How to Exist Together on Social Media?

The jury’s still out for me

Jonas Ellison



After all of these years on social media, I’m trying to figure out how to… Exist there.

I wrote an essay a couple of weeks ago about why I slapped an “auto-responder” of sorts on my Facebook wall and walked away.

I haven’t deleted my account yet. I haven’t even deleted the app from my phone. So much of life is tied into that little blue app. Plus, I like to check notifications to make sure I don’t miss anything life-threatening or urgent (haven’t so far).

People seem to show up as their worst selves on Facebook (some people say this about Twitter, but Twitter terrifies me, so I only peruse it on occasion; anyhow, what I say here might be true about Twitter as well). Most Facebook comments aren’t things that someone would say to someone else. It’s like trying to talk to one person while in the middle of a room full of people who you’re trying to impress standing on a table and talking through a bullhorn. Comments always seem to have a hint of (or are fully driven by) performative public peacocking (or, as I call it, PPP).

I kinda can’t stand it. And it’s not only the behavior of others. I can’t stand MYSELF on Facebook.

But since I’ve been away, I have to say, I miss these people (or, at least, a number of them). I miss hearting their exciting announcements. I miss seeing photos of their kids, nieces, and nephews. I miss the funny commentary.

I don’t, however, miss the punditry. Ugh, the punditry. Do people think that we don’t get news elsewhere? I’m guilty of this too. Whenever a lizard brain-pinging headline pops up in my newsfeed, the first thing I want to do is slap it on Facebook so that I can absolve myself from any judgment.

Anyhow, I’m asking myself right now…

What’s the best way to ‘exist’ on social media?

Here’s a “rule” or two that are forming, though they might be hard to actually live by…

Only share ‘gifts’ on social media. Things of beauty, insight, and humor. Good stories. Funny jokes. Things that uplift people.

I say that most “beefs” are best resolved through direct message. Or a drafted letter sent by email or post.



Jonas Ellison

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