Why I'm Resetting My Social Media History

Posted 2018-12-31

Why?

I get it. This is probably Blog Post #42279 where someone makes a formal announcement that they are leaving Social Media on Social Media to their target audience, which is people who use Social Media every day but complain about Social Media ruining their lives. However, I am writing these posts with a purpose and I feel it is necessary for me to write one of these now cliché "I'm Leaving Social Media; Don't Try And Stop Me" posts.

My Purpose

I have two reasons for maintaining an online space for my digital products and experiences.

Professional

As a Professional Computer Person I believe having an online presence is a strong plus. I do not think it is unreasonable for someone without any engineering skills to learn how to design their own website using a simple service like WordPress or WIX. With that said, I understand some people want to remain private and I understand that. Later on, I will discuss privacy more.

I enjoy Tech. I could talk about it all day. From it's effects on politics, our relationships, and the future to the in-depth stuff like Composition vs Inheritance. I want to share my thoughts on this stuff with other people who spend a lot of time thinking about this stuff. I want to get all the discussions I never got in a formal college environment with some extremely talented engineers who enjoy spending their time talking about their work. I want to build something huge with a community of people who see the potential of technology. I also want that community to be inclusive and focused on making all lives better.

Personal

Underneath this robotic personality there is a living organism that feels things. I grew up in a family where we didn't talk about feelings, especially as a man. Talking about feelings made you look weak and weak kids get picked on. As I grew older, I started to recognize that this behavior of shutting down emotions was causing myself more stress. Worrying about looking weak was making me actually weak. I went to a therapist (thanks to a wonderful unnamed Tech Lead who pointed out my destructive behavior) and learned healthier ways to talk about what was going on in my life. Because this has helped me, I want to share my experiences in case there is anyone out there that needs that little bit of hope. If I can make even one person's day better by giving them hope, then I will consider this venture a success.

My Apprehension

Putting yourself out there in 2018 is dangerous. Not "dangerous" in some metaphorical sense. It is literally dangerous. A man I had a disagreement with online went through my entire social media history and emailed all of my previous employers stating that he would be filing complaints that they employed an online bully and terrorist 🙄. We are living in a world where the judge and jury often are the rabid fans of some online influencer. Where a retweet can ruin someone's entire livlihood while the influencer may have forgotten about the entire thing less than hours later.

And as a very average, standard issue looking white dude I realize that the things I experience are nowhere near as hostile as what women and/or minorities experience. As a woman, you can't even have an online dating profile without being bombarded by an inbox full of dick pics. In many cases authorities do not take any action because they cannot determine the intent or the credibility of the threat over social media. There are limitless resources for handling online harassment.

Even if I convinced myself that there is no real danger in potentially accidentally becoming a celebrity/social media persona overnight, ignoring the fact that celebrities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on security detail, you have to remember that everything you say and do can now be attached to your permanent record. If you get a little too loose at the holiday party while a coworker is posting on social media, there's a chance that your career, your salary, or your love life could be changed forever.

Realistically, there is probably nothing to worry about. There are millions of people out there using social media every day and they aren't being targeted by malicious scam artists or deep state operatives. I've had plenty of great online relationships and discussions that didn't end in everyone calling each other fascists. Even if someone really did hate me for some reason, I would hope that they would decide that I wasn't worth the effort/risk. But... I have a Quality Assurance mind. I think of all types of scenarios. Even the least probable ones. And I'm a comedian who grew up below the poverty line. That means I've seen some things and I think of the dark scenarios. My head can be a scary place sometimes. So I do think of the worst case scenario. Even though there is a low probability, it would still have a huge impact. I have to be ok with that risk.

My History

In this effort to "start over" with social media, I went through my old posts. I always hated that part of any content I was working on, whether it was my comedy writing, code, or social media posts. The person I am now is ALWAYS looking down on the the person I was. Every day I get a little smarter, or I build a skill of mine a little more, and so every day my past me seems a little bit dumber than the me I currently am. I can say there are probably more things I'm embarrassed of in my history than things I'm proud of. With that said, I'm not going to go through my entire history line by line and justify everything I've ever said or done. Forward, always.

My Apology

With all of this said, I have to own up to the bad things I've said and done over the past couple years. I'm deleting my social media history (specifically Facebook and Twitter) so I can have a more accurate representation of who I am today. I was using social media irresponsibly and did not fully understand the impact of my actions until recently. Sometimes it was as bad as directed hate. Sometimes it was an honest mistake of using sarcasm in a post without any context. Regardless, the point is I regret the way things played out and if I could do it differently I would, and that is why I am attempting to start over. I won't be comfortable creating new content and sharing new stories if I don't at least address it and say I'm sorry if anyone felt attacked. I will be trying to be more responsible and level headed when engaging in public discussions going forward.

My Next Steps

While creating my own personal website I started to think about what I wanted to share with the world. I'm a person with many interests and I have done many different things throughout my life. I feel like I have a lot to share in the development, quality assurance, and general technology discussions. I also love writing and performing art of all different types and genres. I also get involved in politics and think that we need an overhaul of our system because its volatility is causing giant swings and promoting violent tribalism instead of putting emphasis on the working together to make life better for everyone.

I'm going to focus on creating content. Maybe I'll implement a system for tagging my content so people can filter out their own triggers. In the same way I wouldn't tell a dirty joke to my mother-in-law, I don't want someone to read something they might find offensive. It's a small way people can do their own part when participating in social media.

I don't have it all planned. But the plan I do have is to put one foot in front of the other and see how this evolves. For now, I'm having fun doing it. When it's no longer fun, I'll be outta here 👻