Social down

Yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of images from Ray Bradbury stories–of wall-sized TV panels blaring reality TV, ear seashells, and machines that breath and function like organisms–as a global social media platform went down for about five hours. Of course, it felt like a sense of relief that I didn’t have to check them as much as I typically do.

During fall I take up candle making.

I’m aware these major social platforms monetize our attention, siphoning off our focus little by little while hopping us up on dopamine all along the way. I want to tread lightly by saying that there are some good aspects to social media. I know that posting my photography work has helped me improve over the years. Promoting my various projects has been a plus, even if it simply keeps people in touch with all the things I do with my life.

Where that balance is between sharing my entire life on social media and whatever else doesn’t happen online, I don’t really know. I try to devote at least half my day to non-screen activities. I have a personal trainer; my ongoing garden projects; making gourd-shaped candles.

During the non-social media freedom I stopped by the only local bookstore left nearby, a large chain store. I went in to pick up a new copy of The Illustrated Man. Even in the middle of a weekday, the place was fairly bustling. I found my book quickly and went to check out. In front of me was a woman purchasing at least two large stacks which the store employee was scanning and piling into large canvas tote bags. I must not have been the only one taking advantage of digital downtime.

“I have the feeling you just want to be miserable.”

A recent reply to a mildly snarky tweet I sent, a comment on celebrities receiving free clothes all the time and why it always seems to work as a marketing scheme.

“I could explain to you why it works but I have the feeling you just want to be miserable,” a paraphrased tweet in response. I was slightly taken aback, not because I’m such a know-it-all, but because of a stranger’s rather mistaken assumption about me based on a few words.

While I tend to be somewhat quiet and introverted, I don’t think anyone would describe me as seeking to be miserable. Then again, you never know…

It’s an attitude I seem to find over and over again on social media, Twitter in particular. This attitude of schooling someone, or “let me explain it because apparently you don’t know…” I often seek knowledge online out of genuine curiosity, but I find people online either assume I can’t think for myself or that I’m somehow just plain dumb.

Did I waste time clapping back to this dim response? No, I moved on as they continued tweeting at me. I hope they enjoyed their moment of superiority.