anything can be normal if we become accustomed to it."  Perhaps you have seen the television show, Hoarders.  I once wrote about people hoarding friends and experiences on (a)social media.  I'm also guilty of this.  It's one of the biggest reasons that I liked Facebook.  I could save and catalog my past.  Doing that, however, made me less likely to think about and consider my future.  In reality, I was often living in the past, and reminiscing of the days where I traveled through India or lived in Ukraine.

On the show, Hoarders, people live in houses and apartments that are just loaded with stuff.  Bloated with papers, furniture, bags of books, sometimes even feces and dead animals.  Each thing has some kind of value to the person (well, maybe not the feces), and the idea of throwing things away seems like a tragedy.  And under those stacks of books and boxes are crushed cats that 'disappeared into the abyss' years ago, somehow forgotten.  Many people watch the show, disgusted at how these people live, and wonder how they can live like that.  As they say, Rome was not built in a day.  Neither were these houses, all full of garbage and old papers and "stuff."  They went through changes, little by little.  Very few people would be able to stand to go from a home with the average amount of things to a home loaded floor to ceiling full of things overnight.  These changes take time.

We have all lived in bad conditions from time to time.  Perhaps you got sick and the house became a mess.  Maybe your bedroom was super cluttered.  You got used to it.  It just happened, and you may have not liked it, but you learned to live with it.  Prisoners get used to their cells and many have trouble getting back into the outside world because they became accustomed to prison, even though they hated it at first.  This is like (a)social media use.  It's gradual.  You didn't start out by being on four social media sites at once, clocking 3 hours a day or more on your phone.  But, Facebook became Twitter, and Twitter became Instagram, and Instagram became updating your LinkedIn profile, and then Facebook for your dog, and your cat was probably jealous so it needed a Facebook page, and then you wanted to make a Facebook page for your child, and then you had bed bugs for a while and they all needed their own Facebook pages and then you wanted to Instagram them to get back at your lazy landlord for not getting rid of them...  You would have not started like this.  But, this becomes life.  Hours and hours locked to your screen, hoping that you get a "good feeling" from all that use.  And, well, sometimes you do.  But more often you don't.  But you're used to it, right?

What is it like to go off (a)social media for a while?  It's actually very scary for many of us, and that's okay!  But, what's scarier is not having the will to make a positive change.  Many people report feeling left out of the loop or wondering what they are missing out on.  The human mind does not like to feel that it's missing out on something.  Yet, most minds don't immediately realize that there are opportunities that are slowly opening up for them just by being away.   And, those opportunities start to compound as time goes on.  Instead of making a Facebook profile for your goldfish, you are out and about conquering life.  Less time online means more time to take a walk, plan your days, work on the tasks in front of you, be more productive, be better all around.  Once you leave, and you start to see the life that you have as a result, it's very hard to go back.  And there comes a time you will log in, just to take a look, and realize that it's depressing.  You will realize that your life has changed for the better.  You will realize that things are pretty much the same, day to day, year by year, on Facebook.  Little changes!

When I was a child, I had these huge dreams about my future life.  Graduating from high school and becoming an adult was like a blank slate for me.  I wanted to see and do so many things in life.  I wanted to go to college, do well, see the world, and reach the limits of who I could be.  I think that many of us have these same ideas.  There are many things in life that hold us back, and I can say that many things have held me back in life.  There's always some kind of tether that will try to drag us back to the way that "life 'should' be."  Breaking that tether is the only way we can go on to do more than we already do each and every day.  What are you tethered to?  What makes your life just as it was yesterday and the day before?  For me, it was oftentimes (a)social media.  It was this want to be seen and to partake in this fantasy world that doesn't even really exist.  The fights.  The politics.  Donald Trump's McDonalds' feast at the White House.  Kony 2012.  Harambe.  Kim Davis. Why do these things concern me?   How does it bring me from the every day to the limits of my being?  It doesn't, and it never did.

We can live in a hovel and get used to it.  We can spend our day with headaches and get used to them.  We can be in an abusive relationship and get used to it.  That doesn't mean that these are right.  It doesn't make these experiences good.  We have the choice every day how to go forward with our lives, and while some choices are easier to make than others, leaving (a)social media behind is a very easy choice to make.  All it takes is the desire to make the change and the willpower to go through with the sustained change, day by day.  I want to be better each day.  Don't you?  How am I going to be a better person if my mind is being filled up with garbage?  Whether it is mindless television shows, reading trashy books, or spending my time getting involved in the countless levels of drama and politics on Facebook, my mind is going to pay the price.  I don't want my mind used to that way of looking at the world.  When I go through life, I want my mind to be open to the world around me, and all the beauty that I can fill it with.  There's enough ugliness in the world without having to resort to (a)social media to fill it up with more.

Have you ever lived in a bad situation, only to find that you got used to it?  Did you ever look at your future and want a lot out of it?  Look at your life now, did you get there?  What helped you get there?  Did social media use bring you there? If so, what helped, and what hindered it?  Do you fill your mind up with garbage?  When do you get to the point where you say "enough is enough" and change your life?  Is it today, or will it wait until tomorrow?  

Monday, January 14, 2019

Why Do We Feel Compelled to Tattle To Our Friends About the Injustices of Life on Social Media?



There is something that has long ranked towards the top of my annoyance on (a)social media.  It's not the food pictures.  No, it's even more annoying to me than the political posts.  It's amongst the worst of the worst.  It goes along with using Facebook as a weapon.  It's the shouting the injustices that someone else caused in your life to your friends, with the hope that they will run to your aid to tell you that you are right and that the other person is wrong.

There are two sides to every story, yet on Facebook, there seems to be only one side.  Yours.  Block and tattle.  That's the recipe for one of the worst types of posts on Facebook.  I have been on the wrong side of the block and tattle many times.  It's a thing where I come from.  And I don't like.  It's an ugly thing.  And I know that I am not the only person on the wrong side of the block and tattle.

Life is full of many injustices.  Some of them are real.  Some of these include children going hungry and dying in the backwaters, people going to prison when they are innocent, and being beat by a vengeful spouse.  Then there are those things that are not so much of an injustice, but they become the news of the day on Facebook.  You know, the things like being given some advice that was unsolicited, but given for help's sake, because you were kind of actually soliciting it by talking about it so much.  Do you see where I'm going with this?  The kind of thing like not getting a reply to a text message fast enough.  Or, someone not liking all of your posts even though you liked all of theirs.  Then it just kind of implodes.  That's the kind of thing that I don't really understand.

Sometimes we make a mountain out of a molehill on social media.  Someone says something that is really private and between two people and it becomes a public domain argument.  There are some things that are best kept in private.  Not everything has to be broadcast on the internet or on (a)social media.  Some things are really best to be kept behind locked doors.  Why do we fee the need to be vindicated or be agreed with when arguments arise?

I think that part of the problem arises when we know we are wrong but want someone to rescue us and say that we were right (I also have a post about using Facebook to garnish pity that you may want to read).  After all, friends on (a)social media will usually carte blanche agree with you, just to avoid you posting about them on the same (a)social media account.  Nobody likes a war, and wars online can get really ugly and last forever.  But, just because all of our friends agree with our point on (a)social media, it doesn't mean that we were right.

There are two sides to every story.  I already wrote that, but I think it needs to be said again.  You can't run to your little circle and tell your side of the story and expect to be right.  In your eyes, you may always be right, but there is a such thing as truth. 

We all live in our own little (a)social media bubble.  We also live in our own little bubble outside of (a)social media.  And when our little bubble outside of (a)social media is threatened to be popped, we run to (a)social media and beg our friends to confirm to our hurt psyche that we were right.  After all, could you imagine the damage that would be caused in the dark recesses of the mind if we were wrong?  Could you imagine the black to one's self-esteem if we did not have (a)social media to run to?  What did people do in the 1990s?!  Who could they run to?  They didn't have their Facebook!  Oh no!

This world is hard sometimes.  It's hard to be hurt.  It's hard to take something too hard.  It's hard to be wrong.  It's hard to not always be the good guy.  Sometimes in life we don't wear the cape.  Sometimes in life we are the bad guy.  Sometimes in life we are wrong.  Sometimes in life we fail.  Sometimes in life we say something we should have not said.  Sometimes we are the ones who should say sorry.  But, every single time, no matter what, we should THINK before POSTING our GRIEVENCES on (a)social media.  We should not tie our ego and self-worth to what others on the internet think of us.  We should not expect someone to run to our aid whenever a disagreement or problem happens between us and another person.  When we have a problem with our brother or sister, we should go to that person, and to that person, try to fix the problem.  We should not be running to the rest of the world to blast that person on the megaphone of (a)social media.

I once read this quote that said: "you never look good trying to make someone else look bad."  When you see someone blasting another person on (a)social media, what do you think?  Does that look good?  In what world does that look good?  Do you want to run to their aid, or do you think "maybe there's something else to this story."  Maybe you see the same person doing it over and over again?  Either way, it's not a pretty sight.

Yesterday my daughter, my wife and I were walking down the street in Cairo and she said "I saw some dead puppies in the garbage."  It is kind like that.  It's not pretty.  (The puppies were actually sleeping in the trash).  But, you get the idea.  Making another person look bad makes YOU look bad.  Holding back love is ugly.

There are certain ugly behaviors that are common on (a)social media, and this is one.  This is part of the whole culture of (a)social media.  It's the self-vindication game.  You want to be right.  In your mind you feel that you hurt the other person, because you got some people to take your side.  You think that it leads some serious fuel to your argument.  But, the reality is that it does not.  It only makes you feel and look good in your mind.  Reality is far different than (a)social media.

Have you ever been blasted on (a)social media by someone else, to witness their friends come down like a flock of ravens to feed some praise to the person for making you look like a pile of dead puppies?  Do you find this type of behavior attractive?  Do you ever feel the urge to get your friends to come to your aid when a "sorry" would probably be a better action?  Have you left (a)social media for reasons such as this?  Share your comments below.