the incredible shrinking world

I keep reading how facebook (and other social media experiences) are creating a world with less real connections. A world where people are distracted and disengaged and where forming healthy and meaningful bonds has become less common. Now, whether or not you trust the studies or believe the conclusions, I know from experience that facebook et al.  has indeed made my world smaller. But not because I’m less engaged.

My world is shrinking because I keep choosing to make it smaller to avoid facebook et al. My facebook experiment started as a result of realizing the vast majority of people I know are…assholes. Frankly, I think most of us are assholes, but facebook just shoved in my face how asshole-ish so many of my “friends” are. I got sick of it. I would rather be ignorant. When I see a friend for dinner, I just want to enjoy the time with them and conversation without knowing they posted a solicitation to support “traditional marriage” or signed a petition demanding to “see that Kenyan’s birth certificate.” When it comes to acquaintances, I have decided ignorance truly is bliss.

Now, I find myself moving things to the next level. I used to love reading comments on various media sites, including my local paper. At one time, I was even pretty active on many of them having discussions and thinking my comments might actually influence others. Now, I realize once again that most people are really assholes. And, given the protection of anonymity or the distance involved with posting from behind a computer, they will say the stupidest, most hurtful shit and think nothing of it. As with the smaller circle of my friends and acquaintances, I now want to be ignorant of the asshole factor of greater society. I just want to get through each day thinking that people in general are good, and facebook et al. simply makes that impossible. I already know, based on education rankings for instance, that Utahns are among the dumbest in the nation. I don’t need them to prove it to me daily in the local paper.

I guess eschewing facebook was my first step to becoming a hermit. And, since that first step is always the hardest, the march toward isolation and ignorance will move at a quickened pace. I’m done reading the comments on articles and media sites. As hard as it is, I will no longer scroll past the ads at the bottom to read what others are saying. By my definition, that is no longer a valid form of dialogue.

That being said, anyone, anytime who wants to meet for a beer or a nice glass of wine to discuss a current event or issue face to face…I’m there. I’ve learned it’s much harder to let the inner asshole out when you’re across the table from a living, breathing human being with a personality and feelings.

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5 responses to “the incredible shrinking world

  1. I think it’s awesome you’re not on FB. I would do the same except I’ve been on since 2004, back before it was even a fad. Like you, it HAS helped me realize that I have some stupid people in my life and I really need to stop being around them. At te same time, it’s helped me re-connect with people I probably would have never seen or heard from again.

    Let’s be honest, FB is there to show the world how awesome your life is (or to make everyone feel sorry for you when something goes wrong). Self-absorption at its worse? Yes. Entertaining? Hell yes.

  2. Yeah, it was tough for me to weigh the frustration vs. the entertainment value. In the end, I decided peace and quiet was more important.

    Have you seen those three studies that all show people end each facebook session feeling worse about their own lives after seeing all the crap others post? It’s like the annual Xmas letter…only 24/7/265 (or 366 this year).

  3. I have a love/hate relationship with facebook. Hate is winning, really, but I refuse to leave (I was going to say leaving was not an option, but hey, I’m here anonymously so I might as well be honest). Is it really facebook that is the problem or is that like saying TV is bad when it’s really an amazing device and it’s up to us to use it wisely?

  4. Dang I can’t believe I missed this post. You cracked me up with all your asshole talk. And I really hope you don’t have too many friends who are posting about preserving traditional marriage and seeing the Kenyan’s b.c. *shivers*

    One day I hope to be as smart as you. Until then, I will continue to marvel at the train wreck that is Facebook, slowly lowering my IQ to the level of your statemates.

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