50 Thoughts: You Can Pry My Social Network from my Cold, Dead Hands

Originally published September 15, 2018

All right, so a few things right off the bat:

  • Yes, I am addicted to my phone.
  • Yes, I spend way too much time on social media. Time that could be spent engaging in the real world.
  • Yes, I know the majority of the shinola I read on social media is exaggerated at best and straight up FAKE NEWS! at worst.
  • Yes, I know my value is so much more than how many “likes” I get on anything.
  • Yes, I know social media isn’t so much “social” anymore as “corporate and political brands and foreign agents trying to influence my ignoramus of a brain.”

But you still can’t have my Facebook.

I know social media isn’t for everyone, and I respect my friends who’ve never joined the party or have taken a sabbatical or dropped off completely. And I recognize I could likely benefit from trying to manage my time better. But I do love it. I do. Here’s why:

It’s a one-stop shop for news items. I can hit up FB or Twitter and get links to breaking news, sports scores and in-depth reporting. “But aren’t you worried about getting fed a bunch of, what does Donald call it … FAKE NEWS?” you ask? Not really. One, I can filter out obvious bullshit by not following Drudge, Breitbart or Fox, and I would like to think I have strong enough critical thinking skills that I can discern opinion pieces from factual information. (And for the record, I do include conservative voices on my Twitter. Just not insanely idiotic ones.)

I can sorta kinda see what my kids are up to. I try not to cyberstalk my kids, but it’s nice to know they are when they are posting, that means they are breathing. This means more when your kids are away at college and you don’t see them every day. Conversely, there are things they post I wish I could unsee. But overall, it’s just nice to know they are out there somewhere.

Yay! for reconnecting. I moved a handful of times as a child and at least once as an adult, so I don’t necessarily have a home grown, “We’ve been friends since pre-school” experience that some people have. But thanks to FB, I can at least now see my 2nd grade BFF living her best life with her husband and counseling practice. I can stay in touch and send best wishes to friends from camp. I can still share laughs with close high school and college friends. I can see what former coworkers are growing in their gardens. We can still be a part of each others’ lives long after the reason for our initial connection has long since gone to bed. And sure, there are likely dozens and dozens of people that I could purge from my feed, and someday when I have a free moment I will — I am cognizant of making my digital footprint as secure as possible — but the vast majority of people I’ve been able to reconnect with were a joy in my past and make me smile today.

Family, family, family. I’m not so much a Facebragger, and try not to post about my kids that much at all. Mostly, because their lives are their story to tell, not mine. (Also, digital footprint!) But thanks to social media, I can make a “family only” group so that if there is a special moment I want to share at once with a smaller group of people, I can.

Finally, it brings the funny. Listen, desperate times call for desperate measures. If I have to scroll through my feed for a meme that makes me laugh, I will. We all need to giggle more and social media platforms are guaranteed to deliver. As an added bonus, TV is so much better when you can scroll along with a #hashtag on Twitter — it’s like watching something with 50 friends in the room with you. “The Bachelor” isn’t complete without my Twitter play-by-play and the Emmys tomorrow night will be that much more exciting with a Tweetdeck full of live commentary.

If you see me on social, say hi — I’m not concerned about likes, but I do like making new friends.

Today’s recommendation: Oh, I gotta go with The Circle by Dave Eggers. So appropriate! (And yes, the book was better.)

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