Re-emerging From My Hiatus.....Where Have I Been and Why?

Saturday, March 2, 2019

It's been so long, I don't even know where to start.  I had no idea when I wrote my last post in mid-January that it would be my last post for a while.  Nor did I make a conscious decision to take a leave of absence from social media....but it happened.  I'm not entirely surprised so much time has passed because I was growing disenchanted by all of it and had developed a distinct love/hate relationship with Facebook.  Back in the beginning, in Facebook's early years, it was such a fun outlet - a place to keep in touch with out of town friends and relatives, a place to reconnect with old friends, a place to share humor and inspiration, family photos, etc.  In the past couple of years, it has become an outlet for freedom of speech.  It has become a place for people to hide behind a screen and make judgments, criticize, ridicule, and make fun of ..... people, politicians, and anyone not like themselves.  I remember a time when people were raised to not discuss religion or politics, when we were cautioned "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything".  Nowadays it seems like unless we have something negative to say, we say nothing at all.  Last month two men got a truck stuck in the ice on Saratoga Lake.  When they went back to retrieve that truck, the truck they were driving broke through the ice.  Now it doesn't take a genius to realize these guys may have lacked good judgment, but instead of people being glad no one was hurt or killed, Facebook feeds were filled with rude, mean, and judgmental comments about these men and their choices.  I'm not here to defend them, but before Facebook, before we all decided we have the right to speak our minds at all times to all people, these men would only have had their immediate circle of family and friends to face.  Instead they had hundreds of strangers posting nasty comments about them..... for days on a variety of posts made by different outlets.  When did we as a nation become so mean and so lacking in concern for our fellow human beings?  And this is just one example.  Browse anything on Facebook and you'll find similar behavior.  Maybe it's not in the things you post, or I post....luckily my immediate circle is kind to people they know.  Maybe it's just how we treat strangers today.  Maybe it started when the president began using Twitter to communicate. Maybe his crude, rude, accusatory and childish tweets have set a bad example for his country.  I'm not sure but I think I prefer the old days when folks could do dumb things and wallow in private and not have to be publicly shamed on social media.  Shouldn't we all be entitled to our beliefs, our opinions, our values without being scorned publicly, on a medium that invites others to join in on the insults and jokes?  How can we teach our youth not to bully when they see us adults bullying and ridiculing others on social media?
The other beef I have with Facebook is their ridiculous methods for distributing posts.   There was a time when you joined Facebook and when a friend posted something, you saw it in your feed.  When you posted something, your friends would see it in their feed.  Nowadays, if you don't routinely click 'like' or comment on things your friends post, Facebook determines you aren't really interested in that friend's posts and stops delivering them to you.  Don't believe me?   Go to your friend list and find a friend who you haven't heard from in a while.  Go to their page.  When was their last post?  Have you seen their recent posts?  If this friend was one who doesn't post much or posts things you don't 'like', you're probably no longer receiving their posts routinely.  I don't have time to like or comment on everyone of my friends photos or posts, and neither do I expect my friends to do so on everything I post.  Who has the time?  But......the same thing goes for business pages.  When I post a photo on my Life As I See It page where I have 1068 followers, I'm lucky if Facebook delivers my post to 300 of them.  Don't believe me?  Here's three of my recent posts:

Maybe it's just me, but when I choose to 'like' a page, a person, a business, I do so knowing I'll be seeing and enjoying their posts. I don't want my followers to feel compelled to 'like' everything I post, but if someone likes my page, I'm assuming they assume they'll be seeing what I post, not what Facebook decides to show them.  So that's been an ongoing frustration, knowing that over 1000 people like my page but the majority of those people aren't getting my posts delivered regularly.  As individuals with personal Facebook accounts, you don't receive these 'insights' so you don't realize all your friends aren't seeing your posts regularly.  You may even wonder why they aren't commenting on you know. The bottom line....Facebook rewards popularity so the more people that like you and express their love, the more of your stuff they'll see.   If you happen to be a lurker, someone who enjoys seeing what's happening in your friends' lives but prefer to remain quiet, on the sidelines without commenting or clicking a reaction.....well, Facebook interprets your behavior and responds by saving you the time and trouble.
And just when I'd lost all faith in Facebook and humanity, Josh Woodward happened.   If you don't recognize the name, Josh is a young, local firefighter who is fighting for his life after sepsis.  Thanks to Facebook, thousands of folks all across the country and beyond got on board to rally, to pray, to support, raise money and come together on Josh and his family's behalf.  How else could that have happened, how else could so many people get on the prayer wagon had it not been for the public forum of social media we call Facebook.   I'm sure that Chelsea Woodward, Josh's wife, is grateful for a platform where she can share her story, Josh's daily updates and inspire us by their love and fight to win the battle over a 5% chance of survival.  All of us who have been following their story are praying, cheering and following along with them on their journey as best we can through a platform that is often laced with anger and negativity.   So while there's a lot I dislike about Facebook, I have been reminded that just as with most everything in life, to all things there is more than one side to the story.  We can choose to walk away or ignore the things that bother us or we can focus on the things that inspire us and bring us joy.  Luckily Facebook has a multitude of controls and settings when it comes to our newsfeed.  We can unfollow friends who only post things we're offended by.  We can check people's feeds if we haven't heard from them for a while and we can limit how much time we spend on social media.  In the end, the control is really in our own hands.  We just have to recognize that and do our best to bring positivity and encouragement to the social media world, use self restraint when we're tempted to jump on the ridicule and shame bandwagon and resist sharing junk that we don't know for sure is true or maybe just fake news.  I'm not sure yet where I'm going in this platform, Facebook or any social media.  I hope those of you who enjoy the blog will stick around while I figure it out.  If you're a subscriber, you don't have to depend on Facebook to deliver the posts.  In the past almost five years, I have written 419 posts....I may well be written out.  Who knows.  I must say I've enjoyed the hiatus.  I've become a fan of Marie Kondo and as a result have spent a lot of time cleaning out, purging, organizing and big game hunting.  It seems that while I've been roaming the countryside on photoshoot, some rather massive dust bunnies have taken residence in the deep dark corners of my otherwise neat and clean home.  I've been going through old (very old) family photos, enjoying time with the grandkids and enjoying our new kitten, Simba.  Some of you may not know our beloved Sophie passed on Christmas Eve.  The house was so lonely without her, while she couldn't be replaced, we needed another fur friend to fill out the family.  He's the cat's meow and adored by all.  Would you believe I've not taken any photos since January except of him?
Anyway, I'm alive and well, in case you wondered.  I hope to be back with more blogs and more photos but in the meantime know that I'm enjoying 'living life as I see it'.  Missed Ya!

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