Late spring 2021, I decided that for the sake of my own mental health, I needed to depart from social media for a couple of months.
It turned out to be a longer break than I planned and I feel I should explain.
In late spring an acquaintance of mine from high school posted a fundraiser link on Facebook with information that her cousin’s 8 year old daughter died of COVID and the family was struggling financially due to the pandemic and they couldn’t even afford a funeral right now.
I clicked the post to comment and make a donation. The comments came up and someone else from high school had been the last person to comment.
The comment was something along the lines of “COVID is a hoax, dying of it is like dying of a cold it is impossible. Do not donate money to these people, they obviously saw an opportunity to murder their unwanted child and knew it would be blamed on this fake disease.”
Fatter reading the comment, I realized I just could not deal with people online anymore. For perhaps the first time in my life, I was actively hoping something horrible happened to the commentator.
I am not an angry or hostile person as a general rule and it dawned on me that I was angry after looking at stuff on Facebook or Twitter every time I looked at it. It is not healthy to be angry all the time. Not only is it hard on your body physically it is emotionally exhausting.
And so, I went on hiatus. I log on to Facebook messenger on my phone only on nights I have online dart league and I have not logged on to Facebook in six months.
The most common teapot when I explain why I deserted social media is “you just have to ignore those people.” Except they shouldn’t be ignored, allowed to continue spreading misery and hurt to their fellow people. We are all in our 40s now, surely we have all outgrown the bullying stage. And for those that haven’t, why? What is wrong with them that they believe this sort of behavior is acceptable from adults?
Also, social media was touted as a tool to bring people together over great distances. It has done exactly the opposite. I wouldn’t use a keyboard missing the keys E, A, and T to type a novel, why use a broken app to manage my social life?
I secretly hope one day soon, we can return to being at least civil to our fellow Americans. Yet, I doubt most people are willing or capable of setting aside our differences to search for our commonalities.