I broke Facebook and Instagram last Monday. You’re welcome. I shut those social media platforms down with a few key strokes on my personal Facebook page, where I posted my frustration with the company’s new business suite platform to see if my friends had similar issues. That’s all it took.
For hours, the world was a kinder, gentler place. My phone sat idle. I wasn’t distracted by memes, positive quotes, all the ways my friends’ lives are evidently better than my own or all those ads for women over 50 pushing miracle skin care products and pants that roll up over my rolls. Thanks, Facebook. I love the constant reminders that aging women are doomed to redundancy without products that cover up their authenticity. Apologies for having a belly and a propensity to smile so much I leave marks. Also, I already own four pairs of those pants and that face powder, so stop pushing them on me. Sheesh.
Ironically, Facebook’s crash coincided with the start of National Newspaper Week across Canada, celebrating the importance of local journalism and the integrity that guides the work of print newspapers, like this one. Facebook, though, is where a small minority of people go to tell us all the ways our local news is biased, our facts are false, or my personal favourite, we’re paid by Big Brother to disseminate a mass message of complacency. I assure you, I’d be driving a Tesla, not a 2011 Toyota, if lucrative payouts existed.
Blame the media for the state of the world if it helps you feel better. That’s cool. Now imagine putting all that time scrolling and commenting on social media posts toward actually participating in real-time public policy. Or become a journalist and keep the accountable, you know, accountable, because that’s the actual job my colleagues do every day.
When Instagram went down, I missed it. I don’t mind Instagram. I can see posts and choose not to bother with the comments. Sure, it highlights the inadequacy of my life but that pain is muted by the intense perfection in the posts I scroll past. Way less drama.
When the What’s App feature died, I lost communication with some of my favourite people. I did not enjoy that. How was I going to take credit for single-handedly destroyed social media?
Eventually, Facebook was revived and Instagram and What’s App with it. My solitude was broken, but still I was grateful for the reprieve.
The next day, we learned of the passing of Bill Adsett, the founder of our newspaper. Whenever Bill visited the office, he would see me and say, “Well, if it isn’t Write Out of Her Mind,” before inquiring after the Carpenter and our kids. He had a warm smile, bright eyes and always a kind word. When we shared the news of Bill’s passing online, it received much love from readers on our Facebook page, with sincere sentiments expressed in the days that followed. It was a nice reminder that social media can be a positive tool, too.
I’m proud to be a part of the legacy Bill created and I’m confident my colleagues and I will continue his vision with the same integrity and community spirit, because we believe in the value of community news.