"We take shitty songs and elevate them while we drag great tunes down a few notches and smash 'em all together..."
As of right now, I am a ghost on social media. My Facebook account, all 5000 friends and upwards of 2700 followers is now dark. So is my Twitter. Instagram? I was never really a user, although my account is floating around and I'll probably go turn that one off now that I think about it. Snapchat? Ugh. WHY. I never got that "hip". To me, it's just another way for someone to half-heartedly say "I messaged you on [insert social network here], and never heard back from you..." But it matters not, because my life is now rid of the divisive and frustrating entity that was, for a decade the start and finish of every one of my days and all points in between.
I remember the day I discovered Facebook back in 2008... it was in that weird post-MySpace period where I was kinda coming out of some big life changes and was not really into the whole social network thing. Granted, MySpace had shown us the sheer power of social networking and the ability to search users and invite them to our gigs.
So over the past decade of using Facebook I have hit many milestones:
- Found many friends from my childhood that I dearly missed
- Made many meaningful connections with some great people
- Found a platform to basically share life events with the world, no matter how insignificant the thought
- Ended up with a "friend list" of 5,000 and about 500+ requests to "be my friend", as well as 2,600+ "followers"
- Given away reams worth of solid knowledge on the art of drumming and philosophy
- Watched in horror as people whom I love(d) and respect(ed) began turning on one another based upon ideological battle lines.
- And finally... I got called out for buying a homeless man a cup of coffee, a muffin and spending some time having a decent conversation with the guy... "Virtue signaling".
Oh, dear. And when I realized how far we have all sunk into the muck by way of micro-aggrandizing such things as kind gestures unto others and allowing the person, err... perpetrator reduced to a "behavioral anomaly" in one's personal dataset, it was past time for me to just call it a day on the perpetual insanity and division that the social engineers at Facebook seem to relish in creating on a daily basis. It's a wonderful time for behavioral scientists these days and Facebook is the ultimate petri dish.
And what a disservice I g be doing if I were to not thank my former Facebook "friend" (LOL EVERYONE is my "former Facebook friend" at this juncture!) Mr. Paul Lerwill of the UK, someone whom I may or may not have met on tour for calling me out on my "virtue signaling"; were it not for Mr. Lerwill, I would have not been given the opportunity to take back a major part of my life in such short shrift. And on another note, it's a great illustration of how Facebook gives individuals a grand microphone that speaks to a widespread audience... and that their words may or may not have real-life consequences. You want "real"? On this website that's all you're gonna get! There is no "Fake News" here. This is the straight dope known as Bill Ray.
The Rodent Connection
And borrowing from my friend and bandmate Rob Morgan of The Squirrels, a band of whom he says "We take shitty songs and elevate them while we drag great tunes down a few notches and smash 'em all together...", I believe that's what Facebook has done. While many meaningful connections and friendships have occurred, and how could they not when you have a platform of BILLIONS of people, I truly believe that Facebook has unleashed an unhealthy wave of ego, vanity and pride upon the world like we have never known.
And I had to ask myself "Am I worthy of this gigantic microphone?" Granted, I would be classified as an "entertainer/public figure" as my living is made doing weird things in front of audiences and one would naturally assume that an "entertainer/public figure" would relish such amplification of their message.
But because everyone has their microphone, there's nothing truly "unique" about Facebook. I remember when, on MySpace one could doctor and tweak their profile template to appear different, therefore lending a more "organic" and personalized interface. With Facebook, you're channeled into their structure, their system. It's all the same and the only thing that can shine through is the content one shares. And because of this I believe it's given way to people sharing their innermost being. And sometime that innermost person is not really anyone you'd want to know in real life.
I'm tired of the division. We live in an "XBox Live" world where people are so quick to fisticuffs and insults and name calling. There's an erosion of respect for one's fellow man and for a society that loves to tout itself as "all-inclusive", "Kind and Christian", "Love Thy Neighbor", and all that happy horseshit lip service, let's all begin to realize we are slowly being turned against one another. Pick an adversary, there's so many to choose from these days! And they probably have a Facebook page too!
Facebook has made a very small number of people very wealthy upon the fruits of YOUR labor, and that is your life story. These people don't care about you one way or another, because you are merely data in a table to them. The human condition is just that, a condition that is treatable with ample doses of oversaturation of OPP (Other People's Problems), an apathetic eye and "let's write some software that sounds like a human, but is really just an advanced algorithm so we can not have to touch upon any of that "human interaction" stuff."
Since I have left Facebook, my productivity is up (hey! I'm writing in my blog more!) and it's like a weight has been lifted from me. As an empath I feel things on many levels, and the daily mood of Facebook was one factor that could set my day off on "the wrong side of the bed" and oftentimes, did just that.
Yeah, I miss the time-killing and "checking in" and sharing pictures from my world with the rest of the planet and that's the painful part of disconnection. However at this point I feel that I've walked far enough away from the shiny bright light that is Social Media and all the distraction that accompanies it. And the feeling is great! It's a step towards reclaiming one's uniqueness.