Sunday, April 10, 2016

Facebook and opinions

I have deactivated my Facebook account.

Mind you, I like Facebook. I live halfway across the country from my family and many of my friends. I'm not good at staying communicative, but it is a good way to see they're ok and wishing them a happy birthday, share pictures of Conan and see their pictures.

I also love what most people think they don't like. It shows me news from the sites I like about the news I'm most likely to be interested in.

That sounds like me favoring my echo chamber, but honestly, I'm mostly tired of hearing about politics at all. I think our system for electing our government in this country is close to broken. I think it has been for a while, but this election is certainly putting a fine point on much of it. I'm good with participating, but the constant jabber over it does cause me a lot of unnecessary stress.

Oddly, I took a break from writing this to find this, Have an Opinion About Bernie Sanders? Or Hillary Clinton? Or Donald Trump? Just Shut Up. by Neal Pollack. So, I'm not the only one there. I'm not endorsing everything said there per se, but it's good to see someone else on the same page.

But, when it's not so much the politics I needed to get away from. Occasional but aggressive hiding of certain sites and pages and the politics drops down to tolerable levels. The key is not leaving it to just the ones you disagree with generally, but hide the fuck out of all of them. They will grow back, one way or the other, but like weeds, it'll be most effective if you do the job right.

Opinions, though, are the fuel on which Facebook runs.

Sometimes it's only the implied opinion of posting a movie trailer without comment.

If it's not taken as an implied opinion, it's still an invitation for the opinions from others.

And, oh, how they flow!

When you're in market for opinions, it can be a glory. Suggestions and interactions galore. There's a younger me that was hungry for that kind of opinion overload.

Now, it's largely just overwhelming for me, especially when I'm trying to move into creative mode. It's a lot of weight on my brain, sorting through all of the positives and negatives and comparing them to my own thoughts. I think when creating, one of the hardest things a creative person struggles with, at least this creative person, is that self-censoring voice that says "Don't do that, it's too much." All of those opinions are just food for that voice. I need to find ways to stop feeding it for a while.

It's helping. There's a lot going on right now, so there's still plenty holding me back, but I expect to drop those off my plate one at a time and then I can slowly start re-introducing some as I get into the flow.


Marilyn said...

Neil - I left Facebook on June 20, 2015 and have had much more peace of mind ever since. I am on Twitter, but it's so easy to engage and disengage on that, and with the 140-character limit, there's not much people can say to hurt you. I do miss very much the engagement of commenters on my blog, and Facebook is responsible for that, so I guess I also have a grudge against the platform for that. Maybe we can start a movement to get people back to the creative commentary on blogs.

Neil Sarver said...

I remember. And I promise you're missed, at least by me, but I certainly do understand the impulse, now more than ever.

I have been on Twitter a bit and you're right, it is easier to engage and disengage. I find myself thumbing through it when I have some time to fuss about and get much of the same news and amusement without feeling any compulsion to continue it or log on to it when there's no reason to.

I like the idea of comments returning to blogs. I sometimes miss that, although others, I admit, I'm happy to have some of my thoughts just sit there on their own. In the end, I would join you in bringing that back. I think that period when blogs were growing and becoming a thing was the most fulfilled I've felt on the Internet.

Marilyn said...

Thanks for missing me. I do invite you over to Ferdy on Films whenever the spirit moves to have a gab, though the films I'm writing about at the moment are festival films and not probably going to generate much conversation. But I do want to get back to older films, more analysis, and Rod always has a lot of that going on. I'll try to be a more regular visitor here, too.

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