Brain Space

8:00 AM

View from the porch where I like to think
I made the mistake of liking a controversial comment on a controversial post, and now Facebook dredges up that days-old post every time I scroll through for a couple minutes.

It's like Facebook knows I cannot emotionally handle internet drama.

Then I received a comment the other day that misunderstood me and my writing and said some other things that generally offended me. I almost published it and responded to it, then got smart for once and just deleted it.

Brain space.

I have so little of it. You know, we weren't created for an internet world. We were created for communities, for a circle of people we can bump in to at Walmart, up the hill, or in the living room. We originally heard only the drama in our own communities or discussed faraway scandals with only our friends and acquaintances. The wide world didn't fall into our laps via laptop.

I'm grateful to participate in big discussions that electrify the nation. I'm grateful for online communities and easier access to people and ideas that make my life so much better. I don't want to go back to a world without internet (especially not when researching a paper!).

I am learning to back away from the internet when it overwhelms me. Facebook friends may say nasty things with which I disagree, but I cannot change their minds after presenting my point of view. I don't even know them in person. The whole world seems prejudiced against certain groups of people, but I do not belong to the whole world. I belong in my little corner of Michigan with a little circle of friends. Unless I'm planning to crusade against the whole world, I need to give more of my attention to my own heart and my own corner of the universe. 

If I'm upset with the internet reaction to certain events and am unable to do anything to change those events, I've lost brain space to the things I can affect. Even though I'm sauntering through summer with lots of time to think, I don't ever want to have time for stupid internet debates or snarky blog comments or frustrated internet relations with faraway people who disagree with me.

I need the freedom to delete those files, clear up some brain space, and think about things that actually matter to my own moral and intellectual development and my limited sphere of influence. This means scrolling past that Facebook post with a bajillion comments. This means not publishing certain comments or blocking people altogether who do not contribute to productive online discussion. This means abandoning the internet for long periods of time to read, talk, and live with flesh-and-people.

It's healthier. It's more human. And it's giving me more brain space to write great blog posts for all you readers! :)

How do you deal with internet drama either on your personal blog or elsewhere?

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6 impressions

  1. Great thoughts. Ive been thinking of this as I have recently deactivated my facebook (although I will admit i reactivate it for little 10 min stretches to just stalk people and see pictures of my nieces and nephew, haha!). I like who I am better when I'm not on facebook constantly. Online communities can be great (for example we get to chat ever once in awhile!), but for millennia people largely have been socializing only with the people in their "here and now". At least that's how I justify being a poor long-distance friend.

    As far as internet drama, I've had my share on my blog! And my sister, back when she had a blog. There are some good stories. High point of the drama was when my sis (and indirectly, our whole family) got "discussed" on an online message board that snarks on conservative fundamentalists. We didn't know what the word "fundie" meant before we discovered this, but it was so horrifying to find ourselves analyzed and discussed by a group of strangers! In that instance, we just ignored. Trying to defend oneself over the internet is usually a fruitless cause. In fact, any kind of written-text argument is usually fruitless. (my now ex-boyfriend and I discovered that text arguments only make things worse!) Usually if I get a critical comment on my blog, I publish it anyway. I rarely respond to it, but I publish it. I am not exactly sure why I made that conscious decision so many years ago. I think it's because i like the idea of everyone's voices getting out there, and having your thinking challenged. Sometimes I'll look at those "critical" comments years later and realize the commenter actually had a good point. :) I think I might also want to keep it from being a happy self-affirmation bubble for myself. Honestly people have told me that it's totally ok for me to just delete such comments, but I still compulsively publish it all. unless it's in chinese characters. :)

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    1. What?! I think I was analyzed by that exact same site!! Ugh. Sorry about that. It was devastating for me at first, and then I just moved on. At that point in my life, I had enough stupid "fundie" ideas that I can see why they saw me ridiculous. :)

      I generally publish everyone's comments, even the critical ones, unless it deliberately attacks somebody without any constructive commenting. And I have blocked people from commenting if they continually prove to frustrate me and other commenters. It took me FOREVER to get to the point where I was okay doing so, because I too wanted to have an open forum for discussion and debate! It made blogging so much easier when I finally stopped publishing certain commenters, and I don't regret it at all. :)

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  2. Eh... this is the sad side to the internet. #reasonswhyistilldonthavefacebook

    As I watch so called Christians get louder and louder online, and become more vehement and violent over their opinion, the more I see I don't want bar of it. Old fashioned I may be, but I actually still try to ascribe to Scriptures that say "let no unwholesome speech come out of your mouth, but only words that edify", or "don't think of yourself more highly than you should" or "esteem others [no distinctions] higher than yourself" or "owe no man anything but love" or even, dare I say it, "let yourself be wronged".

    Heck, I have enough trouble with the people I know in real life circles, with me trying to be teachable and deal with my own pride-plus-issues, why do I need to get into some stupid debate about something that Jesus obviously didn't find important enough to address? Jesus was never called the "great criticizer" or "our great accuser, Jesus". Criticism rarely hits the mark, and I know from experience, people grow in leaps and bounds when they're fed on truthful encouragement and exhortation than being torn down or judged.

    Yeah, end rant. Brain space is precious. Why spend it on people gung-ho for finding dirt on everything when we're called to think on things that are praiseworthy and excellent? Tough choice... o.O

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    1. I love all these thoughts. I definitely think there are ways to use social media and the internet that follow those Scriptures you mentioned, but boy, is it HARD! Your last line nailed it......are we going to spend our brain space meditating on poorly thought out Facebook rants or something more edifying?

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  3. Yesss! I had never really thought about the internet like this, but it's so true. I don't need to enter into every online debate or broadcast my opinions that no one really cares about anyway. If people make critical comments, especially those who I don't know in real life, I need to let those things go and realize that they don't actually know me. I need to keep reminding myself that people who I live in a community with need my attention and brain space more than the online world does.

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    1. "my opinions that no one really cares about anyway." LOL! If I remembered that every time I weighed in on Facebook debates, I'd save myself MUCH frustration! Loved your comment, Emily Ruth!

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