Alright – if you’re here, it’s probably because you’ve read something online that appalls you. Dismays you. Has left you thinking that the world is just a giant tribal shouting match where everyone’s pissed off and nothing gets done. I hear you. And I’m here to reassure you of three things: (i) the comment section of the internet does not reflect reality in the slightest; (ii) most people are still willing and capable of reasonable disagreement; and (iii) the world outside of your keyboard is wonderful and way better than anything you can find online.
Somewhere upwards of 2/3 of Americans get their news from social media. Odds are, you do too. I do, more than I would like. And with social media comes the dreaded comment section. You know you shouldn’t, but either: (a) the comment section is like driving past an auto accident, you can’t help but look just to see the havoc and destruction, or (b) the news site you’re looking at has a paywall and you think you can gleam the content of the article from a quick skim of the comments which, of course, you can’t, because the trolls that pollute the comment sections rarely even read the articles. So you look anyway, and you immediately regret it.
So what is there to do? Faced with the Hobson’s choice of the connectivity of social media (along with the frustrations it brings), or quitting social media altogether for the sake of sanity but at the risk of feeling like a hermit, I’ll readily admit I don’t care for either choice, but for the sake of keeping connectivity, I still choose the former.
But if we’re stuck with social media that promotes toxic discourse, the least I can do is to try to provide a safe haven for everyone out there. Hence, this site: an attempt to provide a salve that reminds you that the world outside your door is not as crazy as the internet makes it out to be, and that most of the tribal screeds you come across online are not reasonable arguments but distractions at best, outright falsehoods at worst.
To further my mission to reinforce your sanity this site will provide a few different kinds of posts:
- Reminders that most people are good, so be good to people. These posts will share an article or articles of people helping each other out. Maybe they cross their own political divides to do so, or religious divides, or ethnic or class divides. These posts will aim to be the antithesis of the bile you’ll find spread all over the comments section.
- Reminders to calm the fuck down and go explore the world around you. The world around you is a pretty great place. Don’t let it pass you by just because some trolls online have got you down.
- A propaganda refresher course. I remember learning about advertisements and propaganda in several courses in middle school growing up. With social media, you and I are on the receiving end of propaganda every day. I know it’s worth me taking the time to refresh myself on the ways people try to leave an impression in your mind.
- Occasionally, a deep dive into an actual issue. Not to take sides or even favor one side over another, but to attempt to illuminate the toxic discussion that’s taking place with data and facts, and to attempt to show the complexity innate in most issues up for discussion today. All facts will contain hyperlinks to citations.
- Pictures of cutesy-wootsy animals. Because, hey, this is the internet. And you’re here to have a good time, right?
Hopefully, these resources will provide you some calm in the daily social media shit storm, and provide you with a place to go when you find yourself thinking, “Oops I read the comments!”