Saturday, June 03, 2017

Quitting Social Media

Guy I know spent the entire month of May posting on Facebook that he was quitting social media. Good for him. And bless his heart. Not sure if he thought the rest of us left behind were looking at him like he was Columbus sailing west in search of new route to the Far East. Facebook will roll on without him.

Social media isn't for everyone. For some it's a time waster. For others it's a life-saver. Like most things in life, it means different things to different people. Some don't know what they're missing. Others know all too well. Kids / teens / students / millennials are on the cutting edge. They moved on from Facebook long ago. They have their reasons. It's how they communicate. Us old fogies haven't a clue. We try to keep up, and text and tweet and Instagram and Snapchat in an effort to stay relevant, but we're light years behind.

Oldsters love the Facebook. Many post several times a day, some almost constantly. Where they eat. Where they're going. Where they've been (don't they realize robbers know when they're not home?). Dozens of pictures of grandchildren, most looking exactly the same. Vacations. News stories, be it CNN or Fox. Republican or Democrat. Bashing Trump or Obama or Hillary. The same stuff, over and over again.

For me Facebook is like a NASCAR race. I look to see the crashes - what people post. Most are predictable. A great way to learn about people's deepest thoughts, beliefs, and lifestyles. A window to the soul. Who is quick to fly off the handle. How much people know about a subject - or how little. It's amazing sometimes. Before social media I had no idea. Long forgotten is the idiom "better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." This saying rings true for politics, sports, religion, social issues, you name it. No matter what the subject, there's someone who knows more than me.

FAKERS: Many use social media to make themselves into something they're not, creating an entirely new persona. They act completely different in real life. How unfortunate. As in real life, on social media people should just be themselves. Be real, not fake.

SHOWOFFS: I'd rather message someone privately than publicly on Facebook. Why do people wish this spouse or their child or parent happy birthday on Facebook? Or congratulations or I'm proud of you? Is it to show off to other people? Some do it on the sly, but you can see right through them. Or the old sharing "prayer requests" that are nothing more than rumor-mongering.

MEDIA: sportswriters and others in the press (and other professions) use social media to push their brand. Their profession just about requires it. I have no problem with this - I follow several with interest. That's not being fake. In fact, my friend quitting social media has a job that would seem to benefit from a social media presence.

MY STRATEGY: One reason I don't post everything I do on Facebook is because sometimes when I see others at the beach or in Europe or at a nice restaurant or in an expensive new car, I feel kinda bad because that's not something I can do or afford. And I don't want to make others feel that way. My Instagram world is much smaller: a smaller group of closer friends, and I might post one picture at the Braves game or such. ONE picture, mind you - not hundreds. Again, maybe that's just me.

I do try to be my own self on social media. My own weird self. My sense of humor. What I like. I mostly use social media as a creative outlet. I rarely post on Facebook, usually only to address someone by name, to respond to someone, or post in a bobblehead group. Analogy: I don't put lots of Christian bumper stickers on my car because if I were to cut someone off or not let someone in - even by accident - now that person would have a worse opinion of Christians. That's why I don't post many Bible verses on social media.

TWITTER: I use Twitter to tell jokes, that I think are funny. Hey, I like to tell and hear jokes. I follow several funny people, some famous and some strangers. I even have a few followers I don't know. How 'bout that? Maybe they think I'm funny. Once I heard someone said "you're not supposed to tell jokes on Facebook." What? Where is that rule?

Twitter is also good for getting updates on Braves games and other sporting events. Sometimes I'll join a conversation to make a point, but mostly I try to remember to keep my mouth shut. Who argues with fools? Some follow hundreds of people. Not me. While that would get me more followers (and therefore make me a cooler person - not), I don't want my feed blown up by a bunch of people I'm not that interested in. That's what happens on Facebook. I've almost never culled down my list of Facebook friends. I'd like to think people enjoy my posts. I can remember unfriending only two people, both for their incessant moronic posts.

INSTAGRAM: I post pictures on Instagram that interest me. Shoes. Bobbleheads. Jerseys. Old pictures. Some post picture after picture of themselves. Hundreds of pictures of themselves. Look at me! Me with my friends. Me with my family. Me doing this and that. The other 11.85% is pictures of their stuff. That's ok for them, but that's not my style. Glad my kids aren't like that. Like Twitter, I don't follow hundreds of people on Instagram, for the same reasons. I keep it small. That keeps the time I check Twitter and Instagram to a minimum. Not much has happened since the last time I checked.

FOLLOWING BUSINESSES: I do follow a couple of sneaker companies, which is the extent of my business dealings on social media. Since companies don't pay me, I don't promote their brand. I don't have time to see advertisements on social media. That's why I don't "like" companies on Facebook. I already get postings from companies that other people like. Makes me mad. Periodically I'll clear out my likes on Facebook. Wish others would do the same.

PLAGERISM: When I post something that's not original to me, I make every effort to credit the person who created it - be it a quote or joke or photo. I don't want people thinking I came up something I didn't. It's stealing, and it makes people think I'm someone I'm not. That's being fake. I want to be real, believe it or not.

MY BLOG is different, but the same. People have to seek out this blog to read what I post. It does not appear on social media feeds (unless I want it to). Like everywhere else, I try to be myself on my blog. It's my place to be creative and write and post about things of interest to me. Sports. Family. Sometimes religion. Photos I like. Lists and statistics. It's my little world, molded like I want it. My reality. Not every single detail of my life, but the ones I'm willing to share (probably way too much as it is). What I post would be different if my goal were to garner the most readers possible, but that's not my aim.

There was a time I was all over social media, especially Facebook. I earned a reputation as always being on there. When I dialed it back that reputation remained - perhaps because I didn't make a huge show of posting about not being on Facebook so much. Nowadays I save interesting photos as I come across them, then when I have time I'll post one photo a day on Instagram. Only occasionally do I forward them to Facebook. I only tweet when I think of something funny. I can go days or weeks without tweeting, then tweet several jokes in a day. All my tweets also post to Facebook, so again it seems like I'm on there more than I am.

Like many people, I need to continue to decrease my time on social media. Like my friend, it will go on without me.

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