Preoccupied With Your Second Life

Image courtesy of Bill Murray and an unknown meme creator.

I kid the internet!  It’s not enough internet for today until you’ve read our entry, of course 😉  However, the popular New Year’s resolution we’re focusing on for this entry is to spend less time on Facebook!  Facebook specifically.  People didn’t resolve to spend less time on the internet or other specific sites, specifically Facebook.  You can of course read, follow, and comment on our blog without any kind of use of Facebook, but you’d miss the Question of the Day and any thought provoking or conversation promoting that that creates and we do think it’s a good tool to promote our sense of community, but we also understand why people are wanting to spend less time on Facebook.  Facebook can be a toxic environment.

Our Question of the Day asked why we do things we know won’t make us happy, and spending time on Facebook was in the back of our mind when we posted it.  Facebook has been factually proven to be biased and using human decision instead of algorithms when choosing what to display as trending news.  We know that people on Facebook spread fake news like wildfire, and most truly believe it when they do.  We still use Facebook as our biggest source of news.  And we fight about it viciously.  We no longer just discuss news with our friends and family and have to hold our tongues and keep things tactful, civil, and objective while we do.  We lose all reservations behind a screen and show ugly sides of ourselves that normally wouldn’t ever be seen, and really shouldn’t, because indulging that kind of time and such a broad audience to such private and vile sides of ourselves is really only fostering them to grow, and we shouldn’t be doing that.

The fact that these false news stories exist at all for people to share and that people wear the term troll like a badge of honor is really testament to the fact that online forums without moderation really bring out this sick aspect of people that pre-Facebook would have been a fleeting thought that you kept to yourself and might’ve even been ashamed of that now gets glorified by a group of people who get together from a place of insecurity to bully people and to enjoy messing with people’s brains and it feeds into this short term addictive pleasure center that says  “I got a response from that, I got attention, I got to feel bigger, I got people to laugh and support me, I got to show how much smarter I am than this person who fell for it” and just wants to keep feeding that urge to get that same response.

Studies have shown all the various forms of trolling are actually tied very closely with people who have the psychologically dubbed Dark Tetra personality traits: “Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others.)” and the people displaying these qualities are the ones spending the most time online.  So while these people make up a small fraction of the population, and trolls make up a tiny fraction of internet users, they’re on it all the time, and they feel feee to run rampant there because they are entirely unchecked and encouraged, and the rest of us serve as this giant pool of victims to either deceive or manipulate or bully, so we’re either spreading their fake news or engaging in the arguments that feed into their sense of entertainment, or we’re giving them the emotional response that sadists want. They want to see us hurt.  And we all encounter trolls every single day if we dare to venture outside of our core group of friends to any other pages or groups.  Sometimes even within our core groups of friends we have trolls that have mastered that manipulation bit to keep us around.

On the other end of the spectrum from the trolls we’ve got all the people who thrive on all the positive reinforcement that social media gives you for accomplishing absolutely nothing.  They’re all about the likes and happy to post selfie after selfie in as much or as little clothes as they see fit, duckface and snapchat filtered faces and photoshopped bodies and all.   They thrive on collecting “Friends” and will even stoop to stealing someone else’s pictures entirely, just because they want the likes and compliments.  They’ll make fake accounts to be friends with.  They’ll be promiscuous and raunchy JUST for the likes, not for the empowerment.

Sharing this end of the spectrum are people who don’t go about it from a focus on physical appearance, but will friend every person they’ve ever met in their life and then go about collecting likes by proving what a good and kind person they are for remembering and making a fuss over every single birthday among their 1,000,006 friends.  They’re posting the religious you have to like and share this post and comment amen or you hate your family and Jesus will kill babies posts.  They’re posting meme after inspirational meme and sharing all those heartfelt touching articles and stories that have nothing to do with anything and they didn’t even read but they want the like.

And then we’ve got the online protestors and politicians who are telling everyone how to fight every fight and what side to be on and why you’re wrong and they’re right and how you can make a difference and what we need to do now and then sitting back to a job well done with all of their likes without actually having done anything themselves.  I’m not negating the people truly rallying to a cause and organizing it through social media… but there are an awful lot of people talking and an awful lot of not doing.

Whether you’re in one of these far ends of the social media spectrum or you’re somewhere in the middle trying to keep up with it all happening around you it is still an awful lot to absorb and process and keep up with and in the meantime we’re not getting anything done in real life and politics are going to bizarre extremes because we’re not paying any attention to what’s actually happening on a day to day basis or really being educated about anything, we get all our info from a meme and think we know the facts.

I enjoy the weird things in life. Conspiracy theories and ancient astronaut theory and all the unknown, unexplained, paranormal, supernatural, just plain weird things in the world.  So in my social circles I’m forever having the conversation “How could people thousands of years ago have built the pyramids or Stonehenge or all these things we can’t even accomplish today?”  My answers is invariably “They didn’t have Facebook.”  Facebook is an addiction, and it is a waste of time.  Even I know when I’m making Facebook posts that it’s a waste of time. Both my time and the time of whoever eventually reads it.  Most posts made by most people on Facebook are really unimportant and really uninteresting, unless you’re their parent and you really care about seeing every aspect of your grandkid’s life.  Even then there’s probably quite a bit of unimportant uninteresting filler in between.  If something truly important happens in the life of someone you are truly close to, you will know through a means other than Facebook.

Facebook does have it’s good points.  As a military brat from a broken home who’s moved all over the country I have friends and family that I truly love and care about that I would never hear from again without Facebook.  As someone on the Autism Spectrum before there was instant communication and pseudo interactions where I can press a reaction button to let you know I read your thing and cared about it, I generally found that mail or email or IM or phone or even text was just a weird and uncomfortable way to keep in touch with people that I knew in real life and it’s hard for me to transition people from one kind of interaction to another.  Without Facebook at this stage in life I would probably have no social interactions at all.  So I’m certainly not calling for a ban on Facebook, and I don’t think the people who made this resolution were either.

We do need to limit our Facebook time.  How many people are reading these blogs and seeing 3-4 ways they can better their live in the span of a day and not getting it done because they just don’t have time while they’re devoting time to following the rabbit hole that is the Facebook news feed.  If there are things you’re doing or participating in on Facebook that you’re not enjoying, stop it.  If you’re following a group or page that you don’t actually enjoy, leave it.  If you’re doing anything to appear cool, enlightened, an activist, smart, spiritual, accepting, kind, any label, knock it off. Do things because they are productive and add value to your life or they represent who you actually are, not who you want other people to think you are.  If you really want people to think those things about you then be them, don’t just front it, and do it because that’s who you want to be, not because you’re playing to an audience. Stop worrying about what other people think. Life is not an interview.  You are not going to leave the world satisfied that your life got enough Facebook likes or regretting that you didn’t have another day to beat that next Candy Crush level.

Facebook is NOT LinkedIn.  You do NOT need to friend everyone.  You don’t need to stay friends with everyone once you do friend them.  It is okay to turn down a friends request or unfriend someone and remain friends with them in real life. It’s okay to acknowledge that there’s only so much time in the day and that you want to spend your Facebook time devoted to your very closest friends and family and those that are too far away to interact with in other ways.  You don’t have to agree with everything everyone on your Facebook does say to keep them as a friend, but consider acknowledging this little known piece of wisdom:  It is possible to see something you don’t agree with online, and to ignore it.  It’s even possible to not like it, or to be embarrassed that it was said or shared by someone you have a relationship with and not need to get combative or passive aggressive about it.   If you need to, it’s even truly okay to say to someone “I love you, but we seem to use Facebook in different ways, and I would prefer to keep our relationship in this other form of interaction.”

Most of us have different apps on our phones that will tell us when someone wants our attention through messenger or notifications or in my case I get a page manager that as soon as anyone comments anything or likes anything or Facebook wants to try to get some money out of me to promote my content it makes noise and pops up immediately to alert me that all that is going on.  If you’re working at your computer you can even keep Facebook minimized in the background and hear that little ding that someone is saying something to you.  So limit how much time you legitimately spend on Facebook.  Look at your schedule like you would a budget and decide how much time is reasonable Facebook time.  It may be that you’re looking at how much time per day to devote to reading your news feed and how much time per day to devote to interacting in articles and pages and groups and all of that, or it may be that you’re looking at what days of the week you legitimately have time for Facebook and only checking in during that time limit on those days, and that’s okay.  No one else gets to dictate how you use your time or your Facebook.  Except me. I totally dictate how you use your time. But I try to leave wiggle room and only take up a little of it ^_^

Prioritize what really matters to you and see where time on Facebook falls on the list.  I’m guessing not very high, but it’s probably still getting most of your time because it’s convenient and it’s a time sucking drain.  That’s why we need to set limits for it.  It’s great to share the things you’re doing on Facebook, but don’t do things just to share them on Facebook.  If your top priority is family time then set the phone down, close the laptop, and go have some fun with your family.  If reading overrules Facebook then maybe even revolve that Facebook schedule around how many chapters you’re going to read before you check Facebook, and you may find that you really would rather keep reading than hop on and see who still hates Donald Trump and who still hopes Hillary Clinton goes to jail and what exactly Gwyneth Paltrow intends to do with all those limes.  Maybe you really love to hike or you really want to do Yoga, but it’s easier to turn on your nearest internet capable device and get lost in endless clicks and pointless but amusing or appalling videos than to get yourself out of bed and get some endorphins happening, but if you spend a week training yourself that the internet doesn’t come on until some physical activity has been accomplished you’ll be happier and healthier and probably a little bit more fit.  Then there’s this thought… and it’s just a thought… but wouldn’t you maybe get some more joy out of actually socializing than you would get from interacting with your phone?  Maybe even limit how many pictures you’re willing to take while you’re out with friends so you spend time actually with them and not getting ready to prove to the social media world that you have friends and are loved.

Facebook is good in moderation.  The moderation is key.  Facebook has none, so we need to have it ourselves. Know what to leave behind and skip over and what is genuinely worthy of your time.

Meanwhile, for today (or tomorrow as the case may be since the post is coming so late you may just want to double up with tomorrow if you can’t get it done tonight) :

Shape your fingernails.  Male or female or anything in between grab yourself a manicure kit (they sell them for a dollar at Walmart if you haven’t got one. Seriously, $1 got me two sizes of nail clippers, an emery board [one of those sand paper nail files], two wooden cuticle pushers and maybe one other thing I don’t remember, but still, everything you need to get your nails properly shaped.)  and either file or clip your nails to a uniform length.  Decide whether you like them squared or rounded and get that nail file to work shaping them how you want them.  Little tip on nail filing:  only file in one direction.  Most everyone goes back and forth, but that actually weakens your nails, so unless you’re fond of the broken nail phenomena just pick one direction and go with it.  Get things smoothed out so you don’t have jagged edges snagging on things.  If you want to go on to a full manicure then feel free, but all you’re required to do today is get them into a nice shape. People notice hands. We shake with them, high five with them, hold them for affection, do everything in our daily life with our hands, so people look at them and they take note of how much you care about taking care of yourself based on if it looks like you’ve put any effort into maintaining them.  So definitely clean under your nails too.

Clean your kitchen floor.  This one’s probably pretty quick, but if you do have any kind of clutter or trash on the kitchen floor get it picked up, put away, or tossed out,  Move any mats or runners out of the way (and probably give them a good shaking or beating outside to get them clean as well… if they need a windex or febreezing or washing check out their care tags and do what you need to do.) and sweep the kitchen thoroughly.  All those corners and nooks and crannies and between appliances and counters, get it all.  After sweeping then mop with your floor cleaner of choice. I like Pine-sol, it smells like clean to me.  Pass on the Swiffer Wet Jet for today. The swiffer is great for spot cleaning, not so much for deep cleaning, so use a real mop.  Whatever cleaner you do use make sure you read the label for toxicity to kids and pets and keep them away from it for any duration specified and dilute it properly during use.  If you’re the kinda person who likes a waxed floor, have at it.  I’ve personally never waxed a floor and honestly have no idea what kinds of floors even get waxed, but I’ve seen it in enough pop-culture to know it’s a thing.

Swim.  If you joined a gym that has water aerobics classes see about taking one.  Don’t be afraid of being too young or too old or wrong gendered or too out of shape, none of that applies.  You’re all just people who want to get a good exercise.  You may learn some things and may even make some friends or at least friendly gym acquaintances.  The gym I generally go to doesn’t have water aerobics classes but has some kind of foam dumbbell shaped pool weights.  Every now and again I grab those and see about trying to do different exercises in the water.  The water provides good resistance and while I may not be using them at all right I’m working some muscles.  If you haven’t managed to join a place with a pool still get in some good full body cardio whether you go for a brisk walk or a jog or a run or whatever your cardio of choice is.

Then today we’re gonna listen to either a guided meditation or a subliminal audio track for motivation.

That’s it for today 🙂  Since the post came so late the question of the day is already up on Facebook (hypocrisy! I know, but it’s a productive and hopefully enriching project and answering the Question of the Day is a short thing that you can give as much or as little thought to as you want and potentially lead to some very productive conversations.  I really like the thoughts being shared on today’s question.) so with this post we are officially caught up, and barring any further surgery complications or severe medication reactions again we should be good to stay on track.

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