So I am leaving facebook. Finally. One thing I keep coming back to is the fact that I was never comfortable there. If social media is like going to a party, then I kept going back to this a party that I did not want to be at in the first place. So I am finally following my instincts.
I kept trying to make myself better at it, thinking that I was the problem. But I am definitely not the problem. I hear people regularly joke about how social media makes them dislike people that they liked in real life; they just hate that persons’s online persona. Isn’t “IRL” what matters most, ultimately? How have we let this thing become our primary way of being social when it in fact destroys our REAL social skills? To be social is to be with people and I have only seen social media erode people’s ability to be with people. Like really with them, to look them in the face, to sustain discomfort with another person, to sustain joy and sadness in the presence of another person, to communicate without words. That is social.
Not to mention the fact that it makes everyone a marketing manager of their own lives. This is the craziest thing to me. It’s also tricky because I am a performer and I have to market my shows but that is the only thing that I market and no, I am not judging others. The thing was built so that people would do that, everyone is only doing as directed. But I just think it makes people devalue themselves if they believe they have to market their lives. It makes people look at their lives through this really damaging lens. In marketing if a product does not sell or is not successful, that product is discarded and the company goes out of business or they replace it with a new product. Can you do that with your life? NO! So marketing one’s life might lead a person to distort the inherent value of their life.
This is why I think social media is not just anti-social. I think it is counter to everything that being social really entails and what it can provide us as humans.
I have tried to make facebook work for me by not having it on my phone, by limiting the time that I spend on there. That certainly helped my sanity a little bit. I was mostly using it to find articles that I otherwise would not have come across and to support my fellow actors and comedians. It actually was really lovely in that way. I was able to cheer someone on when they got an exciting acting opportunity or experienced some growth. Some people actually communicate really beautifully on FB, most of those people are writers and artists and I have access to their art through other means, thankfully. I will probably miss it a little because like I said I have been working really hard to use it for good. But inevitably I would be on there and find something to dislike about someone who was otherwise likable. But also all the mental acrobatics I was doing to make using it less-damaging for myself started to seem counter productive.
AND of course a BIG factor is the fact that it’s creation was always profit based not people based. There is so much information out now about how willfully damaging it was set up to be. A good lesson here is that if someone is getting rich off of a free product, we must be paying deeply somewhere else. Fuck Mark Zuckerberg. (Yes I am on Twitter-for me it is less addictive but still shitty in similar ways.)
Here are some things I reccommend:
–Getting off FB
–Gary Gulman’s Special on HBO The Great Depresh is a comedy special bar none. It is beautiful and very funny!!!
–Read this Martin Scorsese op-ed in the Times (But also try not to read too much of the Times, read other papers) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/04/opinion/martin-scorsese-marvel.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
–Watch Sharon Van Etton on Tiny Desk Concert, her rendition of Seventeen here is haunting- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eztrJeHyP_
-The Watchmen on HBO is very good. Regina King is fucking incredible and now Jean Smart has joined and she is unbelievably good!
–Follow Jason Hickel (@jasonhickel) and Anand Giridharadas (@anandwrites) on Twitter and me (@mariselagrajed1)