Several weeks ago, I decided to take a break from Facebook. This decision came after an argument that was driven by the NFL players utilizing the National Anthem to protest their feelings about injustice and police brutality and so on and so on and so on.
This argument was not about the protests, this argument was over the fact that I still watched my beloved Philadelphia Eagles despite my anger at the players for disrespecting the National Anthem. Did you catch that? Someone was angry at me for not boycotting the watching of my team.
I'd like to address three things here. One, this petty argument. Two, the so-called protests and three I want to to discuss social media and what I learned while away from Facebook.
As to the argument on Facebook. I am proud of the fact that I have the freedom to choose what I do and when I want to do it. So long as I harm no one and I do not break the law, I am free to do things and say things. I have the right to my own opinion as do all of us. Something that we have lost over the years since the birth of "social media" is the ability to respect others. People no longer respect one another's opinions. The way I was raised, you respected people and you earned respect from people. Treat others as you would want to be treated.
I left the world of talk radio after ten years because it became apparent to me that you could no longer have a rational debate regarding politics and the direction of America or the world without pissing someone off or losing friends. As I stand here making a decision to come back to radio to discuss anything but news and politics, I am learning that no matter what the topic is, there will be haters.
I have lost friends because I am neither Republican or Democrat; yes you read that correctly. I have lost friends because of my opinions and most recently I lost friends because, since I still watch football, I am disrespecting the flag, the anthem and this great country. Sounds absurd doesn't it? I am in charge of my thoughts and my actions. No one else.
Now for these protests. I am not going to get into some trap about whether it is right or wrong for them to protest. I will say that I am not allowed to just break out in protest at MY workplace. But I feel like if you really want to make a difference then wouldn't it be better served, if you went out and really did something about it to really make a difference? Hold a rally, mediate town halls so the people can speak openly with police or any other of a hundred things that can be organized that says "hey, I'm making a difference". Because right now, your just being an asshole with you fist in the air or getting on your knees. What does that teach the kids looking up to you? That it's ok to disrespect your country, your employer's time and money? Just wondering...
So I removed myself from Facebook and it felt oh, so good. I almost did not come back. I did continue to hang out on Instagram and Twitter. Instagram, so far, is a pretty safe place to hang out. Mostly people's lives unfolding in picture collages and memes and it's an easy way to stay in touch with minimal discussion. So because of that, also not so much arguing and bickering.
Twitter is much the opposite and in some respects, it could be worse than Facebook. The disagreements in Twitter far outweigh, in numbers alone, those on Facebook. If you ever want to see haters in action, all you need is a two minute trip to Twitter. It does not matter who you are or what you do. You will be bashed, insulted, humiliated and hated on Twitter. So if Twitter is so bad, why did I hang out there when I got off the Facebook hate train? Because you can't look away. It's like a fatal car wreck. You want to look away and leave but you can't!
So really, leaving Facebook for a time or forever would make little to no difference. Whether you frequent Twitter, Facebook or any other social media site, one thing stands out; social media is far from being social. Among many other factors, social media has had a hand in the destruction of our social skills and the ability to communicate rationally and socially with our fellow man/woman. No one steps out from behind the keyboard to visit with someone in person or discuss the state of affairs or show pictures or talk about vacations and sports. Hell when that does happen, it turns into spite, anger and all out fighting.
The next time I need a real vacation from this mess, I'll turn it all off.