My daughter has been out of school and we have been sheltering-in-place for 7 weeks.  We have at least a month more to “quédate en casa” here in Baja California Sur.

In March, I returned to social media to connect with loved ones and keep up with quickly evolving news during the pandemic. Now, I find myself in the familiar recognition that social media is not designed with our best interests at heart, nor is it good for me.

Each time I return to social media, I re-engage hopefully in meaningful reunions with a greater circle of friends and family:

“So great to see photos of the kids!” it starts so innocently.

Less than two months in, I have relaxed from my intended guideline of “no mindless scrolling” after breaking it just this once became habit.

My head physically hurts after 15 minutes on Facebook because the scrolling is not mindless.  In fact, what starts with a quick response to a friend becomes exposure to a newsfeed peppered with intensely polarized posts and provocative arguments.

Between pictures of puppies and kids art projects, journalism and fake news, friends hurl intellect and anger at one another from the bunkers of their homes.  Left and right, religion and science, bombs land in comment boxes to detonate in our minds.

COVID-19 in the US began as a fight that seemed strikingly unified.  As Charles Eisenstein noted in his viral essay early on, unlike many of the other massive issues of our time, COVID-19 seemed like a common enemy that we could control.  But, our moment of unity has again disintegrated into politics, media, and difficult-to-decipher half-truths.

Being on social media no longer brings me a sense of joy or unity but brain fog.

Turns out, COVID-19 itself isn’t the understandable, defeat-able enemy we initially thought, as articulated clearly in this article in The Atlantic.

“The coronavirus not only co-opts our cells, but exploits our cognitive biases. Humans construct stories to wrangle meaning from uncertainty and purpose from chaos. We crave simple narratives, but the pandemic offers none.”

We have again landed in a seemingly unsolvable problem – at least in the immediate term.  We are all afraid, albeit about different things, so some fight for their survival…online.

Perhaps someday, I’ll have the audacity to delete my Facebook account for good.  But I’d miss everyone.  I think…

7 Comments

  1. Bill on May 1, 2020 at 8:13 pm

    I feel some of your feelings. Social distancing in some ways highlights the challenges and confusion and angst I feel when I access social networking. It is clear there is so much polarizing of ideology.with an unfortunate intolerance of opinions and feelings which do not align. Starting with “Talking to Strangers” I hope to gain some understanding for polarizing language about “my rights” or “my liberty.”
    My hope is to get a better perspective on “my” or”I” when so much of living is about “we” and “us.” However my hope is your and lots of voices do not get crushed by the polarizing of perspectives on the extremes. Having those who do not equate living through political extremism seems more important than ever. Living through our ❤️, appreciation of others, and in places in the midst of extremism seems more important than ever. I guess what I might be thinking is this is not the time to lose our voice and speaking it through our ❤️.

    • Stephanie on May 7, 2020 at 10:07 am

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I agree that “living through our heart, appreciation of others and in places in the midst of extremism seems more important than ever”. Thank you for reading!

    • Stephanie on May 7, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      Also, your point about the moderate majority needing to find their voice amidst all the noise is important.

  2. Donna on May 1, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Yes. This. I’m thinking about leaving also…
    I was saying the other day to a group of friends that this pandemic seems to have brought out the absolute worst in people. People seem to be flat out mean/hateful. So very very selfish. I thought I knew them, so I’m a bit shocked to see this new side of them. I wish I could leave ‘cold turkey’, but alas not yet…
    Anyhow, on the meantime I will continue to try to be mindful, compassionate, and loving…😁
    Hugs Stephanie and kisses and hugs to Dave and the kids!

    • Stephanie on May 1, 2020 at 7:45 pm

      You are mindful, compassionate and loving, indeed. This time is certainly testing us. Good luck out there! Hugs to you all as well.

  3. Stephanie Barnier on May 1, 2020 at 3:54 pm

    I love reading your blogs, Stephanie! Thank you for sharing about your journey. Your soul shines bright always. Enjoy your baby and little girl! Sending you hugs from SD, Steph

    • Stephanie on May 1, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Thank you for reading, Steph! I am very much enjoying the kids. You, too. Look forward to seeing you all again someday soon. Lots of love.

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