Sat 25 Jul 2015
It wasn’t a single straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, more like the combined weight of a thousand of them. But the last one dropped today, in the form of a shared post showing up in my feed from a “friend” (an acquaintance from high school who I said “Hi” to once in-person approximately 34 years ago) showing video, whose still image can be seen at right, of an organized and referee’d boxing match between an adult man and a grown kangaroo, presumably in some third-world country where people pay good money to support such an affirmation that we as a specie blow. While the kangaroo was certainly holding its own against its opponent, I winced at every one of said opponent’s blows that landed upon the misbegotten and be-gloved marsupial.
I wince a lot at what I’m shown on Facebook, and do so with the understanding and appreciation that people are different than I am. As the old saying goes, there is no disputing taste. But at the same time there’s not only no chance I’d ever want to know “What type of Cactus Are you? ClickHereNow!” or “How Big An Ass Is Your Star Sign?” but stuff like that, whether it’s clickbaity, meaningless, off-putting or downright offensive makes me question the people sharing it with me. Is it unfair for me to attach significance to such worthlessness? Perhaps, but being an active practitioner of self censorship, it’s just a bit dismaying the number of people that vomit so much into the netiverse. For the record, it’s not that I’m not guilty of episodes of over-sharing, and it’s not like I don’t take some of those stupid surveys. It’s just that when I get through answering a series of questions to determine “What Bacteria Were You In Roman Times!?” I just keep that result to myself and move on.
So, back to that video. I think it was the ninth or tenth punch landing on or glancing off the harried creature when it dawned on me that I can’t stand being exposed to crap like this, the core of which being that there is no way in hell I would associate with purveyors of such wretchedness in real life and thus I resent being exposed to it online. Not only did I quit watching this reprehensibly exploitational bullshit of a poor animal, but at the same time I decided I had to find a way to prevent it or any myriad variations of such heinousness from assaulting my eyeballs ever again. And that way was to kill my Facebook account.
Without a moment’s hesitation and with an internal “I’m done!” I hopped up from the living room chair and jogged to my desktop where I googled “How to permanently delete a Facebook account” (not just nambily pambily “deactivating” it for the hundredth time — I wanted it dead), and went through the motions. When Facebook asked me one final time “Are you reeeeeeeallly suuuuuuuuuure you want to destroy everything we’ve built together?” I clicked the “OhYesIAm” button without hesitation. For the record the account stays “deactivated” for 14 days before going full bye-bye. Of course it does.
Then I went in and told my wife (who ironically, had only recently exponentially if still tentatively increased her use of Facebook) and we talked about it a bit. I told her about the kangaroo and about a few other examples of people and incidents that pissed me off. I explained that it was time for me to go beyond simply unfollowing or defriending specific individuals and scorch the freaking earth. She got it.
Then — ha! — I came right back here to the desktop and made a new Facebook account; one that’s fresh out of the box, austere and battened down as best it can be — not all loaded with 267 followers and 340 followees, 98 percent of whom I’m about as poorly acquainted with as the aforementioned guy I met once last millennium who thinks subjecting a kangaroo to ridicule and abuse in front of a live audience is funny (which it isn’t; it fucking sucks).
Was throwing out the old account and immediately ushering in a new pared-down one a colossal waste of time? If you’re of a mind to want to think so then g’head. The good news is that this isn’t Facebook and I’m not going to live there anymore. I’m going to move back in and live here. This dusty old cobwebby blog is where I’ll be found going forward. Strange thing, I used to reside here exclusively, using social media outlets as extensions, but for ease-of-use reasons and othersI can’t really figure out, I crossed over to Facebook gradually beginning a few years ago and it slowly took over as my preferred avenue for social media communication. I can’t really think of a day since that I haven’t pretty much regretted becoming embedded so deeply in one platform this last couple/three years to the virtual exclusion of all others.
One thing I should point out and of which I’m most excited: There’s no two-way communication here. You can’t click a link and buzzkill my joy at discovering something or support me for despising something else. I’ve turned the comments off because — and I’m being honest here — I don’t really give two beans about reactions to anything I’ve written. To be frank, if Facebook allowed me to shut off comments (and kill the maddening “Like” links, too) it would be infinitely more enjoyable a place. I can’t think of the last time a comment thread enhanced a dialogue or didn’t essentially waste my time. And in fact, there are popular topical blogs I used to haunt like a ghost but that I barely visit anymore because commenters can be such dicks. If I go visit those sites now, I read the articles and block any comments on the screen with my hand to avoid getting sucked in. What kind of life is that!? So in truth, I take satisfaction not only in people not being immediately able to tell me what they think, but also in having the strength to evict myself from a Facebook environment where people primarily seem to live and die by the number of “Likes” their posts get. Bottom line is, my email is listed in the header. You want to get hold of me and share your thoughts on something I’ve written, I’m easily enough gotten.
By and large I would hazard the demise of my old Facebook presence will go unnoticed by, oh I’d say roughly 98% of the people I followed or who followed me, and that’s as it should be. It’s the electronic equivalent of an Irish exit from a party where only a scattering of folks might look around at some point and realize I’ve disappeared. Most of them? They’ll know how to contact me electronically, or find me in person. Or if need be I’ll contact or find them.
Going forward, I’ll be experimenting linking to Facebook and/or Twitter whatever profound or pathetic postings (such as this) I’ll make here, instead of the other way around. This is homebase for me. Facebook’s the satellite now as it once again should be.