My Misery Doesn't Love Your Social Media Company

Or, how I learned that sharing joy is a better use of my online time.

My Misery Doesn't Love Your Social Media Company
Photo by Prateek Katyal / Unsplash

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I'd have to say that I'm admittedly one of those people who you'd call "persistently online". Granted, whenever this term is used it's almost always used in the negative. People who are "persistently online", as described, are hopelessly, inexorably, connected to the internet all the time. When it's used as a shitty insult, the definition is that they're gremlins, connected to their smartphones, their social media feeds, and their online news sites, and can't help themselves participating in the internet version of a corporate rat race, only instead of executive titles, cushy office suites, and cutthroat business tactics the measurement is in likes, replies, and online clout. Thus at any moment, you can open any social media platform out there and see any number of consistently posting people, like hamsters in wheels.

closeup photo of brown hamster in glass cup
Photo by Silje Roseneng / Unsplash

I'd like to think that even though I'm probably one of these hamsters, that I'm online all the time for productive reasons. Professionally, for example, it's literally paid for me to be online, and be understanding of the way that communities online work. Personally, these days the internet is also the best way for me to keep in touch and network with my friends, because unlike the days when I was seeing everyone regularly in school, most folks I know are scattered to the four corners of the globe. I'd be lying if I said most of my friends currently were offline friends, too - my hobbies these days, which include gaming, K-Pop, and technology, inevitably connect me to people in different states, countries, and regions.

black and gold box on white textile
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 / Unsplash

I've learned, at least for myself, that what makes "persistently online" bad is not necessarily being online, but how you spend that online time. If you're a long-time reader, you know that I've written about this before. But I'd also like to add to that hideously old article (that was 2020, an eternity ago!) that it isn't just viewing doom content but also posting about it, too.

Le sserafim needs vocal lessons and it okay to admit that
by u/Beginning_Algae_8626 in kpopthoughts

If you're reading this on a Saturday, you follow me for my K-Pop content, and you're wondering how relevant this is to you, look no further than anything having to do with K-Pop "controversy" or "stan Twitter" or anything like that. While a lot of what is affectionately (with a bit of a twitchy horror in the eye) called "discourse" about K-Pop groups is fine, the surrounding toxicity and outright hatred can get really bad, really fast, even if you don't intend on making it that way.

Take LE SSERAFIM's Coachella 2024 Week 1 performance. I've talked about this already too, but coming at it from a different angle, nobody had to contribute to what was probably one of the crappiest attempts at having a nuanced discussion about K-pop vocal talent and live performance ever, but they did. The fact that you can, these days, double and triple-down on your opinions online doesn't help sell the value of posting about it or make it any better for anyone.

black ipad on white table
Photo by Nik / Unsplash

But I also feel like it extends to constantly posting about what sucks, too, whether on a personal or global level. If you're one of these people, I want to make it clear that if this is something that helps (or at least feels right) to do and it works for you, that's fine. The last thing I'm going to do after just trashing on never-ending arguments online is to perpetuate one by telling you what is or isn't good to post about on social media.

But speaking for me, personally? I just find the exercise of posting about terrible shit going on to be unhelpful. Does misery love company, even online? Probably. But does it make it fine for me to do? Absolutely not. It just feels like I'm throwing gas on an already existing fire. And I'd rather not add my own misery to others'.

black and yellow computer keyboard
Photo by wu yi / Unsplash

Instead, I've shifted to posting online only about things that bring me joy, sharing things that make me happy or make others happy. Is that being the proverbial ostrich sticking their head in the sand? Not really. I want to make it clear that I recognize the awful that happens and is happening or could happen in the world today. That there are things that suck, things that are evil, things that might have a negative impact. Hell, there are things personally, in my life, that aren't great right now. But my point is that I save those serious reflections, discussions, and thoughts for offline, or for private talks with the friends and family I trust and love to support me. In this way, I feel I'm not contributing to a misery and doom machine that, especially now, is amplified by algorithms and bad serotonin likeboosts, with companies that have little to no interest in moderating or bringing nuance to such discourse online.

More importantly, the posts I share online, such as the above video I put up on my Bluesky account, highlight that for as much bad that's going on in the world, that the good, even if it's on a small scale, is out there. In the midst of so much difficulty, anxiety, and angst about things, all of which I recognize and treat seriously on my own time, there is so much more value for me to show what isn't that. Simple joys such as my beloved favorite anime series Ranma 1/2 getting a remake to bigger ones, like Voyager 1 sending data back to continue scientific advancement about space are some of my most fulfilling posts. Signal-boosting others' good achievements, like how the Nintendo Switch is being used as a valuable therapy tool even more so. It just feels better, feels right, and feels, honestly, less depressing.

More than ever, I believe that what you put into being online and being on social media is what you mostly get back. If you've found yourself caught up in only putting bad things into it, try putting something good up instead. You might find that you'll be better for it, if even for just a moment.