Wifey and I just finished watching a short four-episode Netflix series called "Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel." It's a documentary produced by Ron Howard about a woman killed in a creepy hotel in downtown Los Angeles.
The coincidences and stories regarding the hotel and the victim are crazy. The craziness feeds into a fever among the amateur internet sleuths worldwide. That part is just a side note to the mystery, but I found it very illuminating of the internet and social media in general and the lack of perspective among many who use it. That lack of perspective and knowledge led all the sleuths and their followers on a frenzy and to the wrong conclusion.
It basically ruined this one man's life as they blamed him for the woman's murder. The guy, named Morbid, was an odd duck to begin with, lead singer in a death metal band, but it drove him to suicide, which he survived, but his life is a mess.
It's not an original notion of mine to say social media has gotten out of hand. But I'm not going to be consumed by it.
About a month ago, my phone pooped out on me and I had to get a new one. I didn't load the Facebook app on the new one, thus I rarely use FB anymore. It was annoying me anyway, had gotten a little tiresome, same old stuff all the time. I found myself muting or unfriending more and more people. I'm pretty much just on Twitter now and mostly limited to baseball and boxing athletes and news.
One thing I really noticed on Facebook in a couple groups I've lurked on is how uninformed they are. I remember reading a story once about a guy reading a newspaper. This person used to read every story as if it were 100 percent true. Then he read an article about a subject he was an expert on and found several inaccuracies, and it finally dawned on him that maybe many of those other stories perhaps were inaccurate too. Take that times a million on the internet.
It's one thing to have different opinions, but the one group in particular I was watching was embarrassing. They didn't have a ninth-grader's knowledge of the stuff they were talking about. Yet people fed off the misinformation, added to it, repeated it, often with several exclamation points to prove their point. I fear social media has jumped the shark, so to speak, and is more of a detriment to society than an asset. Again, not an original thought.
I haven't decided if social media brings out a part of people that never existed before or if it always existed and this is just an avenue now for their venom to be released. Before it had been kept inside and now it's getting out, or if it's a mob-mentality thing, a place they feel no consequences for their actions so they let it rip. I'm sure there are countless psychiatrist studying this.
I've just become very disillusioned by it. I suppose it's ironic or hypocritical that I'm using a form of social media, blogging, to complain about social media, but so be it. As far as Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, I'm ratcheting down, if not phasing out. In my circle of best friends, only one or two are on FB or Twitter anyway. We text a lot or, more amazingly, actually call each other and have conversations.
I'll still use Facebook to sell books and post some pictures of my dogs, but that's about it. (Here's a little secret: When I post a link to my blog on Facebook, my blog gets more hits, and I sell more books. There's a direct correlation. It's kind of disheartening actually.)
Here's just a small example of my social media disillusionment. A while back I wrote about the joy of having a short personal Twitter conversation with one of my favorite authors, Lawrence Block. I've followed him for some time now. His politics are different than mine but he wasn't obnoxious about it so no big deal. Until today.
Rush Limbaugh died. He was another case of somebody I listened to a lot in my 20s but that gradually reduced as his shtick wore thin and I also recognized he was just plain wrong on some of the facts he talked about. To the point where I haven't listened to him but for bits and pieces the last 15 years.
So, Block retweeted a news story on Limbaugh's death with the comment "Good."
Really? A guy I respect and admired said that. I unfollowed him. I just don't need that kind of stuff. There are a lot of people I don't like who have died and I never felt good about it, with maybe the exception of Osama Bin Laden. Even when Jeffrey Epstein died, I didn't shed any tears, but was mostly mad that he took the easy way out. I wasn't glad he died. And certainly wouldn't take to social media to celebrate someone's death.
Maybe my disillusionment isn't so much with social media as it is with people in general. They've lost their manners, which is considered old-fashioned I guess. We've gotten to the point where profanity is a litmus test for manhood. "Locker room talk" is in vogue now. Keyboard warriors attacking people are supposedly tough. Just wait until that carries over into their daily life, which has begun, and a punch in the nose will cure them of that. But even those days are mostly gone as they're more likely to get shot instead.
It's a downhill slide we're on and I don't know how it'll stop. For me, it starts by lessening my social media use lest I get sucked down with it. I've vowed to myself not to let that happen. Maybe we can start a movement.
Hey, I know! Let's start a Facebook group and discuss it!