Monday, March 25, 2019

Instagram Purity and A Moment with Mike, #3

At just three days since deactivating my Facebook account, I already have some interesting insights. The most profound is that I am even thinking of it in those terms. Usually when I “end my association” with something, in essence, cancel my membership, I do it and that’s that. No looking back, no wondering or thinking about what life without whatever it is would be like. I have quit clubs, cancelled gym memberships, subscriptions, even cable TV and never gave it a thought afterwards, let alone three days later. Why Facebook?

My ”morning ritual” is hardly regular enough to be called a ritual, but there are some constants: I have my coffee combined with some sort of “start” to my day. Over many years that start has taken on different looks. When I was a child (and before coffee), it could have been morning cartoons or reading the panels of a cereal box while eating a bowl of that cereal. Later, it has been a morning news program, newspapers and, more recently, iterations of all that in some form or fashion via the Internet. It hasn’t always been the absorption of external information, however, for some extended periods of time it has included the creation of new combinations of words and punctuation that convey what is on my mind. This morning, those words are these.

There are some elements to Facebook that I do miss, but not enough to outweigh what I truly don’t miss, something I was reminded about on Instagram yesterday. Further, those things I miss are things that did not even exist prior to about 10 years ago. Before the ubiquity of Facebook, staying in touch with friends was done the old fashion way – and it took some effort. Today, a scroll through a Facebook newsfeed will usually tell us all we need to know about friends, family and even non-friends, and if it doesn’t say enough, a quick journey to that friend’s profile will fill in the gaps. A status “like” or a quick comment will fulfill our friendship obligations for the day.

I also miss my girlfriend. Not in real life – we live in the same home, but I miss her in the virtual world. While the friendship obligations do not follow in terms of our relationship, that is, I do not and cannot maintain that relationship with a simple liked status, it is a part of our interaction that I have had to sacrifice. But that sounds harsher than it needs to be, worse than it really is. I also no longer feel any need to “read between the lines” and since I do not know what she is putting on Facebook, unless she brings it up, I won’t need any further interpretation. While I am not a fan of “vague-booking,” she and I are both well-versed in it.

What I really do not miss, and the primary reason for my Facebook abstinence, is the political bullshit. I’m sure, with the release of the Mueller Report and Attorney General William Barr’s conclusions drawn from it, the meme war is at a fever pitch. It even showed up in my Instagram feed. I like Instagram for not only what it is, but also for what it isn’t. Most of the people I follow are real friends and associates or those more iconic public personalities who post things I’m interested in, much of which involves motorcycles, music and snowboarding. Occasionally a political meme will slip through (I might have stuck one or two up there myself), but generally those I follow are not posting that shit.

Because I value the apolitical nature of Instagram, I unfollowed one person yesterday. The reason was not due to just one, isolated, political meme. It was a pattern of them. In fact, a click this person’s profile revealed a large percentage of the pictures were regurgitated memes - political snipes - many of them derogatory towards the entire “other side.” Which side is not important. My side is not important. The purity of my Instagram feed is and yesterday I took the necessary step to further purify it. That person has every right to post whatever he or she wants, and I have every right to restrict it from my feed.

Do I have thoughts on the Mueller Report and what is contained within it? Of course I do, and I will have something to say about it in short order, but it won’t appear on Instagram. It also won’t appear on Facebook. I am committed to not feeding that machine, that echo chamber where we will find many others who will agree with, cosign and validate anything and everything. Believe the most outrageous shit, post it on Facebook and you will find not a few, not dozens, not hundreds, but thousands of others who will jump on that bandwagon. Why? Fuck if I know…

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