As of today, I’m shutting down my Facebook, Instagram and twitter accounts (if you still see this post on those platforms for a while, it's just because it takes a while for the 'machinery' to wind down.).
Also, as of today, I’m launching a new blog: The View from my Window. It seems like the worst possible time to leave social media, but I’m doing it. For those of you who are curious, here's why:
Reason #1: Data breaches. Privacy matters. This has been all over the news, so to avoid just more bla bla bla on the subject, here's a helpful article from the New York Times that told me all I need to know about it. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/28/technology/facebook-hack-data-breach.html
Reason #2: It’s been hard to look up from my screen. I’m embarrassed to admit, I’d started believing I had to stay on Facebook to connect with the people I love. I don’t. In fact, Facebook was actually keeping me from the loved ones right in front of me. So, time to shut it down and be with the people in my life.
Reason #3: It’s addictive. Have you noticed how easy it is to be scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, looking for that next hit of satisfaction? You get the hit, and then you keep scrolling. Nothing is ever enough. I’ve spent scary amounts of time doing this. Don’t need this addiction to add on to my existing addictions (sugar, work, co-dependence, etc.). So just like recovering alcoholics don’t go to bars, I don’t go to social media anymore.
Reason #4: The Suffering of Content Moderators This is something I never thought about. But recently, I learned that there are somewhere around 16,000 people who sit at a computer and collectively click through around a million flagged bits of content every single day. Their goal is to keep anything disturbing or offensive from reaching my (our) eyes.
Which means that these 16,000 souls have to look at horrific, disturbing, offensive images and videos of the worst side of humanity all day long, as their form of employment. It is a traumatic form of employment, and many of them have developed various forms of PTSD because of it. I learned this from this fascinating RadioLab episode, which you should check out if you have time: “Post No Evil."
It became the final line in the sand for me. I found my limit. I’m out.
The pleasure we get from watching a parakeet dance to Bob Marley comes to us because someone else had to watch torture, child pornography, animal abuse--all day long. I’m not willing to be part of this equation anymore.
My friends and family know where to reach me. If you’re reading this here or on medium.com, then you know where to reach me, too. (You can also subscribe to this blog. Just scroll all the way down to the bottom and click on "subscribe." That way you'll never miss a post.)
But more important, this is my first step this year toward a more authentic relationship to the living, flesh and blood people in my life. I will be working a little harder at maintaining those connections, but they’ll be solid. They’ll be real.
In addition to that, I'll be watching for the ways in which leaving social media makes me nervous, for all the resistance ego comes up with. That's where the rubber meets the road. The process of awakening won't happen overnight. It is a series of choices we make over and over again, and they're not usually the easy ones.
This choice to leave social media was a big one for me; and to be honest, I feel like I’m shooting myself in the foot. How are people going to find my writing if I don’t use the amazing marketing tool that social media can be? I don’t know the answer to that.
Am I going backwards? Maybe.
But then again, maybe not. Maybe this choice, this turning away from the imaginary and addictive and toward the present, rooted and real--maybe this is the one thing guaranteed to move me forward.
Anyway, I am jumping into the deep water, hoping I remember how to swim in this great world of words and wonder--one stroke, one breath, one post at a time.
Tina Lear is a writer, yoga and meditation teacher, musician and sometime quilter. She has given birth to three very interesting people in the world. She lives with her wife on Long Island, and longs for the day when they can have a dog again. Maybe this spring? Oh please?