I must preface this article by saying I have nothing personally against BuzzFeed, nor any other social media or “news and entertainment” site that I mention.
Nearly three weeks ago now, I quit BuzzFeed. I don’t mean I was employed there or anything, but I stopped reading it, almost cold turkey. I also stopped reading Oh No They Didn’t the week before, as well as Jezebel and Tickld, FunnyOrJunk and Imgur. Just for good measure, I also stopped checking celebrity Twitter accounts that, while I don’t have a Twitter myself, I would sometimes peruse when bored.
Why the reason for this huge social media news detox? I realized that all of its negativity was impacting my life in a manner that wasn’t exactly postive. I’d go on these sites looking for a quick laugh, a bit of celeb gossip or usually just something to do to kill time and de-stress myself, until I realized that the sites were stressing me out more than ever. I would come for the gossip and stay for the comments. As anyone who has ever read a YouTube comments section can vouch, comments on the Internet are where the idiots come out to play (much like Congress). Granted, some people who commented did have insightful or intelligent things to say, not everyone was ridiculous, but just like the drunk guy at a frat party, you tend to notice the stupid comments more than the sweet and polite ones.
These idiots enraged me, people running rampant with stupid assumptions, prejudices from that one interview with an actor they read and others simply making things up out of thin air. I didn’t have the time, patience nor energy to respond to each of these idiots and, much like quicksand, I knew I didn’t have a chance of winning. Willfull idiocy can’t be counteracted—you can’t force someone to be reasonable, which is most unfortunate. However, I still ended up coming off of these sites with a good mood soured, feeling irritable or grumpy towards people in general, or in the best case, just mildly annoyed at another reminder of the fact that I’m not a fan of humanity.
What I finally realized was that my time was worth more to me than that. My attention and time doesn’t deserve to be wasted on haters of the Internet, not matter how many times I giggle at them. I have a Netflix queue that would astonish Alfred Hitchcock and hundreds of books I haven’t read, as well as probably about 100 video games I have yet to finish or start, as my brother keeps reminding me. So why not devote my time and energy to these pursuits instead that, while they may not be current and up to the minute, are still culturally relevant and interesting, not to mention far less infuriating than these viral content aggregator sites?
People have been getting news for years before media sites like these, from TV, radio, newspapers and even just word of mouth, which proves that they’re not essential. Fun, sure, a cool way to pass the time and keep up on celebrity news, sure, and I’m not faulting them for that. But what, you may be asking, should I do to fill that new void in my time? Go for a walk, get outside, watch a movie, start a new TV show, read a book, play a game, meet someone, go to a bar, go to a club, just get up and do something that makes you feel happy, something that has a positive impact on your life and your outlook. If you feel these sites do have a positive impact on you, great! But how did you manage to make it this far down the article already without thinking I’m full of it? I salute you!
In the time since I’ve stopped using these sites I’ve finished two books, two celebrity autobiographies, three games and started three more books, two games and a movie (I fell asleep in the middle of “Guys and Dolls,” okay? I’m sorry, Frank Sinatra!). I’ve laughed, nearly cried, and come out the other side feeling like a better, more well-rounded and educated person. Would I have gotten that from clickhole media sites? Probably not.
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