created May 21, 2019
Today, I stumbled upon this interesting March 2019 post.
Like many people who were active bloggers back when blogging was a new thing, I’m somewhat nostalgic for the pre-Facebook internet. It isn’t so much that people actually behaved better back then, but there was a certain optimism about the future of online spaces. It seemed like the fall of walled gardens like CompuServe and AOL was as important as the fall of the Berlin Wall, and an open, decentralized web would emerge to replace it. This optimism meant that we invested ourselves in these spaces because we felt they had the potential to become something better. Something new. But then Facebook happened. Twitter happened. We are living in that future now, and it sucks.
The post continues on, but my post here is focused on this part of the author's essay:
I still get a lot out of being on Facebook and Twitter. Because everyone is there, a lot of life and work is happening there as well. To leave Facebook would be to cut myself off from much of the world around me. This is doubly true here in Taiwan where Facebook is often the only place I can learn about events, books, films, restaurants, politics, etc. directly related to my interests.
Not everyone "is there." I'm proof of that. I don't use Facebook nor Twitter. Maybe for the author, "everyone" meant all of the people who the author knows.
The world is not comprised of only humans. The rest of the natural world exists around me, and I don't need people nor any aspect of social media to make me enjoy our local flora and fauna.
My interests go beyond books, films, restaurants, and politics. Following politics is the bare minimum that people can do for their communities. Maybe the crapshow of politics at all levels is designed to convince voters that they performed their community service, and therefore they don't need to do anything else. I choose to help our local area by contributing time, money, and resources to local non-profits.
I'm thankful that I never experienced the feeling of being cut off from the world because I don't use social media. That "cut off" comment makes no sense to me, unless the person has no access to the outdoors.
We live in Toledo, Ohio, the western part of the city, which means that we call it West Toledo when chatting with local residents. It's probably a typical urban neighborhood with small homes and small lots, packed close together. Much of our neighborhood is loaded with a lot of trees, especially oak trees for us.
During my early morning exercise walk today, I heard the following migrating songbirds in our neighborhood.
- American Redstart Warbler
- Bay-breasted Warbler
- Black-throated Green Warbler
- Blackburnian Warbler
- Blackpoll Warbler
- Chestnut-sided Warbler
- Tennessee Warbler
- Red-eyed Vireo
- Philadelphia Vireo
I'm not cut off from the world. I learned to identify birds by sight and sound before Facebook began. Learning about birds can be a gateway to learning about other areas of natures, such as trees, flowers, and insects.
My neighborhood exercise walk this morning was a more worldly event than someone who has traveled or lived all over the world and comes home and cannot identify basic aspects of local nature.
A check of the range maps for the above birds will show that those birds wintered in Central and South America, and most of those birds will nest well north of Toledo.
Naturalists understand the connection between humans and the rest of the natural world, and the impacts that humans cause on the environment.
Knowing about our local flora and fauna and the migrating creatures that pass through our area twice a year expands our thinking and our appreciation for the world, and I don't need social media for this.
Going outside and observing and being curious and taking notes and making sketches leads to learning, enjoyment, relaxation, and overall life fulfillment.
The author said:
Social media is like junk food. Fine in small doses, but dangerous if it makes up the bulk of your diet. So how to increase the number of nutritious meals in my social life? Teaching full time leaves little time left over for socializing with anyone other than students and co-workers. And because many of my friends and relatives live in completely different time zones, it is hard to see them in real life. That’s a big reason why I spend so much time on social media in the first place!
I do a poor job of staying in touch with my family that is scattered around the U.S. We text, but I rarely chat with my brothers over the phone. I see my brothers and their families only once or twice a year.
But these are the lives that we have chosen. We could have stayed in eastern Ohio and lived close to one another, but we didn't. Why is it important to use social media on a daily basis to stay in touch with family and friends who are scattered around the world?
Different strokes, I guess. I prefer to keep my orbit small and focused on the immediate Toledo area, and for that, I can meet local friends and family in person on a regular basis.
For the rest, I use text messaging and phone calls. I could use email more. I could even create a monthly email newsletter that family members could subscribe to. They could use feed readers and subscribe to a feed here.
Facebook/social media might be the easiest way to stay in touch with people, located around the world, but in my opinion, it's not the only way, and it may not be the best method. Easy does not always equal the best. Easy can lead to wasting time.