This is my kitchen, and the little booth area is where conversations take place. It’s heard the grief of loss, the fuss of marriage, the hum of homework and the laughter of meals shared. This space cultivates reasoning, original discourse and sincere connection. Those who visit my kitchen know me and can understand me.
LinkedIn is my only social network. LI is career/enterprise focused, so it has minimal impact on how I live or think. Those who visit my profile do not know me or understand me, yet the magic of these tools produces an experience that simulates connection. Fascinating!
At almost 1 year into social media abstinence, I look back on far too much of my life focused on unoriginal, polarized and hive-minded topics. These platforms were operating like a meal plan for the mind. They rob us of original agency.
I’ve also learned that I can do without 98% of all “news”. 3 months ago, we let go of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. We’ve sold our TV, because it seemed like every time we turned on the streams, we found a sea of sensational, irrelevant, unintelligent and often ultra-violent programming. Even comedy has fallen.
It’s one thing to quit using FB or IG. It’s another thing altogether to exit the digital amalgamate.
What I was unable to see while enmeshed was how these tools formed a false sense of reality, confidence and purpose. I spent years inwardly and outwardly deceived, with a cheering crowd of mutually deceived “friends” – most of whom vanished from our lives when I logged off.
Today I am re-learning how to relate and socially navigate in ways that make us feel more alive, more human, and more truly connected. Getting out of social, entertainment and news media has resulted in me feeling more connected to others than ever.
But, fully weaned from the media machines, the truth of what is taking place, all around us, is screaming. We seem unable to raise our heads in this moment, unable to acknowledge or respond to the overwhelming danger and engineered social change we face.
We’re getting used to the quickening destruction of our livelihoods, access to resources, families, most certainly our communities, and, over the next few seasons, the world’s cash economies. Instead of demanding a truthful public debate, we aggrandize unrealistic fears, stoke up conflicts and fabricate emergencies into suspense-film intensity.
We are, as Erik Larson put it, picking weeds in the Garden of the Beasts. There will be a moment when we realize, just as other nations have too late, that we did this to ourselves.
Today I feel an almost ministerial duty to encourage everyone who can: leave social, news and entertainment media behind and fortify your inner being. It is our inner strength and real communities, not the content stream, that will weather the next chapter.