Facebook Freedom: When To “Leave The Group.”

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While enjoying my coffee this morning, I scrolled through my Facebook feed to see what was going on in my world. This is not terrifically time consuming as I don’t have legions of “friends.” Mine primarily consist of a few old high school and college buddies, my family from all over the US, and as I’ve become more of a social media junkie (hahahaha as my kids would say),  I’ve added a few local and far flung groups who share some of my interests.

Truthfully, as someone who blogs, I should have a much larger social media presence, but I’m still not that comfortable putting things out there.  Usually, I just use Facebook and other media as a tool to get my writing read and to see the pictures and posts of my long distance friends and family.  I don’t really understand Twitter, despite my daughter’s repeated attempts to explain it, and I just signed up for Instagram a few days ago, a decision I instantly regretted as it’s got me totally stumped.

Anyway, while scrolling through the typical “Life is what you make of it,”and “You’re never too old to start” posts, the requisite eighty pictures of dogs dressed up as famous movie stars and pictures of people on vacation in places I’d much rather be, I came across the post that made me do something I’d never done! I moved my cursor, hit “enter” and I not only “hid” someone’s posts, but I also “left a group” I’d been a part of.

Shazam! What a revelation.  With the click of a button I could opt out.  I could decide that if I didn’t like something someone was saying or if a group and its members seemed to have decided to revert to 7th grade mean girl antics,  I could just hit “hide post” or “leave the group.”  ASTOUNDING! THRILLING! I only wish they’d had this thirty years ago.  I can’t tell you the number of people I would’ve loved to “hide,” “unfriend,” “delete” or just plain “leave.”

The simplicity of it was dizzying. With one click,  I could choose to leave controversy behind.  I could choose not to take pleasure in reading as people, one after the other, took turns belittling others or commenting nastily about other’s decisions. I could just say no; it was that simple. I’ll be honest, part of me wanted to go off on a rant and tell all those people why I found their comments and posts so distasteful.  I could choose to give them one final written punch to the gut, but instead, I just clicked.  And, you know what?  I had a really pleasant, positive and peaceful morning.  No angst, no fighting, no thinking of quick comebacks.  I clicked, and went back to a lovely cup of coffee.

I will admit this:  I am so glad that my kids are grown.  I can not imagine how difficult it would be to teach my kids about cyber bullying, about how things are misinterpreted on social media, how people are more likely to say terrible things online than they would ever say to your face, and about the fact that it’s not just kids who can do all of the above.  But the reality and the beauty is we don’t have to buy in.  Just click the button.  Go ahead, it’ll make your day.  Shazam!

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