My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

Social Media. The bane of my existence.


I'll be honest. I never liked Facebook. I could have always done without it. (Yet here I am using it for "exposure") I preferred blogs, forums, and Friendster (does Friendster still exist?). Even Friendster was pushing it and it changed a lot, to something unrecognizable. I just liked the customization of it more than interacting with people. Oh! And there was MySpace, used that for a day or so...is that still around? I remember you could force people to listen to your favorite songs when they viewed your profile. Hehe, it was glorious.


The forums still had drama as with everything else but we seemed more connected and some people I met and connected with have become very dear friends that I talk to on a regular basis to this day.


The forums emptied as people moved over to Facebook. I am trying to remember... I think I was on Facebook in high school but really started using it in college because everyone was on it. I posted what I wanted to, not too much and not too little. I aimed for some sort of balance of being sociable and keeping to myself. I am sure I leaned more to the keeping to myself a tad. What I do remember clearly was facebook being very bland and awkward. I think it was because I am a pretty private person and I felt like Facebook was a sounding board and you got handed a megaphone to announce that you were doing mundane things like eating a sandwich, which to me seemed pointless. Social media never really meant anything to me until I moved countries. It was my way to stay connected with people important to me who were pretty much now on the other side of the world. I wasn't part of their lives in the same way but because of social media, I felt like I was still up-to-date on important events. Instead of sending individual messages about what I was up to I just posted it. So, anyone who was curious, it was there. I made friends here and slowly felt that even with social media I was drifting away from those I left behind. It is not the same. Watching important events is not the same as being actively involved. I am sure they felt the same thing. That was the sad bittersweet reality. Later on, I had to move again. Not as far but it felt like it. Here we go again. Sigh. Again I have been fortunate to meet very nice new people but it doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to the friendships that were.


I started channeling energy into social media just to get some exposure for my artwork and interests. It is not that hard. I just don't enjoy it. at. all.


Somewhere somehow I just had a lot of people on my social accounts that just didn't make sense anymore. So-and-so from 3rd-year high school that I never actually talked to? That friend-of-a-friend of a classmate in college that I recognize but have no clue how they are on my friendslist? Toxic people, you know the ones who only message you when they want something...ugh.


So, I did a thorough clean. I deleted a lot of people. I went from 800+ friends ( AND I AM NOT EVEN THAT SOCIAL HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? NO WONDER I AM EXHAUSTED?!) to 200. Ok. I think I am good. I think that is a good number?


Nope, something still did not feel right. Plus people being toxic in real life made it awkward being friends with them online. Let's not also forget I saw a lot of racist posts and political aggressiveness that came out of the woodwork the last two years. Then COVID. As a nurse it was disheartening seeing the amount of hate and anger and these people are not even on the "frontlines". If anyone should be angry it should be....oh wait they already are, myself included. Oh and the occasional feeling inadequate from comparing. Not to mention the ongoing Facebook privacy and misinformation debacles.


Posting about art and anything to do with art got pushed to the sidelines. I focused on being a nurse and taking care of myself and my family.


I reached a point where I was like "this is ridiculous". I deleted my Facebook. My husband did as well. And in a blind fury of frustration removed everyone except my parents and the very very few people I deemed good for my sanity on other platforms. *Takes a deep breath as serene music starts playing*


The only thing I missed was being able to easily message certain people. Emails are a little rough and limited when it comes to sending media.


Outside of that. The silence was nice.


Facebook. You son of a...they own Oculus. I am a gamer. I haven't dived into that much on this site but yeah. We got the Oculus Quest 2. *Big sigh* you need a Facebook account to use it. No hate to people who work for Facebook and whatnot but... Damn.


We made our accounts. My husband uses it solely for the Oculus. Smart. I, however, was like... welp, maybe I can use my page for my art. Plus, I do miss seeing things my close, yet far away friends, post. I slowly added people back. However, I also got bombarded with a bunch of invites from the very people I removed in the first round. I am trying to use social media differently, which is proving difficult. I don't want to keep up with "the algorithm". I don't enjoy the constant suggestions and ads and other stuff that gets thrown on my screen by the algorithm and certain people. It is not designed well for anything but noise.


It is a work in progress but I just run in like a horse with blinders focusing on the people I need to and posting my stuff on my art page and getting out. Luckily there are some features that help *unfollowcoughmutecough* but Facebook and other platforms are not designed well to help you tunnel vision on what really matters.


I have turned off all notifications and like counts. I really believe the like feature is a double-edged sword. From my perspective it helps me gauge which content is liked most, but at this point do I care? From the other side, I find it as a flimsy lazy attempt to connect with people. I try to comment versus like things.


And as an artist, why are we creating free content for other people to make money off of?


I know I am not alone. A lot of people are having the same problems. It is a convenient platform but until given control of our "news feed" and spend less time on it consuming, it will not change.


For now, I will use it sparingly and focus on myself and the people I actually care about. Sorry random batchmate from college/high school who I don't know. We don't have to be friends. It is ok.


-DashinMoments




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