I’ve recently been making some changes around here, for the first time in a long, long time. Among the many changes was the following ‘graph, which I cut out of my “About Me” page:
I don’t social network much anymore; haven’t for some years. I know, I know — everybody and their grandma does it; you can’t fight city hall (which is now on Facebook). Whatever. Facebook, et al, cheapens the social discourse with the mundane at best and the inane at worst.
Gee, someone should write that down.
I still don’t particularly like Facebook and all of its various incarnations and wanna-bes, etc. I still don’t know anyone who admits to actually liking Facebook, either — at least to my face, anyway. Anyone who will say “Yeah, I like Facebook and I hangout on it everyday for several hours a day.” But I’m sure they must be out there, and their numbers are legion.
Of course I should append my statement to read “anyone in the Western world.” I know plenty of people — nice ordinary people — in Thailand and Viet Nam, for example, who use Facebook and Whatsapp and whatnot all the time and do so happily; they don’t understand my reticence at all.
There’s a broader statement in there about East and West and their differences that I’ve remarked on before, but I digress.
The fact is most everyone, East or West, uses Facebook all the time, for ill or good — except me. I left it in 2011 and haven’t looked back. I think it was June, but I can’t be sure. But yeah, 2011. That was five years ago, so one reason I’m removing it is that I’ve made my point; it’s time to move on.
But there is a larger reason: I’m just not angry anymore. Looking back through the years on here, I realize that I was angry much of the time, and that was what drove much of my writing. Of course I was angry about lots of things — politics, for example was a big one, and emblematic of what’s changed about me; I find it’s difficult, if not impossible, to get worked up about the upcoming presidential election.
I just don’t care about it. Not faulting anyone who does; more power too you. But me? Don’t care. About any of it.
What’s more is, I don’t care about a lot of things that I used to care about, including a lot things I used to get angry about. It all changed when I had that stroke two-and-a-half years ago. It all sounds horribly cliché, I know. Forty-five, living abroad, seeking some meaning in life, has a life-changing event: he literally stares death in the face, descends into the belly of the beast and comes out on the other side a changed man, yadda yadda yadda.
Yuck. Double yuck. Yuck cubed. Yuck times infinity plus one.
Nevertheless, that’s what happened. I would just say I was getting older, and hence mellower, and that is certainly true at least — that I’m getting older. But I was still angry in 2013. Now, in 2016, most of those things I used to care about — politics, sports, popular culture — meh, as the kids say. Do they still? Probably not. Oh well.
But speaking of pop culture, that brings us back to Facebook. I used to get annoyed at Facebook pretty much all the time and angry much of the time. Now? If someone needs to ask me for my Facebook, as the modern vernacular goes, I’ll tell them I don’t have one; it they ask why, I’ll tell them that, too. if they want. If they don’t, that’s fine too. Either way — I don’t care.