Don't @ Me, Bro!

Date: 08 July 2019

tl;dr: I am saying good bye to most social media. Well, at least, Facebook and Twitter. (I don’t use much else.) I don’t know if this is going to be a permanent thing or not. We’ll see.

So, here’s the deal. I’ve been using Facebook and Twitter for a long time. Twitter, especially, has been my go-to platform of choice. For some time, I’ve been watching the quality of what gets posted degrade.

Yes, the memes are all fun and who doesn’t like cute animals being cute? Cool. Man! You’re kids are growing up and it looks like you have some fun stuff going on. Sweet. What’s really getting to me, though, is the rampant toxicity.

Frankly, politics on social media is a horrifically damaging thing. No, it’s not because someone supports a candidate I don’t or whatever. It’s how people are showing their support or opposition.

There’s no such thing as a sane political discussion on social media. It’s like the description of the New York legislature in the musical 1776.

They speak very fast and very loud, and nobody listens to anybody else, with the result that nothing ever gets done.

No one cares what the other side is really talking about as long as you get your jabs in. Let’s look at abortion, for example. Everyone I know who opposes abortion (including myself) does so because they are opposed to intentionally ending human life. Those that I know who are in favor of abortion completely disregard that position and argue that people who are opposed to abortion hate women and want to make them brood mares or breeding slaves. There’s no discussion. No understanding. It’s just “You’re wrong and you are totally and completely evil because of your beliefs.”

It’s the same thing with the political parties. It doesn’t matter what your party of choice does. It’s totally awesome and amazing while everything the other party does is absolutely evil and every action is justified in opposing it. It also doesn’t matter if the policies that you are opposing were put in place by your party during the previous administration.

That sort of unequivocal cheerleading is leading to an extremely toxic environment. Even worse, it’s fed by the 24/7 news cycle that makes everything anyone says “Breaking News!” and politician who use everything someone does as a fundraising opportunity.

Can you believe Sen. So-and-so thinks hot dogs are a sandwich? Donate now so that we can stop this evil doer of evilness before he destroys democracy!

It’s easier to campaign on tribalism and fear than it is to do so on ideas.

That sad thing is, this sort of behavior is leaching out of politics and into other parts of our culture. Let’s take a look at the reaction to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It was the first Star Wars movie that split the fan base. There were a large number of people who, like myself, enjoyed SW:TLJ but there is an equally large group that didn’t like it. For many, it wasn’t enough that they didn’t like it. They had to destroy everyone and everything surrounding it.

It’s bad enough when they started referring to director Rian Johnson as “Ruin” Johnson. They then took it upon themselves to try and totally and completely destroy actress Kelly Marie Tran because they didn’t like the character she played.

I wish I could say this was new. The way Star Wars “fans” treated Ahmed Best and Jake Lloyd for their roles as Jar Jar Binks and Anakin Skywalker was disgraceful. Similarly, Daisy Ridley was driven off social media because of the way people attacked her on Instagram after Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I’m seeing this attitude more and more often on social media. It’s not enough to dislike something. You must destroy it. People are attacked in the most hurtful ways people can imagine. Women are threatened with sexual violence. Parents have death threats hurled at them and their kids. People of color have racial slurs thrown at them.

I’ve talked to a number of people who stream on Twitch and the abuse they have to deal with is incredible. I’ve seen it, on occasion, in my streams as well. The trolls will drop in and try to get a reaction out of the streamer. I even had one start making sexual remarks about my then pre-teen daughter who was standing behind me and was visible in the webcam.

The overall toxicity I’ve been seeing, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, is unhealthy. This is the same reason I got out of politics and stopped my podcast. For my own mental health I have to get away from it.

So, now what? Well, the Music Free Gaming streams are still a thing and will be for, I hope, a long time. Unfortunately, marketing is still a thing. Posts from this site will still find their way onto Twitter and stream announcements will still go there. If you want to talk about the streams or chat with other members of the community, you can still do so in the Discord server or the Music Free Gaming sub-reddit.

I will still, occasionally, post something to Instagram which shares out to Facebook and Twitter. If you reply to one of those things, I might see it and interact. I will also be posting things here. I will not, however, be loading up Facebook or Twitter to see what’s new.

How long will this last? I don’t know. It’s been over a week, so far, and I’m starting to see a positive difference in my mental health. That’s a good thing. I hope it continues.