Social Media Burnout or I Don’t Really Care What You Think

Along with my short list from the other day of some of the reasons for the lack of posting here, there’s this.

Some days, I just don’t care about other people’s opinions. Even when they agree with me, their need to assert it on the Interwebz just seems tiresome.

(Cue mass unfollowing from Twitter.)

I don’t feel this way all the time. If I did, I would just quit social media (cue cheer from certain corners!). As examined in this well-written post by Carpetbagger, the way opinions and positions are so very diametrically oppositional is wearing.

And it’s not even November yet!

I can pinpoint this feeling exactly to the day the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act was being revealed. I actually (briefly) unfollowed a couple of people because if the law was not upheld I did not want to view or participate in their particular brand of gloating. Even if it was very subtle. I just did not want to deal.

(I’m not proud.) (I did refollow them.)

And due to the persuasive presence of social media (in my life, anyway), we are (I am) awash in Other People’s Opinions. All. The. Time.

Then we had the Aurora theater shooting, and the horror expressed over the fact that there were children in the theater at a midnight show. (None of our business! Not our children! The parents didn’t take them to the theater to be harmed. What happened was the fault of one very sick person.)

For the record, I had two — TWO — very interesting and civil conversations on social media (one on Twitter and one on Facebook) with two people with different opinions than my own. To sum up: they asserted that if citizens had been able to carry concealed weapons, the carnage in the theater would have been less. I asserted that I strongly doubted that. We all had our good and valid reasons for our positions, and no one called each other reductive, nasty names.

Of course, the general parent judging that goes on all the damn time in general. Over it, and I still get sucked into the debate. If not directly by commenting on it, at least I read things that piss me off. Gotta learn to NOT CLICK.

Then the whole gay marriage/Chick-fil-a flap. I was dismayed to see some people in my social media circles supporting Chick-fil-a on their so-called “Customer Appreciation Day”. But that’s their right. It’s my right to never set foot in there again. It’s the beauty of the free market/democratic society! You get to say what you want, give money to organizations you want, and I get to boycott you!

Let’s review, real quick, the “freedom of speech” clause. It’s pretty straightforward: The government cannot censor speech. That’s it, in a nutshell. The government can’t shut down a newspaper, TV channel, or Internet site. The government can’t hack your blog and crash your servers.

Can you be fired from your job by mouthing off about your employer on Facebook? Yup. You can say whatever you want, but in some cases — not related to government censorship — there are consequences. If Dan Cathy wants to give money to organizations that work hard to suppress civil rights of a minority, he is free to do so. I am free to not eat his waffle fries.

In all the hoopla, this article from The Daily Beast was my favorite. It’s written by a gay employee of Chick-fil-a, and I honestly hope that if you are on the wrong side of this issue, it gives you pause.

Sometimes, it’s good to read things on the Internet that make you mad. It’s good to read stuff you don’t agree with. I think it’s important to know what others think and why. Just keep in mind that your next move should be to think before you type an angry, hate-filled comment. If you can’t think of anything that’s not flaming with anger or filled with hate, then don’t say anything. You are free to disagree — you are, even, really, free to be utterly uncivil online, I have to admit there’s no law against being an asshole — but do you really want to be the troll in the room? Hate has never, ever ever, in the history of the world (to my knowledge) changed someone’s mind for the better.

Some other things that drive me up a wall, in no particular order:

1. Being passive-aggressive online. If you have something to tell someone, tell him/her.
2. #vaguebooking (or #vagueTweet) This one probably bugs the majority of social media users. If you have to wait to tell us something, then wait!
3. Truly random, all-over-the-place posting. I know the Internet is the Wild West of communications, but sooner or later, if you want to do it right, you’ve got to find a theme, a niche, something you care enough about to regularly talk about. [Edited to add: The nature of Twitter is random, and I understand that. However, after a while, you start (if you are “good” at it) to talk about a few topics regularly. Yes, there’s going to be randomness. I guess the type that I’m talking about is navel-gazing randomness with no rhyme or reason, or totally goofy mental vomit. I’ve gotten to know people from Twitter, and when you are all over the place, it’s hard to have a conversation with you.]
4. Sponsored posts. These less drive me crazy than make my eyes glaze over a little bit. Confession: I don’t read sponsored posts, not from Babble, not from Big Name Bloggers, not from other writers I regularly follow online. I’m sorry, it’s nothing personal. I just see “This is a sponsored post from XYZ”, and I click on the next thing.

Do other people’s opinions wear you out? What do you do? Should I take a social media timeout? Until after the election?! (Not really, not going to happen.)

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12 thoughts on “Social Media Burnout or I Don’t Really Care What You Think

  1. I try not to read the comments under most news articles… all they do is depress me about the sad state of critical thinking in the US. It could be an article about things to do with potatoes and the comments will devolve into a Red/Blue Political Brouhaha.

    Luckily, I have a regular stock of sane, literate bloggers that I can read. πŸ˜‰

  2. I hear where you are coming from…when did we become completely “if you are not with me you are against me”? It is encouraging to hear you had civil debates in some cases because I see very little of that myself. I engage with two or three people on FB on political issues because in the past we have had civil back and forth. And there are others with whom I will never, ever comment because they are not interested in counter-points. And some others that I have unsubscribed from because…well, you know…it’s just so boring to get the same point in 5 different posts on the same day. The mommy-war opinions are even more brutal than the political posts. It seems as though if I don’t raise my kids they way (someone else) raises theirs…I am stupid at best and abusive at worst. Lately I stick with home DIY blogs (younghouselove) and work/hiring blogs (askamanager). Pretty safe there πŸ™‚

  3. I feel a lot of this too. There have been so many divisive triggers of late, and things turn ugly online. I do turn off social media at times (often just Facebook since it tends to be the biggest offender).

    The parenting stuff is another thing. I have stopped reading most “mommy blogs” because they tend to make me angry or make me feel bad about myself or (worse) make me feel bad about my kids. (I do read some blogs written by mommies, such as this one, but this is dramatically different in content than the types of blogs I now avoid.)

    I do have to apologize since I am an offender of your #3 peeve. I have a lot of interests, and I do tend to tweet things that interest me, which can result in quite an eclectic mix of topics. Also, my new blog is defined by structure not content, so it’s subject will change dramatically every week. These are likely things I will not change. I hope you don’t unfollow me, but if this is truly a sticking point you probably should.

    • As to you being an offender of #3: Not really. The nature of Twitter is random in general, and I get that. I would except you from that for a number of reasons: 1) I know you IRL. 2) In general, you have subjects and themes that you tweet about: plays, Chicago, kids, and so on. 3) As you say yourself: your new blog (which I am enjoying) is about structure, not necessarily content. That consistency is enough for me. You cover an eclectic mix of topics, but they are not off the wall navel gazing or anything like that. So, Imma keep following you if you don’t mind terribly. πŸ™‚

  4. I feel you, RPM. I think the best thing I have seen in a long time was a post on FB of Samuel L. Jackson in a classic Pulp Fiction pose, with the caption “SAY CHICK FiLA ONE MORE TIME!” Hilarious! And right on. I really wish the election was tomorrow because I am already so sick of it all! And I am especially sickened by all the MONEY that is being WASTED on TV ADS! I have wild dreams about how those huge sums of money could be better spent….sigh….

    • BWAHAHAHA. I wish I wish I had seen that SLJ meme. I totally would’ve posted it to Twitter.

      The media coverage of this election is such a drag. Every day, a poll; every day a new speech or ad; every day a farking interview in a swing state with an undecided voter. OVER IT. Election Day can not come quickly enough.

  5. The CFL stuff was so out of control – it made me want to leave all social media. Anytime there is a big update on Penn State related issues – I tune out for a day – I can’t handle people retweeting the same sound bites all day long (especially people who aren’t reading the facts themselves – I read all of the reports myself – I’m not in the dark on the issues).

    I agree that we should all read well writen articles on a topics that are contrary to our beliefs and keep an open mind. And the parenting judgements are the worst…although I am guilting of judging when I see people doing downright stupid things (putting pop in a baby bottle, etc.). Formula or breast milk – go for it – do what works for you and raise a healthy baby…

    And I can’t wait for the election to be over. I have been doing a lot of twitter unfollowing lately – the people who tweet their babble posts all day – gone. And I will be avoiding Facebook a lot between now and the election.

  6. Cleaning out my feed a few months ago, both on twitter and Google reader, was great. I don’t see much of your things mentioned above anymore. What little I do see I just count as free speech and difference of opinion. If it becomes a habit, well there is always the the block or unfollow feature. Hey, we should have a share your favorite blog friday!

    The vaguetweeting kills me. But I have been known to call ppl on it.

    OTOH, I have been guilty of sharing my opinions and being passive aggressive. If you catch me, call me out. That’s what friends are for, right? πŸ™‚

    • I have to go through especially Twitter and clean house. I know I do, and I’m being lazy, which is CLEARLY making me bitchy. πŸ˜‰

      As to sharing opinions, I think it’s valid to do it on Twitter. I’m sure I went ahead and did it three seconds after I wrote this post. Some people get very strident about their opinions; that’s what I have trouble with, even when I agree with them. Say it once, and/or write a post, move along.

      I have poked you when you are being PA. I think it’s healthy to be direct! I know not everyone agrees with me. I’m okay with that. πŸ™‚

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