I’m doing a pause on social media. I’m thinking of it as a little vacation for my mental wellbeing. And yes I know what you’re thinking. It’s probably the exact same thing my husband was when I told him this and he sarcastically responded, “There goes most of your column fodder.”
Indeed, a wealth of aggravation in which to serve as writing prompts has now left the building but I need this break desperately.
There is a slight caveat to this whole “break” business. I have to be on social media daily for some work-related projects. Then there’s the one true love of my life – my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page which I could never abandon. But I have successfully managed to modify my accounts so that I don’t see a lot of posts from most of the humans I know while I’m on social media
This is key because reading, really even glancing at the recent posts from “friends” was making me sad. Again, another tiny caveat – I start out angry and then morph to sad. This sadness is not just a momentary blip but an intense feeling like a weighted blanket of despair.
It’s odd but the posts that finally had me saying bye-bye weren’t that shocking. They were just so selfish and tone deaf I couldn’t take it anymore.
It started out with the incredibly moronic social media trend called “Challenge Accepted.” This is where women nominate other women to post black and white photos of themselves with lofty hashtags like #womensupportingwomen and #FemaleEmpowerment
Are you kidding me? How does sharing a (usually sexy) photo of yourself on Facebook in any way support other women or stand for female empowerment? Short answer: it doesn’t. Good lord for most of these women the real challenge would be not to post a selfie on social media.
The comments that accompanied these photos were just as annoying. “So pretty.” “OMG, you’re still hot.” “Werk it gurl.” Yes, by all means let’s associate female empowerment with being hot. Haven’t we as women been trying to for oh, I don’t know centuries to not be judged solely on our appearance?
But sure, let’s go ahead during a raging pandemic amidst a time of racial and social injustice upheaval and post a black and white photo of our face and feel like we’re now an activist for positive world change.
The final push off the social media ledge was the unapologetic, self-centeredness of a group of mothers. Hissy fits were being had because some schools had made the decision to start the year with virtual instruction. There was extended bitching about how their children were “being robbed,” how “everything needed to go back to normal no matter what” and that they were “tired of doing teachers’ jobs for them.”
Nowhere in this “poor me” harangue was there any concern for their children’s educators or school’s support staff health. It was all me, me, me. What I want. What I need. What I demand.
It haunted me.
I would have thought all the conspiracy theories, the blatant disregard for science, and the total absence of common sense would have been the trifecta that caused me to run away from social media but no it was the total lack of compassion from mothers for anyone but themselves that was the straw that broke my news feeds back.
What has happened to us? When did we reach the point where it’s appropriate behavior to show zero regard for your fellow human beings? Even worse we’re not just showing it but shouting it from the metaphorical rooftop of social media and getting a whole lot of hearts and thumbs up in the process.
I need a break. A break from a world where you’re cheered for being a self-involved fool.