Derek Tillotson


Every now and then, I'll glance at social media--Reddit threads, YouTube comments, replies to Tweets. In the few months I've been (pretty much entirely) social media-free, nothing has changed. And I didn't expect it to change, although change would be nice. The problem is that there are a lot of things that could be improved with social media, but none of them would matter if people don't view the platforms in a different light.

The biggest thing that drove me away from social media (especially platforms that encourage text, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit) is that these platforms are so open and folks are so engaged with others they don't really know, it encourages people to be so extreme with their opinions.

If you don't agree, you're wrong. If you only partially agree, then you fully disagree. If you believe ______, you're a terrible person. Every issue is binary--this belief or that belief.

Now, I don't believe there are inherently good or bad people. People are simply people. And as I continue to meditate and realize things about people, the world, and myself, I've come to appreciate the level of communication and understanding that is often missing from social media.

If you've spent time on social media and have witnessed conversations of a political nature, you'll have seen the best (but not only) examples of what I mean. Simple disagreements leads to ad hominem attacks. Words are taken in contexts that are not always intended. And attempts are understanding rarely occur.

The deeper I go down the rabbit hole, the more I want to be one who reaches out to ask for context. One who strives to see people as people. And one who looks at a topic from all sides. None of it is particularly easy to do, especially when you were engaged on social media long enough to adopt many bad habits and mindsets. But I'm working at it and I'm slowly getting to where I want to be.

Written July 8, 2020

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