Lynne Cope Hummell

I think it’s time for me to get off social media.

I need to cut the Facebook cord.

At the very least, I should stop joining groups. I should stop checking in almost daily, only to find someone else is griping about something else.

Several years ago, a young person to whom I am very close suggested that social media is ruining our country. Actually, it wasn’t just a suggestion; it was – and still is – a firm belief. He said social media has done more to divide society than to bring us together. We don’t talk anymore – we post. We don’t call – we private message.

We aren’t as social as we used to be.

Social media has given us a fair amount of insulation (and isolation) from difficult or curious situations. We can stalk all we want, but we don’t have to participate. We can read and watch and learn what our friends and our “friends” are doing and saying, but we don’t have to respond. That’s kind of creepy, isn’t it?

Instagram isn’t quite so grungy – at least not for the few people and entities I follow. There, I tend to watch quick video clips of cool cars, live local music, a baby feeding ducks, and dogs frolicking at the park.

I ditched Twitter months ago because I was constantly seeing crazy, outlandish junk I didn’t need to read. Who needs to read the petty bickering and name-calling coming from all angles at all times of the day and night? I had to silence that chirpy little Twitter bird.

Part of the reason I remain connected to social media, I keep telling myself, is so that I can remain connected to the community. Does that make sense? Why can’t I just continue to go to community and business events, visit coffee shops and restaurants, participate in fundraisers, support the arts, support nonprofits, support local businesses?

Well, I do, as I have been doing for a long time. I was connected to the community long before Facebook was born. Most of us were.

Being present in person is a lot more engaging, healthful, interesting and pleasant than spending time scrolling through group posts complaining about this, that and the other.

Most social media does nothing but raise my blood pressure.

The exception is when I read something uplifting, encouraging and kind. But I’m beginning to see that doesn’t happen often enough to warrant my continued participation.

It’s true that some of those Facebook group pages offer great fodder for news stories, feature articles and event news of interest to readers of our papers. Those pages also can join us together in time of crisis or loss, help raise donations for a family in need, find donated furniture for a couple who just lost theirs in a fire.

But with that community comes the outsiders who continue to snark and gripe.

Even those who try to be helpful end up being annoying. Most recently, there has been a profusion of shared “missing person” posts on Facebook. Of course, I want to know more, and help, and I click to read where, when, etc.

In nearly every case over the past month, the person had been found days before the post was shared, which means the person who shared it didn’t bother to read it first! Furthermore, the landing site is a click-bait site, full of ads popping up in my face and planting cookies on my computer.

So yes, I think I might be done.

Alexander Graham Bell had a marvelous idea when he invented the telephone. We’ve come a long way, baby, but somewhere along that path, we have forgotten the brilliance of talking to one another.