The following post to the social media platform “Next Door” is largely self-explanatory. I have felt apprehensive about my participation from the beginning, but a series of recent posts surrounding alleged crimes in my neighborhood pushed me past apprehension and into action.
Having the principles of AC3’s current series in my mind made my decision almost…inevitable. It was just so clearly the right thing for me to do.
(I deactivated the account after this post so I cannot report on what, if any, responses it generated)
Topic: “Goodbye, Nextdoor”
I have avoided social media from its beginning. Mostly because I know my own negative proclivities, and I suspected social media would inflame them. But also because enduring the selfish, ignorant and shallow behaviors of others is heart-breaking and tends to push me toward those same behaviors. Watching from the outside over the years, my suspicions have been proven out.
But because of the way it was presented to me and its hyper-local nature, I swallowed hard and took a risk with NextDoor a couple of months ago, thinking, “This will be my first “experiment” with it. Maybe the “worst” of social media will be limited!” Perhaps it had been…but it is not limited enough for me.
A simple cost/benefit analysis reveals that my exposure to the interchanges on Nextdoor are resulting in the longterm reduction in my connection to and caring for my neighbors.
I find myself heartsick at the willingness of people to talk past one another, to display bigotry, “reverse” bigotry, knee-jerk regurgitation of un-truth, gossip and childish name-calling.
Some really good stuff came out of my experiment too. I have met face to face with two neighbors because of this platform, and that has inspired me to redouble my efforts to be a good neighbor IRL. Some important, useful information was exchanged as well. But sadly, the chaff far outweighs the seed.
This experience has, in balance, pushed me toward anger, judgment, and isolation, and I do not believe those qualities enhance community, draw me closer to God or make me a better man, so I’m out. I admire people who have the internal resources to navigate this kind of environment. Maybe I’m weak…so be it…I’m weak then. But I choose to unplug.
Please, carefully consider what your interactions on this and other platforms are revealing. Yes, you read correctly: REVEALING. Social media is not bad. It doesn’t create judgment, ignorance, and fear. It doesn’t create love, connection or hope either. It only uncovers what’s already there.
What is being revealed in you?
I choose to withdraw after having some dark things exposed in myself. I need work. I need real connection with people, I need to slow down and commit to living the questions St. Francis of Assissi was famous for asking: “God, who are you? And who am I?”
I don’t like what I’ve seen of myself since being here. The truth is, I don’t like what I’ve seen from many of my neighbors either, but I choose to look at the plank in my own eye.
So I guess, I have to say “thank you” for helping to reveal those things in me that need to change. I’m going to go focus on that work now…
-Written by Dan Hazen