One week from today, Gerry and I are traveling to the Edmonton, Alberta area to get a Yorkie puppy (this is a photo taken a couple of days ago with mama with her four babies). It’s been a difficult few months, starting with losing our tiny special needs Yorkie, Murphy, in late December and saying goodbye to 15-year-old Maya in June. We miss having a dog in the house and are looking forward to the excitement and activity a puppy will bring.
These days, in addition to thinking about bringing the new baby into our home, I’m pondering the world of social media and how it has changed us. Remember the world before Facebook? It’s been approximately 17 years since the platform become available to the general public. It was fun, at first, to connect with friends and family, wasn’t it? But we took a turn somewhere along the way and the social experiment showed us things about ourselves that weren’t especially healthy. Most importantly (and this is just my opinion), it proved that we weren’t built to handle the world it opened up to us.
Over the years, we became mean and lost the ability to disagree respectfully. My old-school parents impressed upon me that our political and religious beliefs were private. I’m not saying that all that “what happens in our house stays in our house” attitude was altogether healthy. Indeed, shining lights in areas where darkness lurks can bring about healing and change. But social media has reinforced, for me, that it’s far too easy to fall into tribes that don’t hesitate to shoot poison arrows at those with viewpoints that differ from our own. Thoughtful discourse is one thing; out-and-out abuse from keyboard warriors is another animal altogether.
We have grown addicted to checking notifications and endless scrolling. We over-share, vague-book to get attention, follow and unfollow, block and unblock, like and unlike, and our definition of “friends” has changed to include people we had never met in person. Don’t get me wrong, not all of this was or is negative.
I love having the ability to connect and reconnect with friends and family and keep up with what’s going on in their lives. I’m connect with people I genuinely consider friends though we’ve never met in person. As a sometimes long-distance grandma, I’ve appreciated status updates about day-to-day things going on in the lives of my children and grandchildren. I like the community of writers and others I’m part of. I’ve learned things I otherwise would have missed, and appreciated the ability to be in community when we were all sent home in 2020.
I’m speaking mostly about Facebook. I joined Instagram when I was taking photography classes and found a whole community of people taking beautiful photos and learned much from them, but I engage far less there. I dipped my toe in Twitter a long time ago because that’s what writers were doing, but it wasn’t for me.
These days, social media is full of advertisements and algorithms try to control who I connect most often with. Here in Canada, we’re prevented from seeing things classified as “news” (I’m not going to get into the reason why or whose fault it is—you can look that up for yourself and draw your own conclusions). Funny thing. That algorithm is faulty (surprise!)—the other day I was prevented from posting about laundry strips. I’m growing weary of it.
Back in “the day” before social media changed the face of being online, there was a community of bloggers who weren’t trying to sell anyone anything. They weren’t “brand ambassadors” or “influencers”, they were just people tapping out words about their day-to-day life and making connections. I miss those days.
Back then, we had blog rolls showing which blogs we followed. We found other blogs that interested us by checking out one another’s blog rolls. It was, in a sense, a precursor to social media, I suppose, but it was kinder. Gentler. Deeper. Ordinary.
When social media came on the scene, many bloggers began a mass exodus. Facebook was quicker, easier and feedback was instant. Oh, there are still a few of us here, tapping out blog posts and remaining connections. A good number of us are also connected on social media now too.
Why am I telling you all this that you probably already know? Mostly because I’m irritated by some things I see happening on social media and am concerned with where it’s leading us. I like to hop on blogs written by people I know—whether in real life or through blogging or other connections—and read about what’s happening in their corner of the world. I’m tired of politics and infighting and out-and-out nonsense.
I’m also a hypocrite, because I’m not intending to walk away completely. Not yet, anyway. (Though I’ll probably shut down my Instagram fairly soon.) With a nod to the way things used to be, and the way I wish they still were, in the blog world, I’m going to start a blog roll page with blogs I follow and read regularly. I’m starting from scratch. There’s a ton of links to blogs in my Feedly reader—many of which I rarely visit anymore. I’m only going to post ones I visit regularly in this space and I’m also going to be intentional about visiting them more than scrolling through my Facebook feed.
Now, what in the world does any of this have to do with puppies?
Absolutely nothing! What a crazy, convoluted blog post this is turning out to be.
That’s blogging for you. You never know what you’re going to get. (With a nod to Forrest Gump.)
I’m still here, returning, in a sense, to blogging the way it used to be for me. Simple. Ordinary. And with no sales pitches. And I’m starting a blog roll of interesting blogging spaces where you might find something you like too. (If yours isn’t there yet, please be patient as I’m rebuilding it.)
That’s it. That’s all.