A couple of weeks ago I reconnected with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I had stopped using them in early 2018 and 2019 and restarting those connections has kept me away from this blog. It has also kept me from reading other, favourite, WordPress blogs and I apologize to those bloggers for my absence.
I probably should not have re-joined all three of those social mediums at the same time, but I thought it made sense to jump in with both feet. I had been missing social contact because of Covid-19 restrictions, so getting back together with friends and family online seemed like a good idea. On Facebook, that has certainly been the case. Instagram and Twitter, though, have not turned out to be so rewarding.
Back in early 2018 I was really angry at Facebook and, by extension, Instagram because of their failure to counteract the negative influences on the US election and the UK Brexit vote. The following year I realized that Twitter was just as bad, so I closed that account, too. Since then they have made some effort to address those issues and, even though they aren’t perfect, they are much better at counteracting falsehoods than they used to be.
Since I have logged back in, I find that Facebook is providing me with the social interactions I had been missing, and most of the posts I see on there are personal and light-hearted. There are very few political posts but there are lots of pictures of children, dogs, Christmas trees, and scenery. I had been determined that I would not post anything political but I have already broken that promise to myself. On Tuesday I expressed some frustration with Alberta’s most recent and long overdue Covid lockdown, but I wish I hadn’t. From now on I’m going to stick with personal and family messages. That’s what I have been enjoying in other people’s posts.
Rejoining Twitter, however, has not been so rewarding. I find myself doom-scrolling for long periods of time and experiencing nothing but negative thoughts and angry reactions. Yesterday, I realized what was happening and stopped myself. None of the Twitterers are known to me personally; they are simply people who share my world/social/political view. This means that I am bouncing around in my own echo chamber and in the end getting very little satisfaction from it. I wonder why it is so addictive, but that is probably because of the reassurance you get from like-minded people. Twitter is going to have to be ditched again. It’s not worth the righteous indignation it engenders.
Instagram is not what I remembered it to be. I thought it was populated by friends and family who shared everyday images sometimes with brief commentary. That is still true to some extent, but I am not seeing updates from as many loved ones as my memory had imagined were using the site. The good news is that what I am seeing there is all positive. Today, for example, I see dogs, fish, street scenes, hobbies, and food. I don’t know whether to stay or go from Instagram because it is just another time-waster, but then again I have lots of time these days!
My return to social media has been both a blessing and a curse, but it is easy enough to rid myself of the curse by cancelling Twitter again. Instagram is harmless and doesn’t take up much of my time, so I will probably stick with it. Facebook, though, has turned out to be a real pick-me-up and I will continue to enjoy reading the posts and comments of my large and widespread group of friends and family.
I will also, I hope, spend more time here on WordPress. The variety of blogs here provides me with lots of food for thought and also some positive feedback on my own blog. My reading list is always full of good images and good writing, and in the midst of a pandemic who could ask for anything more?
I like your thinking, about keeping the ones that are useful and harmless and not the ones that cause unpleasant feelings. That it’s not all-or-nothing, basically. That all makes a lot of sense!
Yay! I am so glad you’re back on FB. There must have been several dozen family posts when I thought to myself, “Anne would love this”. We do have an inherent need to be right because it sends a message “I am safe”, so they say, and that’s the attraction to endless twitter scrolling. But negative thoughts is to our brain is what junk food is to our bodies, a kind of poison to be avoided and so easy to become addicted to.I love that you’re back on FB, I love that you’re choosing things that make you feel good. 🙂
Thanks, Sally. The Twitter poison is really insidious because it feels good going down.