I had my Facebook day yesterday. It started well. Then the drama came, the gossip, the signs work was in progress only to fall asunder to the overblown insecurities of mankind.
Still, I do my best to stick to what I created as a two-week abstinence plan. This plan only works if I mark it on a physical calendar. It didn’t work if I just tried to count the days and remember. Two-weeks seems to be the key to become more grounded again even as I struggle to face what has happened to us with this world of bumper-sticker images, like-clicks for both approval and conforming to masses, and the deluge of inflaming unimportant things.
The Pit Update For November 2016 podcast reveals a much calmer person in me. This was created by the consistent use of that two-week abstinence plan from Facebook. One Friday every two-weeks and with errands to run, so that I’m not using it all day either.
I feel there is hope. This log was not invented for the creation of glorious photos, though I’m sure most who look through it are seeking solely those. It was created for studious observances and also to keep myself sane.
Have any of you noticed becoming too excited and your temper riled much more often than it once was and on almost any whim? This is created by a lack of true engagement with people. The version you see more often than not in this day and age is a video-game creation of socializing. It doesn’t give you vocal inflections, tactile pats on the back, handshakes, hugs, or the visual expression of another human. What you see of other humans are fragments, mostly still photos of them smiling. The truth in human expressions is that they move and flow. In real life smiles form in motion, they don’t hold their shape constantly. We are receiving echos and tiny portions of each other in the belief we are having hearty human relationships, when in essence we are only getting crumbs.
Living on junk-food or fast-food gives the impression that you are fed because your stomach feels full. If the food is not giving you the nutrients you need you are still hungry, but unable to put the nutrients anywhere as you just filled yourself with junk. Human relationships work in the same way. If you aren’t getting proper human interaction, as is healthy for living, but are tricked into believing that you are? You are starved and begin behaving just as crazy as one going through famine. The only difference is famine sufferers are aware food is lacking, whereas with junk-food and social media we are given the false notion that our human needs are being met when they are not. It is living a contradiction and that creates insanity.
Social media makes it too easy to show pleasure due to happy buttons such as like-clicks, up-votes, +1’s, little hearts on tumblr and cute stickers. Your ability to express insight and what gives you joy is eliminated by these easy-to-use buttons and choices. Your emotional understanding in the positive atrophies by this use. Life isn’t so much of a joy anymore, it’s merely a click, or an excess of clicks from other people. It makes me wonder what would happen if we only had thumbs-down buttons. I don’t desire that, but I wonder about it. Would the ability to hate shrink, the way the ability to love has with happy-buttons, by the use of only having down-votes and -1’s? Who’s to say?
The main thing I know is in the late 1990’s and the early 2000’s there were “bad vibes” online but they didn’t show up so very frequently. Not that many people were using the internet anyway, and it was never on an expanded version of a portable telephone. We looked for newsgroups and pen friends and told of our particular interests to find who we may be akin to. And also we had to sit in chairs to use it. At the end of the day?
You turned it off.
What happens when we are constantly hooked up to the internet and carry it around with us everywhere? When we never have a solitary moment except to be interrupted with a beep or a notification popping at you?
Well, as the old joke goes:
“You’re soaking in it!”
Did that make you laugh? Maybe just a little. Humour is recognizing the awful truth with a little blurb attached at times.
If anyone is asking if I got into the online-entertainment racket just to observe the waste and trouble going on in the world? The answer is no, I didn’t. I got into it to get the reflective responses of what the characters were doing and learning along the way. What I got instead was social media, the advice to use it, and having to engage with an audience that avoided discussion of my creation, as well as ego-driven types who could spend all their time telling me what I was all about and should do in negative ways when I’d never met them before in my life, as well as watching how people were spending their time in gossiping, ranting, posting repeats, throwing links and images around like candy spewing from a pinata, and that was what was left to me.
Occasionally, and very occasionally, someone would post commentary on Episode One in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows and EVERYONE would celebrate as if the problem was solved or would be solved, “You see there, Daryl! Look! It’s finally happening.”
Do you have any idea how damned many times that false alarm flashed before all of us? Fifty times? One hundred times? Have we lost count? I have.
But the claims of “being busy” kept coming in. Yeah. I spent a few years mostly on Facebook. I could see pretty easily what all y’all were so “busy” doing. Wasting-time for the most part, but with the periodic crisis, or rare revelation, or the visit to a restaurant in which we get to view what was on your plate. Gosh, pretty busy all right. Busy with nothing for the most part. Gotcha. How long did it take to keep creating all that “busy” news and posting it? How long did it take to write out paragraphs of excuses about why “people” weren’t doing what they naturally used to do?
Tingler got through fourteen episodes in The Pit of Ultimate Dark Shadows, reported his enjoyment of it, and had fun doing it in twenty days. He was busy with things in his own life, yes. Being on Facebook was not one of them.
The intense reaction of “I am not addicted!” has been screamed at me many times. It’s one of the first signs that someone is addicted. Now? It’s being admitted more and more often that social media is addictive and people are admitting to being addicted to it. It is not a joyful admittance either like, “I love watching movies. I’m addicted to them!” Nope, it’s being said as a sad fact one wishes they could change. (Even some of my relatives are saying it, a few of which I am not fond of. Wow.)
“What can I do?” one may ask. Well you can write to me about how I accomplished the two-week abstinence plan if you would like to, if you’re not too terrified to write to me or can remember how to write an email or letter. I got into this to help fictional characters. Helping people, real or fictional, is obviously something ingrained in who I am, but it does come at a cost: good behaviour, gratitude and trust.
The other thing you can do? Learn to observe carefully. I did and that is what has made me who I am today. And if you want a fun way to learn how to observe?
Not the new versions of him, not the flashy ones, the old versions of him:
The books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Or the wonderful rendition as closely based on the books as possible:
as performed by Jeremy Brett
And that is where you start.