Thursday, February 02, 2017

The anti-Social Network

If I didn't host a weekly talk radio show on a political AM station, I likely wouldn't consume political news to the degree I do currently. I use the social media site Twitter primarily to post political content I feel might be useful in an upcoming broadcast. I will then use this blog to opine on some of that content, which also serves as more than adequate radio show prep.

Facebook is one social media venue where I rarely post politically charged opinions. Since I have so many outlets which to do so, I long ago made a personal decision to utilize my Facebook account as an area to post personal anecdotes, photos and opinions on non-political items. These days it's awfully hard to scroll through my Facebook news feed without encountering someone with a strong opinion on something political. I'm now at the point where I find myself "un-following" a Facebook friend (they remain FB friends but I just don't see any of their content in my feed) if such posts become too insufferable and/or voluminous.

Bethany Mandel at The Federalist has pretty much had her fill of this annoying trend.

Since the end of the 2016 election, and especially since it resulted in the victory of Donald J. Trump as president, Facebook has become utterly intolerable. I took the application off my phone when I realized, a few days after the election, that I felt angry every time I scrolled through my newsfeed, and that this sour mood was affecting how I spoke with my co-workers, who happen to be my children (I’m a stay-at-home mother by profession). Deleting the application made me feel more disconnected from these online friends from all walks of my life, but also happier and more calm.

Because I checked FB on almost an hourly basis during the 2016 campaign cycle, I too felt as though I was becoming burnt out. I found myself becoming short and curt with people because I allowed external factors to adversely impact me. It got to the point where I politely asked my wife to eschew political conversation at the dinner table because I had become emotionally drained at the end of every day.

When I first signed up on Facebook in late 2008, many of the people I first "friended" were (obviously) friends from all walks of life, co-workers, friends/acquaintances/classmates I hadn't seen in years but had often thought about, etc. I never went into it with the idea of using it as a political soap box, nor apparently did Bethany.

The problem with Facebook political rants is this: It is not Twitter. I do not “follow” my high school best friends because of their insightful political commentary; I want to see updates on their lives and pictures of their adorable children. Unlike Twitter, I don’t want to unfollow or unfriend them because of their rants, because if I do so, I’ll miss out on the all-important baby announcements and updates.

If all you’re using Facebook for is to yell into the digital void about politics, you will find your audience for such rants is getting smaller by the minute. Sorry, random friends from all walks of life: I just don’t care what you think about Donald Trump today.

While I can't bring myself to delete the Facebook app on my phone, I am becoming proficient at filtering my news feed. That is when I'm scanning my feed, I can ascertain quickly whether a post is worth my time or if it will annoy me. Unfortunately it's more the latter these days. It's kind of a shame really. Facebook perusing, back in the early days, was an enjoyable experience the majority of the occasions I logged on. Now? Not so much.


1 comment:

Mr. D said...

Agree 100% with this. My college friends in particular are almost 100% lefty and never, ever stop. I don't play that game for the most part; once in a while I'll post a video that's meant to be gnomic, but I can't think of a time I've ever posted something political on FB. It's just not worth it.