Aside: As someone who can sing the entire Arcade Fire debut EP, it pains me to say I really don’t like Everything Now. At least I’m really excited about the new album by The National because the two songs I’ve heard are promising.
Once upon a time, there was a point when I strongly considered abandoning Facebook, except for event invitations and such, and exclusively using Twitter.
A few hours ago, I muted my Twitter account and took it off my home screen.
Twitter used to be fun. I met a lot of people in the Richmond area through it. At one point, we were the most active American metro area on the app. I thought I picked a great group of people I’d enjoy to hang out with in real life. It felt like a party.
You never talk about religion and politics at a party.
After Obama was re-elected, I temporarily and then permanently muted exactly one person who really, really hated the guy.
Then it got worse.
Currently, I can’t go to my curated list of tweeters without it being politics, politics, politics, sexism, complaint about sexism, racism, sexism denial of racism, racism, xenophobia, jingoism, awesome gif.
The negatives are outweighing the positives.
Due to being a journalist, I deal with current affairs a lot more than most people. When I get on social media, I kinda want to unplug. I’m there for the dank memes and maybe the lighter side of news — for every serious news story I post six days a week on Facebook, for example (I actively seek out Sunday readers), there are probably three or four Florida Man stories or something that could become a quick punchline.
I lamented a couple of times on Twitter about how Twitter used to be fun. There’s a guy who tweets about awesomely spicy foods he makes. Over the years, I’ve half-seriously considered getting a few New York strip steaks and soliciting an invite to one of his grilling sessions. But he’s among the people in the past year or so that has gotten so rabidly political, I worry about him bringing something up in real life when I’m trying to have a good time with some ghost peppers.
I think that’s the problem. And, despite me not liking Arcade Fire’s new album, something they’re pointing out with their album. We no longer take a break from the relentless onslaught of … everything now. We don’t know how to disconnect for a few minutes to become decent human beings again. We live to be outraged.
That’s why I had to at least temporarily zap Twitter. After 11 years in the business, I know when I need to step away. I’ve been doing it a lot lately. There are times when if I’m off, I’m the last person to know some event happened. I did not follow the news at all on my vacation in June. I NEVER go that far while on vacation.
Again, as a person who does the news for a living, I don’t see how people function fully immersed in the 24-hour news cycle.
It’s because you can’t. That’s why people read way too much into some genuinely innocuous situations.
Take it from me: Go like a whole day not giving a good goddamn about what’s happening in Washington or what stupid thing a celebrity said or whatever real or imagined social injustice happened. It’ll all be there tomorrow. Or it will be forgotten tomorrow. You’re not going to lose “woke” points because you wanted to spend 12 hours watching cat videos or do nothing but drink a beer and grill steaks with the guy you wanted to hang with whose political views are the opposite of yours and you wouldn’t have known without social media because decent people don’t talk about religion or politics over good food and good drinks.
You don’t need to show your outrage at all times. You don’t need to shout down that troll. Enjoy your fucking life away from electronics, he wrote on a computer.
There are so many screwed up things in this world. You can’t focus on them all or you will drive yourself crazy. Don’t drive yourself crazy. Fix it by voting. Fix it by protesting. Fix it by volunteering. Fix it by using your voice, not your fingers. Fix it by, as the Serenity Prayer says, accepting the things you cannot change, courage to change the things you can and having the wisdom to know the difference.
Mute Your Apps.
Remember that we’re on a giant ball of dust spinning at a tremendous speed in an arm of a giant galaxy whirring through the even bigger expanse of the universe. It’s not going to go crashing down if you focus on what really matters: what’s not on a screen.