Leaving Social Media Behind

Oh, 2020, What Have You Done?

2020 was, if nothing else…interesting, and it will be memorable.  It turned our country – heck, the world – on its head with the Coronavirus outbreak and the race to one of the most momentous presidential elections in U.S. history.  The other thing 2020 will be remembered for is a culmination of division.  The division of our society, to the right and to the left.  Vitriol and animosity were alive and well in 2020.  This scary phenomenon reached a fever pitch the closer we got to November.  And it didn’t let up after the election, as accusations of cheating and fraud flew.  Since our newly elected president didn’t take office until a little over a week ago, that left plenty of time to amp up and shoot more political arrows to and fro across Facebook and Twitter

Is It A Boycott, Or An Act Of Self-Help?

I tried my level best to keep up with friends and family, primarily on Facebook.  I have friends on both sides of the political aisle, and for the most part, can dialogue and even engage in a spirited back-and-forth with those opposite of me and come out at the end laughing, okay with each other.  I’m no angel, and I’ve had my moments where I’ve lashed out at someone I felt was being unreasonable.  But generally we each make some minor concessions, ultimately agree to disagree, and both make concerted efforts to reach common ground.  That’s ultimately what’s missing on social media.  It’s a lost art, having a conversation between two people of opposite belief systems, but remaining good friends.  Even though we may disagree on major points, we make an effort at relationship, and even learn a little bit from each other.

With the recent cancellations of accounts on both Facebook and Twitter, an outrage has gone out across the land, and even liberal leaders from other countries have spoken out against Big Tech’s apparent censorship.  It’s been dubbed as “totalitarian” and “straight out of 1984.”  Whether you agree with those charges or not, it is unprecedented for such a large, public forum to have certain people – voices – outright cancelled.  I know, they’re private companies and they can allow who they want.  But at what point does it become discrimination?  If I own a business and choose to not serve certain people simply because I disagree with their socio-political views, I will most likely have a complaint and a charge of discrimination filed against me.  Bear in mind, people on both sides of the aisle are being suspended and cancelled off of Twitter and Facebook.

It’s Not A New Idea

With all of that being said, there are other reasons besides “boycotting Facebook” to get off of social media.  I did it about six years ago for personal reasons. For one, it was sucking me in nearly every spare minute I had.  I stayed off – and really didn’t miss it – until 2018, when I ran into my best friend from high school at my mom’s funeral.  We hadn’t seen each other or talked in years, mostly due to distance apart.  So, I got back on Facebook with the intention of ONLY friending and communicating with close, personal friends and family.  It worked pretty well, for about a year.  Then the invariable sucking-in started happening again.

Most people agree that social media, whether you’re a fan or not, is a huge time waster.  It causes you to multi-task, which experts have determined is not an optimal state to work in.  Abby Schubert says in a recent post, “…the American Psychological Association estimates that trying to juggle multiple tasks at once—such as clicking back and forth between Facebook and an important project—may reduce your productive time by as much as 40 percent.”

Don’t Let It Get You Down

Beyond that, social media can affect your self esteem and create anxiety.  When we get caught up in so many other people’s daily doings, we can end up measuring our own life and lifestyle against that of others – keeping up with the Joneses, internet-style.  Closely related to that is the nagging desire to always want to know what’s going on, what other people are saying.  The blogger Cubert sums it up well in one of his recent posts: “…it’s much too easy to fall into the trap of lifestyle comparison…(and) There’s the phenomenon of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) that is causing social anxiety among many Facebook addicts.”

Get Up Offa That Thing

Try it, you’ll like it.  Consider it a challenge – see if you can go one week Facebook-free.  Then shut off Twitter, and go another week.  Then Instagram, or whatever else you have.  The peace of mind you’ll have will be priceless.  Not to mention, if you have any kind of side things going on – hobbies, weekend work, charitable or volunteer activities – you’ll be so much freer to do those things.  Go out and live life.  Pardon the notion, but having your nose stuck in a phone or laptop screen scrolling Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is not living life.  Go out and spend that time doing something worthwhile.  Take your sweetheart on a date, play with your kids – in my case, talk to them, since 20-somethings aren’t really in a “play with dad” mode anymore.  Unclog that slow drain in the bathroom.  Do something constructive.  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.  I’m going on a week Facebook-free, and I don’t miss it at all.  I’ve got more time to write…and unclog those stubborn bathroom drains.

What’s In A Blog, Anyway?

This is my first official blog post, so…

“Please excuse the crudity of this model.”

Sunday, January 24th, 2021

Bill Klubeck

Personal

Introduction (a little bit about me)

I have wanted, needed to get into this amazing world of freelance writing and online blogging. I’ve been working and dreaming of this off and on for years now. I’ve loved writing since I was young – I attended a Young Author’s workshop in sixth grade. But as many childhood dreams go, I tried – and failed – to make a go of it. In high school, I snagged a spot on the school newspaper by getting into the Publications class a year early…they generally accepted sophomores and above, but with some clout from my big brother, the teacher let me join as a freshman.

Problem was, I didn’t know what to write about. Oh, I had a great grasp of the English language, people teased me about my extensive vocabulary. But the creative juices just weren’t flowing yet. My brother was the creative one, I was more technically minded…although I didn’t know that just yet. I bombed the Publications class, set that dream aside and took up other side-track pursuits until I ended up in college for engineering. And so I’ve worked in an 8 to 5 quality engineering role for the last 20 years. A few years ago, beset by stress from my position at a former company, I rediscovered my love for writing. I didn’t jump in right away. Years as an engineer, especially in the quality field, taught me the importance of preparedness and doing it right the first time. I didn’t want to jump in chock full of passion and excitement, but empty on the knowhow. That’s a sure way to bomb out, and if you’re not prepared for rejection and failure, my dream could’ve very well died a second time, for good.

Ready, Set…

So I prepared. I studied copywriting, and have a couple examples of that work on the front page of this site. I even went out and hunted for some freelance gigs, pitched my craft to several local companies. Didn’t get a bite, but that’s part of the deal, I know. And I wrote. I’ve written a couple of articles that I published on LinkedIn (they’re also on this site). I started keeping a Word file journal at the beginning of 2010. I kept entries fairly steadily for about two years, some rough life stuff came up, and I set it aside for several years trying to get everything back on track. I started up again in late 2018, and it’s only increased since. My journaling, up until a few months ago, was nearly daily and between 200 and 300 words per entry. I’ve been writing daily since mid-December, hitting a 700 word average.

Go!

So now it’s time. I know it is. I’ve felt something inside that keeps stirring, not the typical come-and-go fits of inspiration that can fall off as suddenly as they hit, leaving you with days, even weeks of writer’s block and no ambition. I try not to ruminate, play the “what if” game. Sure, I wish I’d done this ten, fifteen years ago. But I didn’t. I was busy working and supporting my family, raising five kids. I am not going to waste time and energy regretting the past, only looking forward.

I’m already doing pretty good. I’ve got a lot done in the last month. I’ve had the WordPress site, but now I’m making it more legitimate with my own domain name (and blog posts). I got the final project of my copywriting completed, submitted and reviewed. Now I’m ready to take the certification exam for that. And reading, learning. Never stop learning.

That’s all I’ve got. I’ll be getting more content posted soon. Finding my niche, settling in. Peace.