With the recent Facebook scandal, social media in general has become a quite touchy subject. My network engineer husband who has shunned social media since its inception, feels vindicated, while those who are a bit more ambivalent feel torn. I mean, that is where I keep up with friends who I now live far away from. It's where I see pictures of my nieces and nephews who live in other states. It's where all of my writing network is thanks to grad school and an active writing life. Not to mention the thousands of photos on it. After carefully culling my Facebook feed, I actually like going there. It really does keep me informed. It's where people post funeral arrangements, birth announcements, party invites. I don't mind not checking it very often, but not having one at all seems foolish at this point in the social media game.
What I wouldn't miss though is the constant looking over my shoulder that I feel about Facebook and being an in-closet atheist. I have to be careful what I click like on because I know other people will see it. I am afraid to follow certain groups or like certain pages because I know people will see it. If I post something that I think could be misconstrued in any way, I will make the privacy settings so that only a handful of people will see it. But it's not just in closet stuff. I am clearly a left-leaning moderate, but I find myself holding back from posting any political persuasions of any kind because I hate to argue. And then there's the posts that other people put out there that I have to talk myself out of responding to. No, this doesn't matter. This is your friend. You will not respond to this stupid meme that suggests that atheists are idiots. Of course, those posts usually get people instantly unfollowed.
The ones thing I have been struggling with concerning social media is deleting people altogether. The unfollow option is great, but I often wonder why I don't just unfriend the majority of them. Obviously, family is different, but why I am still friends with the ultra-religious ultra-conservative woman I used to homeschool with who now has seven children and an unhealthy obsession with Chik-fil-A? Is her being the sister-in-law to my now deceased friend mean I should continue any kind of relationship, even one as meaningless as Facebook? Or that friend of a friend that I met at a party who is semi-interesting, but never came to anything I invited them to and it's been two years now? Or that guy I met at a writing event who made me feel super awkward and hasn't sent me another free book since I rebuffed his advances? Oh and the girl who used to live in my neighborhood who used to bully me? Apparently online, I am a pushover.
I unfollowed the super religious long ago. I outright delete anyone who is openly homophobic, racist, or misogynistic. I've never felt bad about those decisions. But social media, despite some of it's pluses, isn't really a safe place at this point. Not if you are trying to keep a secret. I think it's why I have headed to places like Lifehacker, Reddit, YouTube, and blogs. I may be anonymous, but at least there I can find "my people". So I think I'll keep my Facebook for now, but continue to treat it more like friend newsletter with pictures, update on big life events, and the occasional life decision that I have to keep my mouth closed about.
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.