Are you into (anti) social media?

Remember before the Internet, when you used to get gossip at the water cooler and the beauty shop, and you had to buy porn (you called it porno) at a “bookstore” that had its windows painted black?

Charles Barkley wants no part of social media

Back when you cussed people out face to face, and had to go to the library to get questions answered, such as which states are found at the Four Corners? (Answer below)

Now? Gossip has its own websites, porn is plentiful and free, keyboard warriors issue violent threats from behind screen names, and all the world’s knowledge is at your fingertips. Like common sense, it is available but seldom used.

At some future date, I will deconstruct Twitter, but today I want to look at what I call (anti) social media, too often toxic and dehumanizing. Because of my career as a journalist, having an online “presence” was kind of necessary, and I retain it today, kind of like a bad habit. I enjoyed smoking (past tense) more than I do Facebook, the Great Time Sponge.

Posting on Facebook guarantees I will get plenty of feedback, both bouquets and bricks, but unlike my experience on, most of the commentators use real names. I have long thought that allowing anonymous comments was a mistake and fought with the higher-ups at the newspaper all the time about this.

Their argument: It opens the door to free expression.

My argument: You allow anonymous posters to slander your staff and spread misinformation under the cloak of undeserved anonymity. Almost 250 years ago, a group of white men signed the Declaration of Independence, which was their own death warrant should the War of Independence have failed. None used a screen name. 

Just last week, Twitter, President Donald J. Trump’s favorite means of communication, bit him in the ass when he retweeted a comment in which a MAGA guy in a golf cart replied “white power” to a heckler. Context doesn’t matter and Trump was forced to delete the tweet, and not for the first time. An earlier tweet had something that looked like a Star of David in a questionable setting.

There are people who have nothing better to do than go back over years of posts by prominent people — politicians, athletes, entertainers — looking for off-color remarks or slurs. Lots of people have been embarrassed. The point is social media can get you in trouble, can make you sick. You should think about avoiding it.

Charles Barkley does.

The former Sixer great, future Hall of Famer and current broadcaster, talked about why he steers away from it on Michael Smerconish’s CNN show a couple of Saturdays ago.

“You can’t make everybody happy. No matter what you say, there’s some people out there who are angry, evil, mean, they’re never going to listen,” Barkley said.

“That’s one of the reasons I never never use social media. Everybody tries to play God, judge and jury. I’m never going to use social media for that aspect. Because it doesn’t matter what you say, some people they just, they got bad lives, so they’re always going to be negative.”

In a nutshell, that’s it — some people have bad lives and they use social media to settle scores. It’s like therapy for them, and a psychological kick in the gut for you.

Obscenity-filled arguments, called flaming, can go on for days, if not more. And no one has ever won an argument. Usually, all you “win” is the knowledge that most Americans can’t read, spell, or think.

The more time people spend on social media, the fewer healthy relationships they have in the real world, generally speaking. It can connect you with the world, but the world has cesspools as well as fountains.

The trip on the Internet can be hazardous to your mental health.

And the Four Corner states are Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico.

12 thoughts on “Are you into (anti) social media?”

  1. What Sir Charles says is 100% I’ve wasted a good portion of my life arguing with people who outside of social media might be very nice. I do social media very seldom anymore. Politics and Facebook don’t mix. I log on to wish my friend Happy Birthday or to see what is going on in my local safer streets group. I’ve given up trying to influence people who have their mind made up, even though they’re dead wrong. I see where my friend went on vacation or what quarantine meals they cooked up. If they think Covid’s a hoax I don’t need to educate them. I just do my thing. It took me 10 years of fighting with strangers on Facebook to learn that they’re strangers. I made a pledge to myself not to engage them. Most of them blocked me by now anyway.

  2. Another great social media rant, err, observation, Stu. LoL. Really, you hit the nail smack on the head. Personally, I came very late into the Facebook game (just last year), kicking and screaming, and ONLY because certain of the old railroad groups I belong to can now only be found there – and they are very well policed, thank God. And I maintain but 2 other “friends” who are part and parcel to these groups. You noted FB being a great time waster. Now there’s an understatement if I ever heard one. It’s absolutely terrible in that regard. I try not to let it get away from me.

    But your main point regarding the (effectively) nameless/faceless posters – I’m sorry, ranters/flamers – is a point well taken, and noticed by many observers over the last many years of (not-so-social) social media. As far as I’m concerned, if you have the balls to post a rant, etc., have the balls to stand up behind it with your real identity. This is way beyond social or common decency. Again, thanks for this great observation.

    Once again Stu, you hit it out of the park ! ( sic.can I say that without upsetting someone? )
    I don’t tweet of use FB. I will check up on Stu on occasion, and of course, our President. Two polar opposites. When you Stu uses social media, he may have a disagreement, but that’s it. I believe that when he was with PDN, the comments started out sensible enough, but then they took a HARD LEFT, and were all over the place. Naturally, when Trump breathes, he gets reactions !
    I don’t play. I don’t like the game.

  4. Interesting Stu. My son warned me, thank you, son. I’ve read some of the comments, if you call them that. Angry, confused souls! Foul mouth! Juvenile behavior! Basement dwellers, like Joe Biden, perhaps?
    No matter, Trump has been highly effective tweeting! I’ll bet his tweet mistakes pale (can I say that?) in comparison to Joe’s obvious mental gaffes. I said before he has dimentia. And it’s disgraceful how the dem’s have used him. Disgusting!!
    Thanks for a great topic.

  5. The danger of Facebook and other social media sites is not what YOU say about yourself but what others say about you. Let a few bad people onto your site and pretty soon your entire sordid past is on the internet.

    Here is an imaginary Tweet sent to Abe Lincoln: “I read your upcoming speech, Abe. I think you should ditch the whole ‘four score and seven years’ thingy and just say ’87.’ After all, you’ll be talking to soldiers and you know how stupid they are.”

  6. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Your right.

    As for myself, I once tried FB, found it a waste of time and quickly quit.

    I knew better than to even read twitter: sound bite left-overs for the most part.

    Even the supposedly “research” oriented academic networks are full of PC and other forms of political-corporatist crowd mongering –chiefly functioning to bring in corporate funding/advertising $?

    It is a fundamental defect of “social media” that the owners and operators of these systems, who chiefly benefit, are not held responsible for the content. What’s the saying? If its “free” on the internet, then you are not the customer, you are the product on sale.
    That’s the sacrifice of keeping your finger in the internet flow.

    H.G. Callaway

  7. Haters, baiters, flamers and trolls have been around since the FCC dropped the license requirement to operate a CB radio.

    1. That’s a big 1-4, Good Buddy! Say, what’s your “20”? This here’s The Duck. See if you remember where that came from Mark LoL.

  8. BTW, just saw this in the news today:

    “Facebook has long been criticized for not doing enough to combat hate speech. Now the outrage against the world’s largest social network is growing into a movement that threatens its bottom line. The social network makes nearly all of its money from ads, raking in more than $70 billion in revenue last year. ”

    About time maybe? Will they be successful? That’s a lot of $$ to overcome.

  9. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Mark,

    Are we to believe that gigantic corporations couldn’t possibly have interests contrary to those of the public? But isn’t that exactly why we have antitrust laws and regulatory agencies?

    BTW: the first antitrust law, the Sherman antitrust act, was past into law in 1890, under a Republican administration (Benjamin Harrison), which party –as it happened– was at the time generally aligned with big business interests. The law was aimed at Rockefeller and Standard Oil in particular and the big trusts in general. Afterwards the Democrats (Grover Cleveland) and Republicans (McKinley) sat on their hands for the next decade. The law was put into action only when Teddy Roosevelt came into office in 1901–and later continued under Taft and Wilson. Plausibly, it is trust-buster TR we see on Mt. Rushmore.

    H.G. Callaway

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