I’ve been keeping a relatively low profile on social media lately. I have a few different reasons for this. One is that I have been weathering one of the worst seasons of depression I have ever faced, and I haven’t had the words for how to express that. Even when I did think of something to say, it would sound so negative and unproductive in my head that I couldn’t imagine sharing it with someone else. Social media has also grown so saturated with ads and offers that it has lost a lot of its original charm. I still use it, but I feel overwhelmed at times by the sheer volume of product placement that is thrown at me.

IMG_1200Ironically, though, in a case of digging its own hole, it has been a Facebook mobile app feature that has caused me to give pause to saying much on social media these days. In the “Notifications” section of the app, users can now view “Today in the Past.” In case you’re not a Facebook mobile user or just not a consumer of social media at all, “Today in the Past” shows you statuses and photos you posted from years past. Sometimes this feature offers a fun trip down memory lane. For me, however, it has made me sad, pricked my conscience, and made me want to monitor what I say on the internet much more closely.

I have always had a rather dry and sarcastic sense of humor. Self-deprecation is a favorite weapon in my arsenal. I occasionally like to poke fun at things and people. I am also a depressive who sometimes shares his struggles concerning moods and circumstances a little too freely. I can be a pessimist on a bad day. On my worst day, I can make you legitimately worry about my state of mind.

I have been taken aback lately by how mean some of my past posts were. I expressed anger toward people I dealt with every day. I wasn’t particularly thankful about anything. Even when I was happy, I usually dampened the feeling with a blanket of sarcasm. A lot of the time, I was a flat-out jerk. I wish I could go back and use the discretion I’m using now before writing some of those things. They didn’t do anyone any good.

I’ve also been struck lately how mean the posts of some of my friends are becoming. We leave no room for differing beliefs anymore. We snipe from our positions, and we are all 100 percent convinced we hold the truth in our hands. We call each other names. WE TYPE IN ALL CAPS, just to make sure the other side knows we’re yelling at them. We seek to obliterate anyone who disagrees with us. We have become ugly and unappealing.

My mindset was wrong back then, and my mindset has been wrong a lot lately as well. The only difference is that now I don’t immediately pull the trigger and post whatever I’m thinking on the internet. Maybe I wasn’t always wrong to be frustrated or angry, but I dealt with it in unhealthy ways. I was not a good social media friend. I tore down instead of building up. I sewed sadness instead of joy. I made private matters public.

In short, I was mistaken to act the way I did.

I realize I am putting a bullseye squarely on my back by writing this. The next time I post inappropriately, someone will be waiting to judge me for it. That is just the nature of writing things and publishing them on the internet. Someone will always be waiting to punish you when fail at what you intended to do. What I want, though, is to be a different person on social media. I don’t want to be that person from one, two, three, four, or five years ago. I don’t like him very much, and I don’t want to look back next year and see that he was still around.

So if I seem a little quiet these days, it’s because I am. I don’t plan on staying this way, though. I still believe in the power of social media to unite people and to keep us together as friends when the physical world may keep us apart. When I post, though, I want to be able to like what I see a year or two down the road. The name at the top of the page will be the same, but I hope the voice below is a new creation.

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