The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: Why I’m becoming a facebook Hermit.

In the last two days, I’ve received exactly 100 e-mails – and that is with the proviso that I am a private person and keep my digital world locked down. I am not subscribed to anything I don’t want to be subscribed to, but I have still received 100 e-mails in two days. That’s 50 pieces of attention I can’t share elsewhere each day- on my family, on my health, on my work or on myself.

But, I am not a sociable person, and I’m not afraid to say ‘no’, so those 100 e-mails are left unread – in fact, I’ve just deleted them.

However, being the kind of person that actively subscribes to e-mails that might be of interest, I certainly cannot simply skim past Facebook posts from friends. I respect highly the few friends I have, and enjoy their company, and would listen intently to any words we would have face-to-face. I apply the same intensity to Facebook posts as I see them as a conversation as I’m, you know, a human being and not a pre-verbal thug.

The ‘keyboard warrior’ is a stereotype of the 21st-century, aggrieved and so outraged by injustice that they damn well type an update about it and – if they’re really p*ssed off, they might Google a meme to emphasise their disgust. Hidden behind monitors, tablets and laptops, anyone can write anything (I’m not unaware of the irony of what I’m doing here, either, btw), and to pretty-much anyone. I’ve had ‘private’, but intense, discussions with friends on Facebook ‘interrupted’ by others with their own agendas and I have, also, at times, done the same.

Facebook has changed from connecting with friends to espousing agendas, boasting about lifestyles, monies spent, make-up applied, seeking attention for the lonely and depressed, sharing offensive posts, sharing facile posts…and so on. Now, in and of itself, there’s nothing particularly wrong with any of those, except with social media’s spider-web of contacts, any of those posts is the equivalent of standing in the street and shouting out the message you are sharing.

And therein lies the problem. Be honest with yourself – would you stand in the street and shout out some of the stuff that gets posted? Are there items you’ve posted or shared or liked that, actually, you’d rather not tell your parents about? I’m sure there are – Facebook and similar open us up to expect ‘wits’ and ‘social commentators’ whose whole career is based on demonising and destroying others. All media relies on the sensational, social media – being so rapid – relies even more on the sensational to garner interest.

So, whilst there are, I’m sure, comparisons to be made, if you really believe that Trump is the spawn of Satan or will inevitably cause the apocalypse, then why, for fuck’s sake, are you sat on your phone, eating your dinner or watching The X-Factor, and posting snarky comments about it, rather than getting the first plane to the US and trying to do something instead?

The truth is that Facebook and other social media puts everything on the same level – Hitler, Putin, Trump, cats, dogs of returning marines, dolphins, crumpets, , mass-shootings, football players, advertising, old songs from YouTube, religion…and the truth is that, tbh, it makes you care less – because we couldn’t cope with that amount of horror if we had to process it all honestly.

So, if you would like me to see some photos of you holiday, then please do invite me to look at them and, if you really want me to look at photos of your plucked eyebrows, or show me some memes, then put them in an e-mail, or arrange a time when we can admire them together. Likewise, if you want to show me how truly amazing your new car is, bring it here for me to look at and, of course, if you also want to disagree with everything I’ve said and call me an internet troll or ‘bigoted and hypocritical’ as some have done, then – again – have the courtesy to say it to my face or, at the very least,  go to the effort of responding to this on WordPress or engaging honestly as humans were made to do. The simplifying of human experience into tiny posts devalues us all too much – the sharer and the reader.

And, yes, I know that I’m sharing this on Facebook – hence the title.

As ever, considered comments truly appreciated.



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