Unfriending Ignorance

I never thought I would unfriend people on Facebook for any other reason but us not being friends anymore whether it would be due to growing apart, realizing we weren’t really that close of friends, etc.  I survived election season with only removing one person and that was because her husband was using her account more than she was, and I didn’t know him and his posts annoyed me.  I made it through election night and the days thereafter and even inauguration day by just overlooking posts which bothered me.

This past weekend, however, my tolerance level broke.  Two people are now unfriended and one I have stopped following due to their sheer ignorance in posting.  One’s posts against abortion filled my news feed.  While I respected his opinion on the issue, his inability to realize that the marches that occurred across the country and the world were about more than just that one issue was too much for me.  Another person’s immature memes were beyond juvenile for someone her age.  She erroneously thought that all the people marching were protesting Donald Trump as president.  If she had only watched some of the interviews conducted at the various marches she would have realized that while yes, there were certainly people marching for that reason, there were plenty others who sought to bring attention to various issues, not just protest.

The final person irked me the most.  A lady who I considered a very kind and caring person posted an article about Madonna’s speech and how her words sounded like a terrorist threat.  I will certainly agree that Madonna should have chosen her words more carefully and anyone who uttered them who wasn’t a celebrity surely would have been arrested.  Below the article several people had written comments and this person wrote back stating that she had neither read the article nor listened to the speech.  I can only infer that she drew her conclusion based on the article’s headline.

I was dumbfounded.  Why would anyone share an article that they hadn’t even read?  I recognize that too many people rely on their news feed as a reliable source of information instead of investigating issues and stories themselves, but to not even read something before posting it?  I felt like it was solid evidence of the inability for people to think on their own anymore.

Where does this ignorance originate?  Is it a lack of a quality education?  Is it an upbringing that relies on skewed viewpoints and a lack of exposure to other ways of thinking?  Is it the main stream media whose main goal it seems is to divide the nation with their biased reporting instead of providing solid journalism?  Is it social media where “information” can spread like wildfire with more people interested in propagating falsehoods than fact checking before posting?

With ever increasing uncertainty of truth from a biased media I think it is so important to truly analyze issues before forming opinions.  My husband and I will regularly alternate between CNN and Fox News because it is very apparent to us which way each of the two leans, and we do our best to listen for facts instead of opinions.  We read a wide variety of websites as well, often finding a story on one and searching for more information on another site just to look for similarities and discrepancies.  It can be tedious and it’s quite disappointing that it has to even be done, that what you read and hear from the news can’t be taken at face value but always with a grain of salt.  It is, however, the only way one can even attempt to find out the whole truth.

Trump supporters think Trump protestors will destroy the country.  Trump protestors think Trump and his supporters will destroy the country.  I think ignorance by both is what is destroying the country.

Facebook Robots

I think most of us who use Facebook would say we have a love/hate relationship with it.  We enjoy sharing our lives with our family and friends and having a simplistic way to keep in touch especially with those who live far away.  We like not having to remember anyone’s birthday since Facebook reminds us of it.  We can find events of interest, keep up on daily news and play games.

Yes, Facebook is quite wonderful overall.  That is until we look at the clock and realize we’ve wasted half our evening on it.  Or we find out news from a friend’s status rather than a call or text from that person.  Or we subconsciously start comparing our lives to everyone’s and begin to feel depressed without realizing why.

Merriam-Webster’s third definition of the word robot is: a mechanism guided by automatic controls

Are we not robots in a sense thanks to Facebook?  We check it multiple times a day as if it is programmed into us.  We waste hours of our life just scrolling through our news feed, sometimes seeing the same posts we just saw an hour or so ago.  We log off our computers at night only to sign into our phones before bed.  We wake up and check it again as if something truly important happened while we slept.

What is it about Facebook that draws us in to the point that we lose track of time?  It’s certainly not for the enjoyment of it.  It doesn’t relax us like going for a walk.  It doesn’t connect us like an in depth conversation with a friend.  It doesn’t broaden our horizons, stimulate our brains or cause us to grow in any meaningful way.  If anything it dulls us by killing our communication skills, stunting our creativity and depriving us of time better spent engaging in something that truly matters to us.

Stop being a robot.  That may require deactivating Facebook for a period of time or even setting a timer to limit time spent on it.  Personally I have recommitted myself to not looking at it when I finish work for the day until I have worked out and/or done some cleaning, made dinner and showered.  Whatever works for you just find a way to stick to it.  Life is short; spend your time being more than a Facebook robot.

NC Shooting Videos

Normally I don’t write blogs about current events in the media.  The main reason for this is because I believe the media is biased and will portray events to suit their agendas.  I strongly believe the media is a prime culprit in the increased racial divide in this country.  I don’t believe we ever get the full story from the press and therefore letting the reporters and social media stir us up over everything seems pointless.

Another reason is because too often I think events are either staged or don’t come close to appearing as we are to believe.  There has to be more to 9/11 than the accepted story of “terrorists flew planes into the buildings”, but I have not researched this enough on my own to give my opinions.  The Sandy Hook shooting had “staged event” written all over it; nothing made sense about that and I strongly believe it was created to try to push through gun legislation and/or drive up gun sales.

For these reasons I haven’t paid much mind to all these “cop vs blacks” shootings.  The riots that are happening because of them are ridiculous and anyone rioting needs to learn the definition of peaceful protest.  Not to mention busting windows in local shops isn’t go to do anything to solve the issues.

Tues. evening my husband told me about the most recent one in North Carolina.  He played a video on his phone of the victim’s daughter filming the scene.  She was outside of the taped off area running her mouth and swearing at the cops.  Within 2 minutes into the video I felt that something was off.  The video continued for probably 10 mins, but I didn’t watch all of it as it appeared to be the same thing over and over.  The first thoughts I conveyed to my husband were that if that had been my dad the last thing I would be doing would be walking around making a video.  If someone notified me that my dad had been shot you better believe I’d be there by his side in a split second and if that meant being handcuffed for interfering then so be it.

Today when I signed online my homepage had a story and video of the victim’s wife video taping the encounter.  Again, something seems off to me.  If my husband was sitting outside in his vehicle and I saw cops coming up to his car nothing would possess me to grab my phone and start recording it.  I will even give the benefit of the doubt here and say that I am white, so maybe due to the recent shootings black people feel the need to get any encounter with cops on video.  I’ll respect that.  Even so what disturbs me is that after the victim was shot his wife continues to film.  Again, if I watched a cop shoot my husband I would be there in a split second at his side no matter what.

I don’t know the background of this case nor any true facts related to it other than a man was shot.  I’m not going to trust that the media is telling the full story as already there’s controversy as to whether or not the victim had a handgun.  All I will say is that the videos from both the victim’s daughter and wife are very peculiar to me and that you shouldn’t believe everything you see or hear.

Goodbye Again Facebook, Hello Again Blog

My one and only New Year’s Resolution this year is to write more.  I know that’s very vague and it is said that goals should be specific such as “I will write 3 blogs per week” so that you can better track if you’re achieving your goal.  I don’t tend to do most things the way they should be done though.  With that said to me writing more is just that, to write more.  For me that can be anything from journal entries to blogs to short stories.

If you’re reading this I’m going to assume 1 of 2 things.  Either 1 – you don’t know me and you’ve stumbled upon my blog to which I say welcome and thanks for stopping by or 2 – you do know me and you saw my Facebook post stating if you want to keep tabs on me after my Facebook deactivation that you should bookmark my blog.  I deactivated my Facebook once before in the fall of 2013 for about a month or two, and not only did I not miss it, but I found that I was a lot more productive without it.  I also found myself actually reaching out to people to interact with them as opposed to relying on a newsfeed stream to help me keep in-the-know with their lives.  I’ve realized that the only way I will actively dedicate myself to writing more lately is to remove the distraction of Facebook at least temporarily.

So with that said I am back to my blog and hope to be writing more entries of a varied nature.  I invite you to leave comments, throw me some ideas to write about, anything you want really.  I don’t write for anyone specifically beyond myself, and I don’t stick to a theme.  I know those blogs that center around a main concept (kids, food, etc) tend to see more success, but I find the idea of that too limiting.  I like to write about whatever I want as I feel it sparks more creative thinking.  As I said I tend to not do anything the stereotypical way.

Here’s to a 2015 filled with more writing!

Spring Clean Your Facebook

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like spring.  I mean what’s not to like?  Fresh air, warm weather, pretty colors… Everything just feels new and exciting.  I know many of us like to take the time to de-clutter our lives, reorganize things and overall do some spring cleaning.  Typically this entails house and yard work, but I’m encouraging you to also take this time to “spring clean” your Facebook.

Over the months I have gradually decreased the number of friends I have on Facebook.  I can say without a doubt this has been one of the best choices I have made.  It has resulted in less time spent on Facebook in general as I no longer need hours to read through my news feed.  The items that now do show up are ones that I actually enjoy reading because they’re being posted by people who genuinely mean something to me.  Mind you I still have those random ads thrown in the mix and things posted by pages I’ve “liked”, but overall the content is much more relevant to me.  In cutting down my Facebook time I find that I have more time for other things such as reading, writing, exercising and cleaning the house.  We all want more than 24 hours in a day, so cutting out time spent on Facebook, without intentionally having to cut down the time, is an easy way to feel like there’s more time in the day.

I know it may seem hard to start cutting people, but trust me, once you get into it you really start to evaluate who means something to your life.  When I first began I started by asking myself which people I actually wanted to see my own statuses, comments and pictures.  If I wouldn’t typically talk to that person in “real life” then there was no point in keeping him or her as part of my online life.  Then I began weeding out people whose lives I really didn’t need to know about including people I went to high school with.  There’s nothing wrong with most of these people; it’s not that I dislike them, but just that I have no real life relationship with them so there’s no point in reading about their lives or having them read about mine.  If you’re still struggling an easy way to decide yes or no to someone is to say to yourself “Do I ever write something to them or do they ever write something to me?”  If the answer is no then there’s no point in keeping them on there.  I have even gone so far as to delete off all my current coworkers save one.  This is for more personal reasons than I care to elaborate on, but let’s just say I was advised to “trust no one” when it comes to career advancement.  Rather than pick and choose and risk being questioned by people why they never longer on the list, it was just easiest to cut everyone.  Honestly I see these people on a daily basis as is, I can certainly ask them about their lives and they mine so overall to me there is no real loss but much more gain.

Sometimes I feel slight guilt in not accepting people’s friend requests if I do indeed know them.  Having fewer, more intimate relationships has always been my style of friendship through the years, and I’m finally applying that to my online life as well.  I find that it’s caused me to rely less on Facebook and be more willing to text or call someone to catch up and have more of a legit conversation than just writing a comment and waiting for a reply or like to it.

I think when most of us joined Facebook the craze to have as many friends as possible and accept people whether you really knew them or not caused us to accept more people than necessary.  In doing this we’ve increased the amount of time we waste on Facebook while not really getting to know anyone any better from it.  So go ahead, go to your friends list and start hitting that delete button.  It’s a lot easier than cleaning the windows after all.

My MIA month from Facebook

I’ve read a lot of articles and blogs that people have written about giving up social media, and while it seems everyone is in agreement that it proves we waste too much time on there, I’d still like to provide my feedback on my experience.

I never intentionally set out to leave Facebook.  Living nearly 3 hours from my family and most of my friends it was even more useful after I moved than even prior to it.  As I began blogging more though I realized that I enjoyed writing more elaborately and thought provoking things than what Facebook seemed to allow me to do.  Sure I could post a recent news article that stirred me up and write a ranting comment to be “Liked” or commented after, but it wasn’t the same as fully expressing my thoughts.  The growing amount of ignorance within current events that seemed to be spouted about daily on statuses kept eating at me over time.  Also, the number of personally irritating people that I longed to delete but feared backlash from grew as well.

So I randomly deactivated my Facebook without warning.  It honestly felt like a relief.  No longer did I feel compelled to publish my day to day happenings, read through nearly every new update every time I logged in, or obsessively sign into the site in case somehow something amazing occurred since I last signed in a few hours prior.  I expected to miss it, to feel left out of my friends’ and family members’ lives and that my curiosity would drive me back.  Instead I found myself reading books more often, blogging more, and reaching out to friends via text instead.  True to the statement that social media is a time sucker, I found “lost time” in the morning and evenings.  While I did sign into my mom’s account a few times (she insisted I look at various pictures that had been posted), it was never more than a few minutes as I found I really didn’t feel a need to check up on everyone any longer.

Why I have I then returned to Facebook?  The simple answer is I wanted to post pictures of my most recent cruise for friends and family to see.  The pathetic answer is my birthday is coming up this month, and I get a sick pleasure from seeing how many people tell me happy birthday regardless of whether or not they talk to me at all the rest of the year.  The overall answer is that I do still generally find it handy to keep up to date with people particularly those whom I consider friends, but not close enough friends to constantly text or call.  I do find that I don’t desire to be on it as long as I used to nor do I read all the posts on the news page anymore.  I haven’t written many statuses, and I probably won’t in the way I used to as I find it much more fulfilling to spend time blogging if I’m going to write. 

I encourage everyone to take a hard look at how often they find themselves on Facebook or any other form of social media.  Realize that when you complain that you don’t have enough time to do certain things that even if you start with cutting out social activity for one day that you’ll gain time back in your week.  Instead of just “liking” someone’s status or commenting, try communicating with them in other ways.  Find new hobbies or take back up old ones; I guarantee you’ll find a lot more fulfillment in your life from than than anything that social media provides you.

Facebook Free… For Now

For the first time since I joined Facebook the summer of 2005 (back when it was only open to college students and required a valid college e-mail address to register), I have deactivated my account.  I guess part of the ironic part of writing about it on here is that I don’t think anyone typically reads my blog unless I promote having a new entry on my Facebook.  Oh well, the blog is my own creative outlet regardless of who else chooses to read it. 

I know this freedom from Facebook will most likely be temporary.  Living nearly 3 hours away from my family and close friends means the website is a predominant means of communication for me.  This week, however, I found I just needed to break my dependency on it, at least for a bit of time.  I guess it will be a social experiment for me in a sense, seeing how I’m affected on a daily basis by not including checking it for updates as part of my usual routine.  While I like certain people’s updates, and pictures are always fun, the tediousness of certain people’s posts have finally made me break and just want to isolate myself for awhile.

Between people posting about Obamacare who have clearly read nothing more about it beyond what other people have posted on Facebook about it and other people who have to put every piece of daily drama in their statuses, I’ve just had enough.  I’m guilty of updating my status often enough that people tend to know most of my life story, but I at least keep all personal drama off of it.  I also voice my opinions on various topics including political ones, but they tend to be in response to articles that I’ve read and posted, or ideas I’ve formed from having read things.  The number of people who post things without having any background knowledge never ceases to amaze me.  Also the number of people who write subliminal statuses (you know which ones I mean, where they say just enough to make you know something’s wrong or going on but don’t elaborate on it) just grates on my skin.  People need to either tell the full story or not post it at all. 

If anything I’m sure the amount of time I waste daily on Facebook will now be put to better uses either writing more blogs, doing more surveys (www.mysurvey.com is a legit way to earn money doing surveys – I’ve made $10 already and am close to making another $10), or reading more newsworthy or intellectual articles.  Who knows, maybe I’ll find out there are people out there who actually miss me enough to want to contact me outside of Facebook?