Social media muddle

I'm one of those retirees who spends a significant amount of time online, and not just here at BlueNC. I read a number of national and other newspapers and I visit both Facebook and Twitter several times every day. In the past week, I've also tried out WeMe and WT.social. I've been looking for a place to call home, but I'm kind of at the end of my rope. Here's where things stand.

Facebook is where most of my friends are, including people I know only politically. My biggest objection to being there is the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is part of Trump's zombie army. I feel like my eyeballs are fueling at some of his evil empire. The site itself is filled with garbage, both in terms of content and people. It's an ugly mess and great care must be taken to avoid getting sucked down the fake-news hole. My three rules of thumb:

1. Never click a Facebook advertisement for anything
2. Never watch a video
3. Block assholes without hesitation

I can't say these rules make Facebook tolerable, but they do give me some sense, if only slight, of control.

Twitter is a different animal. I went there to see if I could understand Trump's lizard brain ... and found the place to be similarly under-evolved. Mountains of stupidity and ignorance, with people rushing to be first, to attract followers, and to gain "likes." That said, Twitter does have some redeeming qualities, including a few commentators (who are not on Facebook) who cut through the bullshit with honest, balanced perspectives. My jury is still out.

MeWe is a Facebook look-alike that promises to not be evil and to protect user privacy. I spent a couple of days at the place and found it to be lousy with brown shirts. Also, t's too cute by a mile. Not for me.

Lastly, I tried WT.social. "WT" stands for Wiki Tribune and is supposed to be the site that saves the world from Facebook fascism. As a Wikipedia contributor, I even subscribed to boost their momentum. After a week, I've given up. The site is klutzy, not intuitive, poorly organized, and, in my view, male dominated. It's kind of like Redditt with a sense of self-righteousness.

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You might be wondering if any of this is necessary, and you'd be right to do so. I spent the first 50 years of my life without social media and, OK Boomer, it didn't kill me. But it wasn't until social media that I have been able to connect with people I don't really know in real life ... all in the interest of some greater good.

One thing I do religiously using social media is monitor the posts of Republican ringleaders like Thom Thillis, Dan Forest, Phil Berger, Tim Moore, Mark Meadows, and others. Each of these guys posts a dozen or so propaganda pieces daily, sometimes more. Several other readers and I make it a point to continually challenge their truthfulness (they're always lying), so that their supporters are forced to confront actual reality.

My efforts may not be worth the trouble, but in the absence of alternative actions, this is what I'm left with.

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I came across this story in the Washington Post about the Third Lady getting booed by kids in Baltimore. It prompted me to write down my thoughts.

We've arrived at a point in culture where the institutions we once counted on to maintain civility and decency have collapsed. Specifically, they have collapsed under the gross obesity of Donald Fucking Trump and his Brown Shirt Brigade.

Right now, the Trump crime syndicate is doing everything it can to destroy the government we rely on for order. Voting can't be trusted, Congress can't be trusted, and military order and discipline can't be trusted. It's impossible to know what actions are worth taking. So if a bunch of kids feel that the way to make a difference is to boo and hiss the Third Lady, well god bless them every one. What the hell else are they going to do?

For many Americans, booing and hissing is as close to activism as they can get. They're working two jobs and barely getting by. They're fighting losing battles against our so-called health care system. And the value of their vote has been gerrymandered into oblivion.

So all they have left is their voice. I'm glad to see them use it.

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Comments

Twitter can be great for accurate news,

but you've got to follow the right people. Jay Rosen (NYU) is a good one, and several of the folks who write for the New York Times.

But Twitter has the same problem Facebook has when it comes to sensory overload. If you've got 500 people you follow, and they each post 5 things a day, there's no way to read even a fraction of them. Hashtags can help you target specific issues, but again, once a bunch of people catch on, too much information.

Someone suggested Diaspora

I spent an hour there this morning and found it impenetrable. My advice? Don't bother. You'll spend way too much time dealing with tech (sort of like WT.social, only worse).