we’re just a little unwell

Gone are the days of face-to-face interaction, when being social actually meant talking to someone — in person.

I have this love-hate relationship with Facebook. Some of you know what I’m talking about. On the one hand, it allows me to stay in touch with friends I’ve made at various points in my life around the globe. I have friends from grade school, friends from abroad, friends I’ve made blogging. With some of Facebook’s newer features like the “Calendar,” I can discover local events I wouldn’t otherwise know about, including races to participate in and concerts to attend. It’s fun to watch my friends’ kids grow and neat to see what people are up to.

That said, Facebook can also be a terrible thing. It can be a time suck, a comparison trap, an excuse for and detractor from “real” relationships, and an overall waste of life. It’s “On this day” feature sucks at differentiating between good and painful memories, and sometimes it makes me feel plain old. It’s been EIGHT years since such-and-such? I swear that was just yesterday!

I haven’t ever delved into Instagram or Tumblr and haven’t spent much time on Twitter. At some point these platforms just seem like another thing to check, another waste of life. Sadly, I think I’m going to become one of those “out of touch” middle-aged people who’s still blasting Matchbox 20 like they’re cool when it’s actually Drake who’s popular now.

Oh, and of course there’s that whole discussion about how much of our personal information Facebook has — how nothing in our lives is private anymore . . .

Countless studies have been done showing the negative effects of social media on people and society, and yet it’s apparent social media isn’t going away any time soon. I have no idea how I’ll handle social media if I ever have kids. When I was in school, a boy had to call and talk to my DAD in order to get a hold of me after school. These days, I don’t even have a landline!

And so, am I nostalgic for the “olden days”? Maybe a little. My friend Sam posted this music video online the other day. Matchbox 20 released “Unwell” as a single fifteen years ago. Sheesh. The funny thing? The song’s message is just as relatable now as it was back then, if not more so. Some things never change.

These days I try to keep my time on facebook and other social media to a minimum.
What about you? What’s your relationship with social media?


*Images Institute Al Islam and Study Breaks magazine

27 thoughts

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha, amen sister Jess! Hey, I know you’re a little younger than I am. If you want a really insanely unwell trip back through time, check out Queen’s “I’m Going Slightly Mad” on the last album they recorded before Freddie Mercury succumbed to AIDS.

  2. I’ve noticed that Facebook has gotten a lot quieter these days. Just a lot less going on there. But then there is Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and an endless stream of other social media websites. I didn’t get Twitter for a long time, but I find myself going there more than to other sites these days. I don’t know why. But I do know that the benefits of social media – primarily keeping n touch with people is far outweighed by the negatives of social media, which you touch on in your post. Except one. Social media, and the internet in general, has become a tool for scam artists, propagandists, and charlatans of all kinds and we are learning how gullible and undiscerning we humans are.

    • By the way, we certainly seem to be losing the ability to have face-to-face interactions. At least without influence of the ol’ smartphone. I’d like to see a world without the prevalence and dominance of gadgets and technology again. It’s interesting. Without social media I would have never “met” you and been fascinated by your thoughts and experiences and how they relate to my own. It is a part of this whole thing that I find beneficial, but the reality is this. It is far better to have these kinds of “discussions” in person. There is a big piece of the interpersonal dynamic that is missing. It is two dimensions instead of three.

      • Very much agree. Just last night I was driving home from a ride and saw a couple walking along the sidewalk, slowly, both engrossed in their phones, zero acknowledgment of each other’s existence. It’s sad, and this is the new “normal” for this generation. Kids today will never have known anything else… But I also agree that it’s a double-edged sword. Yes, I’ve met a lot of great people through my blog. This was not really possible twenty years ago.

        I have often thought about trying to meet blogging friends for real if ever we’re in the same place. (Once I trust that they’re decent human beings, of course, lol.) Maybe we should meet up sometime when I’m in Sacramento!

      • Words cannot describe how sad it is to me that kids will never know life without a smartphone.

        I also have thought about meeting blogging friends as well. I think there are a core group of 8 or 10 or 12 bloggers who have become a part of what I refer to as my circle. Friends, both in real 3D life and on social media, who are part of a mutual support system. I’d love to find a way to host them at my house for a fun weekend of conversation. Or find a centralized place where we could meet for same. The only problem is that a couple of them are from the other side of an ocean or two. ;) Which is really the truly amazing thing about social media.

      • If there are any bloggers I should know about, please, send me their links! Would love to make more connections. And I know what you mean. I have friends around the world. Wish I could meet them all.

      • Most of the ones I consider a piece of my life are those who also write fiction and are seeking paths to publishing. That may actually be right up your alley with where you’re headed. ;) I’ll send you some links.

    • A valid point regarding the spam artists. The whole privacy thing has been a big conversation recently, as we know. I haven’t followed it closely and don’t mean to discuss it now, but it is something to be aware of. I agree that the benefits of keeping in touch with far-flung friends outweighs the negative points of Facebook; that’s probably the biggest reason I haven’t deleted my account!

  3. I know I keep saying this whenever the topic of facebook/social media comes up — but I don’t miss anything by not having any of that. This works for me, but I’m not overly eager to be in touch with people from most walks of life — there’s probably a reason we don’t keep in touch via more direct means. It’s something you’ll have to examine on your own, of course; but it seems worth the look, if keeping up with it is stressing you out.

    • Hi Matt! I get it. I really do. I think social media is a very personal thing. It be addicting and has its downsides. For me, the upside is that it enables me to keep in touch with my friends in Asia in a very real way. Many of them do not have good enough English to write emails or read my blog posts, but I still care about them and would love to see them again someday. Facebook enables me to keep in touch and make this happen… It has also been a good platform for my blog, incidentally. I have friends on Facebook who don’t blog who read my stuff on my Shift page. It makes the effort I put into my blog posts even more worthwhile.

      Happy photographing and blogging! :)

  4. I remember this song when it first came out and sang along to it when it came on the radio. How time flies. I have been listening to a lot of the songs I grew up with so many years ago and it takes me on a trip down memory lane…and also I feel those songs in such a different way these days, a good way. Also have to agree with you on the social media side of things. At most I have on my phone is the Messenger and Instagram app which I check regularly. Sometimes I check my Twitter app. Youtube, I scroll through it as I’m winding down for the day. As an introvert who isn’t a fan of talking all the time, I find messing over social media helpful to keep in touch at times. That said nothing beats a face-to-face conversation where you can actually experience each other’s emotions together – or pick each other up when we are feeling down. As usual, really like your writing, Jess :)

    • Thanks, Mabel! I use facebook intermittently, as we have discussed. It definitely has its uses — which I may write about here, soon — but I agree with Fraggle that the day-to-day minutia people post is often ridiculous. Also agree that nothing beats face-to-face, though sometimes it’s nice to hide behind a computer! :D

  5. Facebook has it’s uses, there are groups on there for hobbies/charities et al, it allows people to keep in touch with far flung relatives, but the constant ‘this is my life every minute of the day’ posts by people do drive me mad, so I visit sparingly. I do like being on here, it’s much more fun and it’s cool to ‘meet’ people from other parts of the world. Twitter is a harsh place, though sometimes funny, and youtube is brilliant for music videos. I do feel sorry for those that have to validate their lives by posting the minutia of their lives on instagram and facebook, because who really cares anyway? Cool song, Rob Thomas has a great voice.

    • I agree with you fully, Fraggle. Facebook has its uses but overall it’s a lot of overkill. I have scaled way back on how much I use it. I never was one to post a lot, but it was easy for me to get lost in the newsfeed, especially at certain times in my life. I love youtube for music videos, too — have discovered a lot of new artists that way.

      Anyway, it’s already another weekend. Hope yours has started off smashingly!

    • I don’t really use Twitter, either. I have an account that my blog posts are published on, but that’s it! I think people social media preferences are largely individual, and that’s fine! I think you have a really neat blog. You talk about one of my favorite subjects — cycling!

      • I am! More now that spring is here. Finding new routes in my new city of Knoxville. Winter was bitterly cold… Happy riding to us both! 🚴🏻‍♂️

      • Umm…. There’s some great riding in nearby areas, but Knoxville itself is not very bicycle friendly. Many of the roads here are narrow (with no shoulders), and not all of the drivers are keen on cyclists. (I’ve also been chased by a lot of dogs!) If you can get out of town on the more remote country roads, though, it’s quite nice!

      • Oh, and compared to where I lived previously? Previously I was in Sonoma County, California, where cycling has a big reputation. There are rides like Levi’s Gran Fondo and many others held on the coast there. There was a lot of great cycling in Sonoma County. My only gripe was the condition of the roads! Many roads in Sonoma County needed to be repaved. Knoxville actually has better riding conditions that way.

    • Fully agree re: Matchbox 20 and Rob Thomas. I had to look up Drake. 😂 Haven’t kept up with the current music scene too much. I’m going to be one of those uncool middle-aged people who don’t have a clue what’s going on!

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