The Benefit of Some Time Off

Hello again! I’m back after a two-week break from blogging and most social media. Miss me? I made the decision to step away from social media and the blog for the holiday break mainly because the blog, while it isn’t too time intensive, is definitely a “Thing to Get Done” each day, and I wanted none of that for a bit. Social media just sort of happened on its own. I was there a bit, but not nearly as much as I usually am.

One thing that occurred to me as I stepped away from it all? How social media can sort of feed itself and make small problems into big problems. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big proponent of Facebook and Twitter and the like. I use them to stay connected to people I otherwise would never hear from, and I really enjoy seeing what’s going on in the lives of my friends. But more and more, it seems like social media is becoming the main forum for both finding out about news and discussing the news. Finding out about the news is good, I suppose. It helps to be informed. But discussing the news is not always a helpful thing, especially when you get roped into discussions with people you don’t know, or know only vaguely.

Think of it: would you strike up a conversation with Some Guy on a Bus and tell him all about what you think of the future of the country and the presidency? I guess some people would, but I wouldn’t. I don’t have time to care about what random people think about a variety of topics. But at the same time, if someone trots up to my wall and says something about one of my posts, I feel obligated to engage that person in discussion. It’s my wall, so I feel responsible for what goes on there.

I’m rambling a bit here, sorry. I’m not trying to say that I’m not going to debate topics online with people anymore. And I’m still going to patrol my wall to see what goes on there. But I’m going to (try to) remind myself that I’m not going to fix all the world’s ills through Facebook. That there are going to be people who disagree with me, and it’s okay not to care. Even if they’re friends of a friend. If I were at a party, and I overheard a friend’s friend spouting off some useless drivel, I certainly wouldn’t rush over to correct them. I’d shake my head, dismiss them as misguided at best, and go on with my partying.

I want to do more of that online.

But more than the random conversations and debates, social media can bring a group of like-minded people together and whip them into a frenzy about things that don’t matter a whole lot, very easily. Mob mentality can kick in on social media, and it’s something I also want to try to avoid. Again, not that I’m going to stay silent on issues I feel strongly about, but I just noticed that the more I engage in debate, the more the debate begins to affect my personal life. Disconnecting from that debate or distancing myself from it can be a very good thing. Especially since it’s very rare that I’ve seen any of that debate actually, you know, accomplish something.

[Social media is] but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

That Shakespeare guy was on to something.

Anyway. I’m out of time. More from me tomorrow. In the meantime, happy new year all, and best wishes for 2017!

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