Listen, my relationship with social media has been a wild ride from the moment it began to the present quandary of how to schedule the much-needed short breaks.
Before coronavirus became the beast of our existence, I was doing quite well with the disciplined regimen of compulsory time off from the seductive mechanisms of Twitter and Instagram.
My first taste of an hourlong hiatus felt seductively empowering, and it wasn’t hard to extend that thrill for the rest of the day.
It’s basic common sense to want more of what feels good, and there’s nothing like being able to restore original settings after endless robotic online engagement that does way more damage than we realize.
One of the items on my to-do list for 2020 was to drastically reduce time spent with meaningless interactions on platforms that are designed to heighten emotions for viral dramatics, that almost always ends in disaster, just in time for the next season of chaos to proceed.
Even as a bonafide “nobody” with a meager number of followers on applicable logins, I’ve experienced the highs and lows of maintaining active accounts in my decade-long experience as a disciple of the ongoing social experiment.
“Experiment” because none of us could’ve predicted how easily we would confirm what sinister creators were banking on when they devised the massive landscape of hyper-functionality, that would present the temptation for normalized dysfunction at a high price.
And those discoveries are still manifesting as we observe the growing clusters of likeminded engagers who are out for blood when it comes to attacking the fading dignity of individualism.
When Twitter became a thing, we were more determined than ever to protect our personalized style of relating to others, and it worked to our advantage to be creatively distinct.
But those earlier days of self-gratification for the purpose of reserving the blueprint that dictates our promise to stand firm in what we believe, even in the face of nagging disapprovers has been dismantled by badges of authority, who can’t be fucked with unless you’re ready to lose in a battle of wills based on your missing blue check.
This isn’t an attempt to bash the important people who are verified geniuses in their respective fields. I tried to join the club and was thankfully rejected because I honestly have no business asking for what I neither deserve nor require.
It’s just fascinating to watch how we’ve shamelessly cowered to the gross superficiality of engagements that devours authenticity and replaces it with a dreamlike state, riddled with misinformation and utter disdain for the absolute truth.
Don’t get me wrong, there are upsides to having unguarded access to pertinent details regarding an unprecedented period in history that contains life-altering circumstances for all involved.
The activation of Covid-19 is the reason way I’ve been consuming a heavy amount of content at an alarming rate. But I’m ready to reel it back in for awhile, especially after being hit with relentless circulation of yet another death video that highlights how and why Black lives don’t matter in the country that still enslaves us.
The risk we take by spending long hours glued to refreshed timelines comes in the form of developing troubling immunity to the stuff that should elicit feelings that reaffirm our basic humanness.
More than 80,000 fellow Americans have died from coronavirus, and while Donald Trump bullies the rest of us into believing the lies of how reopening the job market won’t eventually kill off vulnerable workers, who are too poor to stay home until it’s safe again, there are still episodes of supreme hostility dousing chaotic platforms.
We can’t even enjoy popular shows without discussions concerning the evolution of make-believe characters turning violent.
The brewing feuds escalate to heights unimaginable, and each day unfolds evidence of how our worst days are ahead with the additional notices from “cancel culture,” which is still in full effect; regardless of the frightening global pandemic roaring at a vengeful pace.
Nobody is immune from the avalanche of curses and cancellations that are deposited fast and furiously with little or no warning.
My awful incident happened back in 2012 when it was relatively safer to be called out without the whole world being alerted to your period of online banishment. I had made the mistake of writing a personal essay that wrongly made assumptions about a tragic situation that ended very badly for the subject I misused to make my point.
Hours after publishing the piece, I checked my Twitter feed, and noticed the growing number of comments from angry readers who were avidly supporting the person who started the frenzy.
She recognized my dishonorable approach to incorporating someone I didn’t know into a narrative that I wasn’t allowed to claim on behalf of her friend.
It was a nightmarish episode that was thankfully brief, due to my swift, heartfelt apology that seemed to do the trick back then, but we know that wouldn’t fly today.
We’ve evolved into combative gnats who persistently hunt down prey for the pleasure of feasting on the carcass for as long as unhealthy appetites can muster.
In my case I asked for what I got, even though Lord knows I had no idea what was coming when I proudly shared what I hoped would be received with open arms. I have no regrets for my somewhat painless dragging, compared to the elaborately torturous sessions that we’re used to seeing on a daily basis. I walked away with valuable editorial lessons that I never learned from bad editors.
It feels like stumbling upon bloodied roadkill when you unknowingly scroll into warring territory featuring the maddened crowd and the notable object of everyone’s discontent, who had it coming with those damning old tweets that can be conveniently revived with a digital time machine.
TV personality and established foodie Chrissy Teigen is known as the clapback sorceress on Twitter. She has an uncanny way of shutting down trolls who literally disintegrate after that initial strike. It’s no shocker that Donald Trump can be included in Teigen’s hit list after multiple encounters.
For no particular reason I have never really been a fan of Chrissy Teigen, although it may have something to do with what I deem as overexposure on her part, which is understandable when you consider her immense popularity and how she has mastered the art of profitable engagement.
Heck, if I’m living my best life, and also possess the winning formula of how to leverage that privilege with an inbuilt audience applauding my every move, I would probably be attached to my platforms, night and day.
But we’re quite aware of how shit never fails to hit the fan. And even Teigen isn’t immune from this solid fact, as she’s currently marred in a recent controversy that went all the way left in a matter of minutes.
It involves revered food columnist Alison Roman, and the very revealing interview she granted The New Consumer where she didn’t hold back her disdain for the business models adapted by Teigen and “organizing consultant” Marie Kondo, that apparently inspires branding both women as “sellouts.”
Kondo has yet to comment or defend herself from Roman’s harsh criticism about the way she chooses to manage her empire. But Teigen did share her hurt and frustration in a viral tweet, that got the desired attention from the white woman who was accused of bashing and shaming two Asian women for daring to be successful competitors.
Roman eventually gave into the pressure and issued a semi-apology that Teigen rejected and then eventually accepted after some soul searching.
If you think you’ve heard enough, wait until we get to the part where Chrissy Teigen’s detractors come for her in a stunning switcheroo, that was almost 8 years in the making, based on her resurrected tweet about a Black child actor and the questionable comment that is back to mercilessly haunt her.
Needless to say, Teigen made a run for it and who can blame her?
“This is what always happens.” “The first day, a ton of support, then the next, 1 million reasons as to why you deserved this. It never fails.”
Teigen announced she was “taking a little break” and to the dismay of her 12 million followers, she made her Twitter account private to shut out the impressive number of non-fans, who were relishing the long-awaited opportunity to finally serve up a dish that we all try to avoid at all costs.
The former model and author has since resumed regular engagement on Twitter. She’s back to the frenzied savagery after not even a full day off.
But hopefully the mini-break will force her to adopt that philosophy of logging of periodically, while vultures-in-waiting find fresher meat.
Whether or not Teigen has earned a long-overdue backlash isn’t for me to decide, because I’ve been spooked out of the audacity to make those judgments out loud.
But I do know that taking breaks from social media should be a mandatory regimen for the benefit of self care, and the gloriousness of recharging from the accumulation of constant static, that gives the falsehood that you have countless friends who will have your back when the going gets rough.
We are wary strangers desperately hiding whatever threatens 5-star statuses, and we aren’t bold enough to take down the angry mob to defend the assigned illusion.
Social media can do a ton of good and encourage revolutionary steps towards progression, but the other shit is mentally debilitating not to mention harmfully triggering.
When you take one break, you will most likely take another.
But you gotta start sometime.