Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Global Burden: Why I'm Signing Off, in a Way


I occasionally write about things digital, "electronic", and "social" media. When I was a child, a youth, and into my very young adulthood, I had few interactions with things electronic and digital. Of course, I can and will gladly count our stereo (with a dial tuner and VU meter), television, my brother's video game system, and my precious Walkman.

I did not use a computer until I was 18 years old. I used typewriters to write high school papers. Excepting a typing class in middle school, in which we also played computer games, I had nearly twenty computer-free years.

Hardly a day goes by now that I don't use a computer. As best I can, I avoid using a computer excessively in front of my child. I started a Facebook account for our business, and I use my personal account to post about my blog and describe infrequent achievements of note or of little note. I check in on friends, and along with anywhere between 3 and 138 or more other friends, I 'like' my friends' frequent or infrequent achievements of note or of little note.

Of late, I've had the feeling of being stabbed electronically. Blessed with friends, electronic and real, who believe strongly in social and environmental justice, and possibly the sense that social media can profoundly change the world, my social media ticker tape feeds me deeply disturbing news.

A blip in geological time, I spent the last five hours reeling from a particularly upsetting news item. A trip to a succession of box stores, a long hug from my husband, building blocks with my son, and kitten play time did not lift the veil. Only a few sips of a flower essence laced glass of water stilled me.

Social media can and has changed the world, as well as individual lives for better and worse. Electronic intrusions and interruptions are constant. For me, there's a push and pull. Did anyone 'like' my blog writing? What about my latest post about my business? And, then the phone rings and I'm startled. Silence that pesky thing. Back to the computer. Any emails from someone other than L.L. Bean's marketing department? Alas, one 'like', a junk text message, and 10% off on glum windbreakers.  

Then, from across the world a wrenching image and accompanying a dire news item comes. my experience likely differs from those with televisions and newspapers. I don't have either, and so news media grips me. While I listen to the radio and am moved by some of the stories I hear, somehow a visual image sinks the electronic knife deeper.

Global local news is infrequently good news. It is unsettlingly awful and monstrous. It affects me personally and global politics affect me in ways I can hardly understand.

Tiny me is a small player on the global stage with my shopping cart full of organic items. Really? It often seems the weather (and I mean weather, not climate) affects me more than even 'local' news. Hearing about global social injustice via the internet has taken my head away at times, and I think I'm going to sit on my couch with my husband, son, and kitten for a little while and just be. Trust me, it will be just a little while because none of us sit still for long.

So, my dear family and friends, you'll see me on social media, but I'm not receiving anyone else's ticker tape for now. You will have one less 'like'. Be assured, I still do like you. I like you and pictures of you, your children, your activities, and your frequent and infrequent achievements of note and of little note. I do. I've been charmed and inspired, cheered and honored.

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