Like most of the Country I was just as shocked as everyone else was when Trump became the next in line to become the 45th President of the US. My initial reaction was in tune with my normal posture of optimism with the vantage point of politics not being, directly, about us. As such whatever happens-happens and is not worth getting all whipped up over. That lasted for a couple days as everyone else began to cry, gloat, shout, protest and scream around me.
As things unfolded I had a moment of total despair while thinking about all the things the minorities, including my own GLBTQ communities, stand to lose. One of my oldest friends indirectly, and quite involuntarily, helped me through that though. It was not a particularly graceful conversation on my part. I delivered an apology later. After that night I was faced with the realization that the next four to eight years are probably going to be a very dark period in American history… or just another Republican economic crisis that we’ll have to fix… or who knows what since those events have yet to unfold.
What was clear though was that I needed to throttle my exposure to social media users… myself included. I still believe the platforms are a great way to remain connected based on my Texas days where FaceBook became a vehicle to communicate my experience over a long distances back home. I could not, however, overlook the fact that it was increasingly a Dark Mirror “Waldo Moment” dialogue in my life. I felt, increasingly, as if I were too much of the reactive hype – of which there is an abundance currently. It was time to take a hard look at myself and re-center.
With Trump, his supporters and the folks railing against him trolling down my FaceBook feed… I had to do something to keep my balance. So I deactivated my account for four days in order to spare myself the temptation of venting. It was while I was away in NOLA doing something noteworthy, and important to me personally, within the heart disease community that I decided I would try and tweak my relationship to social media. It’s a great tool. It’s also a great way to quickly touch base with actual friends and family. It becomes less useful, if not outright destructive, when you start seeing more “news,” sales and special interest related posts.
So I had already begun an effort to remove all my commercial and media related “likes” which had dramatically improved my feeds. But I needed a new way to use the platforms and yet remain a little more at arms length away from it and the political fervor crackling across the feed. I asked a talented front end developer about what his ideas were. That’s when he pointed me to Buffer. It gave me the ability to schedule my posts through a totally separate interface. This is great because it allows me to still participate, share important experiences and promote things that are important and dear to me. And at the same time it provides me with a barrier to the platform. As more distance is what I was looking for… it fit the bill perfectly.
The last tweak I have done has been to consciously log out of the social media platforms. Like all the way. Shutdown. No more phone alerts. Nada. It’s been great. I would never have guessed just how much of a distraction I had allowed this to become. Now, when I do log in, it’s at specific times and I’m looking to catch up with the people I care about most… and then log off again.
The formula has worked so far for me … and I have President Elect Trump to thank for it. Thank you Donald… and good luck!