More and more these days, I’m finding myself reconsidering my relationship with Facebook.
It has nothing to do with privacy issues (though they are quite real), Facebook’s sketchy business practices (ditto), or a desire to have a smaller Internet footprint (as an author, I actually need a larger Internet footprint). It’s not even because I do social media marketing on a freelance basis, and hence burn myself out on surfing Facebook (I do it under a different account than my personal account, anyway).
It’s because the atmosphere is turning me into the kind of negative, cynical, angry person I long ago left behind.
I’ve been down that road. I have no intention of revisiting it. It’s not who I want to be.
Perhaps it’s the divisive political climate we’ve once again slipped into. (Doubt it; politics has always been divisive.) Perhaps it’s the people I surround myself with. (Doubt it; most are good people.) Perhaps it’s many things. I just don’t know.
What I do know is that these days, my trips to Facebook result in being inundated with ugly politics, stupid comments, posts that make me want to pull my hair out, and things that fill me with the urge to be the kind of sneering, condescending asshole I would rather not be but am unfortunately way too good at being
It doesn’t help that as a tool to stay connected with people or to maintain relationships, Facebook leaves a lot to be desired. Behind the scenes, it uses an algorithm to determine who it shows you posts from and who is doesn’t. This algorithm seems to have fuckall to do with actually connecting you with people you want to stay connected with, though it’s DAMN good at slinging the same old shit at you day after day after day. (Seriously, Facebook, I’ve seen that guy’s meme seven times already today. STOP SHOWING IT TO ME!)
It may as well be random.
As a business, Facebook makes its money from your traffic. Clicks, comments, shares — any time you’re engaging and clicking and interacting, you’re helping their bottom line.
So it wouldn’t surprise me if part of their algorithm involves pushing divisive shit at people, because divisive shit gets people clicking and commenting and active, and in turn keeps the advertising dollars flowing. Facebook WANTS you to be arguing with people.
But I don’t want to argue with people.
I also don’t want to be constantly slapped with depressing, negative, and otherwise nasty stuff from people all day, not even from people I like, respect, and admire.
That’s mostly what I get out of Facebook these days, though. If it ain’t politics, it’s some other drama. Some other soapbox. Some other pet issue someone won’t shut the hell up about.
Mind you, these are often valid topics and ideas that NEED to be expressed and which are expressed by good, smart people; topics worth discussing and people worth listening to. It’s not about what is being said (though often it is) or who is saying it (ditto), it’s about whether or not it’s good for me to get pulled into the kind of thing that engages a part of myself I don’t like: namely, the raging asshole.
So perhaps it’s time for me to whittle it down to a bare minimum, at least for a little while. You are what you take in. I truly believe that.
And if Facebook ain’t feeding me something good and healthy, well …