Wednesday, November 07, 2018

A cautious return

With the mid-term elections over I'm apparently supposed to come back to social media. I have one friend on Twitter who has been eager for me to come back for my geek knowledge if nothing else (dude, seriously, we can just meet for coffee at the Black Heart or something). And I probably will dip my toes back into it.

However....

The mid-term elections in the US fundamentally changed very little in social media. It was a convenient date on a map, but I see no end in sight to the level of online toxicity. It'll be Canada's turn next year. It won't get to the horrific heights seen in the US the last few months, but it's not going to be pretty.

And today essentially kicks off the start of the 2020 US presidential campaign. Yeah. Seriously. Feel free to start weeping now.

But I do miss elements of social media, I just need to do it smarter than the last time, just for the sake of my sanity. So what's the plan?

1. Do a significant purge on Facebook and anyone who annoys me in the slightest gets blocked/muted. That's a hint at trying to be civil and respectful in the upcoming federal election. The amount of Hitler references I saw in the lead-up to the last election was disgraceful.

2. Go though my Twitter and start purging accounts that I don't need to follow anymore.

3. Set up key word blockers on Twitter, particularly for "Trump" and anything else I find along the way.

4. I'm not reinstalling either Facebook or Twitter on my phone to limit my time using it.

5. No more than 1 hour a day, combined, looking at them. That's still probably too much, but it's a place to start and we'll take it from there.

I'm kind of sorry it's had to come to this. I like interacting with friends online simply because I get to see them so rarely in person. I like getting access to random, cool information from more knowledgeable people that I might have otherwise missed. But the problem with opening the flood gates is that everything comes through and a lot of it is really not good for you.

Cathy and I resolved awhile back to cut unnecessary drama from our lives. We've done a reasonably good job of it. A friend of mine asked recently how do you do that. Well, there's a way, and it's doable, but like all things there's a cost. You eliminate the sources of the drama. Sometimes that's people, sometimes it's social media.

(For friends who haven't spoke to me in awhile, it's more likely that I suck at being a friend and reaching out when I should. My hatred of talking to most people on the phone stretches back decades.)

It's not for everybody and not everybody would want to do it or even understand why we'd want to live like that. But we like it, and we like the relative stress-free aspect of our lives. So I'll give Facebook and Twitter another go, but much more cautiously this time.

Last Five
1. Parking lots - Josh Pyke
2. She's electric - Oasis
3. The needle and the damage done (live) - Neil Young*
4. The herring song - The Flash Girls
5. Ain't it fun - Paramore

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