Ten or so years ago, I was dragged, albeit kicking and screaming, onto Facebook, thanks to the coordinator of our HS class reunion. I resisted, because as a new author, MySpace was the rage, and there were rumors of FB being full of nasty viruses. But join I did, and spent around fifteen minutes per day on the site, reading the few friends’ posts, throwing virtual pillows back and forth to a few friends, and posting my writing progress and links. Everyone was friendly, with some political exceptions that I managed to ignore.
But then somewhere along the line, things changed. As I gained more ‘friends’ (I use the term loosely, since I’ve not met everyone in person), ‘hot button’ issues began appearing on my feed, and to balance them out, I dared voice my opinion, which resulted in angry responses, being unfriended, and in one case, a private message blasting me for my *gasp* OPINION.
Later, during a marketing workshop, I learned authors were advised to NOT voice our opinions on ‘hut button topics’, lest we lose readers.
So I took to my blog….and lost my traffic. But you know what? I don’t care. I had to disable the comments several years ago, because I was getting hit with so much SPAM. To my knowledge, no one’s complained to Blogger about it, because my site is still up and running.
The past three years, FB has become so volatile, due to the fact I have more friends whose political views differ than mine that I’m not spending a lot of time over there anymore. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that being able to hide behind a computer and let our fingers post whatever vile hate we want, and not consider the readers on the other end, or if FB has reduced everyone back to their middle grade-elementary school habits, where those in the ‘Clique’ decide who’s cool and who’s not. It used to be the ‘cool’ kids…..but now it’s the ‘nerds’ running everything, and you know what? They’re doing the EXACT SAME THING!
When will this bullying stop? People have forgotten they have the right to IGNORE those whose views differ from their own, instead of trying to shove their views down the other person’s throat.
The only thing I do on FB anymore is post my Morning Song, my goals for the day, and the occasional meme/link or update on my current WIP. I also post my pictures there. Which alarms me greatly….if FB is shut down, all my pictures will be lost, since I’m now on my 3rd computer, and my hubby hates it when I have them printed. Remember that? When we’d drop off our film or use our memory card at CVS to print all the pics? Yeah, it was expensive because he wouldn’t let me do it every week/month! In 100 years, archaeologists are going to find photo albums and wonder if civilization ended around 2008…..unless the images are somehow saved somewhere…but I digress!
I joined Twitter on the advice of that same marketing workshop, because it’s another place to put my book links. In recent years, however, it’s become how I keep track of how well I’ve done at karaoke, since I pissed off a few of my FB ‘friends’ by posting every half hour of how well I sang XYZ song. I also scroll through it sometimes when I’m bored at ‘roke, and was appalled at how vile it had become on my feed over there, so I went through and unfollowed a few folks. Yesterday, it was much peaceful.
Pinterest, I joined a few years ago when I was researching hair color…..but really have no clue what I’m doing over there. I don’t even think I’ve ‘pinned’ anything.
So in short, social media can be fun, if you agree with all your ‘friends’, or it can be hateful, if your ‘friends’ turn on you for daring to voice your OPINION.
It all depends on your maturity level, your own willingness to ignore posts, and keep your opinions to yourself.
Which is strange….wasn’t the freedom of expression one of the things our Founding Fathers put in the Bill of Rights?
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I’m off to the Collector’s Carnival in Princeton on Saturday! I did this particular craft fair for the 1st time last year, with good results. Temps are supposed to be in the low 60s, so I’m hoping to stay warm, and have similar results. I did this event for the 1st time in August, but was sleepy. I’m hoping to be wide awake this time:)