Long-time readers here may recall that I bailed on Facebook in 2012 and Twitter in 2018 after having been quite active on those platforms at various times. In both cases, I found that the time-killing, soul-sucking shrillness, nastiness, deception and profiteering of the sites got to a point where they just made me angry, stupid, slow and tense. And once something that was supposed to fun becomes painful instead, it seems sensible to kick it to the curb. Done and done.
When I registered for the Iceland Writers Retreat earlier this year, they were using a Facebook group to communicate with participants, so I felt obligated to sign up for that, and did. I said “howdy” to a ton of old friends I hadn’t seen for a long time in virtual space once I got there, which was nice, but the ickiness factor of what showed up on my wall quickly made it all feel unpleasant again. So once the Writers Retreat became yet another COVID casualty, it was an easy decision for me to also close out my Facebook account again.
A few days back, a community of fun and creative folks who I regard highly among my digital friends decided to do some live tweet events that were of interest to me, so in the spirit of positive connectivity that feels important now, I activated my Twitter account again to be able to participate in those events. I only followed a few friends, I customized my trends and interests, and I blocked all the words that I loathe seeing online, but my page was still quickly filled with crap every time I looked at it. When I logged on this morning, the “trending now” bar was filled with things like “#PelosiHatesAmerica,” “#DemocratsAreDestroyingAmerica” and other stupid, dangerous, hateful fare. Of both left and right stripes, I will note, to be fair.
So I immediately deactivated my Twitter account again. Life’s just too short and the times are just too tense to be spending time, by choice, getting punched in the face over and over again with the bloodied gloves of hatred and stupidity. I am putting this note here on the blog for those who may have briefly glimpsed me on Facebook and/or Twitter this month and wonder why I am not there anymore. Sorry about that. It wasn’t you, it was me. Well, unless you were posting or propagating that kind of stuff, in which case it was you, and we probably shouldn’t be communicating regularly anyway.
I do appreciate that having a place to commune with distant friends online would be helpful right now, but it can’t be a place where disinformation and destruction are being peddled for profit. Hit me if you know of a good online sandbox that isn’t filled with cat turds. I’ll bring my bucket and shovel.