DELETE - Part 1: Purging my Toxic, Online Disposition
By Guinevere McWhorter
As I pressed “Delete Album” on another Facebook curated collection of my memories, I was struck with a sense of panic. Was I sitting down to systematically erase my past? Or was I liberating myself from the more toxic elements of my disposition? This blog in three parts documents my process of digital immolation.
How did I get here? The final straw may have been the last time my cursor hovered over the video sharing the inspiring rehabilitation of an obese pony. (I want to press "like," but then I know I'm outed.) You know how those algorithms work. The more times you hover over a video of an obese pony’s rehab, the more of these ponies you’ll see populating your timeline. “Enough of this,” I muttered. “But the pony!” My humanity seemed to return.
Or maybe it was the last time a rage arose in my stomach as I scrolled through the virtue signaling of a “friend” who felt compelled to convince or judge those with whom she disagreed. It’s such important work to judge the politics and subsequently the hearts of others you can’t see. Her profile, so laced with self-righteousness, fed something primal in me.
Or perhaps it was the mirror before my heart. It was the endless times my own self-aggrandizing, self-validating desire compelled me to share something to the world that was important. “If I just share this one more video, maybe then they’ll get it?” I post, then I abruptly delete it. Move along.
And then of course, perhaps it was how this mess all began. Post a photo on my timeline of my adventures. Tell something to the world. Like. “This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me,” says the poet Emily Dickinson. She must have been an early adopter of Facebook, sending her letter out into cyberspace.
Perhaps finally the irony was not lost on me. Maybe I was full of judgement and narcissism and cheap humanity. I suddenly realized that this is what Facebook had become for me, and I must rid myself of this disease.
And so began my journey of deleting my Facebook account.
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