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Social Media Distancing

– by Sara M. Zerig

As you’ve heard, the world is on lockdown for something called COVID-19. As a result, some of us have more time on our hands to contemplate the unprecedented (in our lifetimes, anyway) social distancing orders. Others, like first responders and the medical and grocer communities, have less time for this. But never fear, everyone has time for social media.

Early in the melee, a friend of mine posted a brief but thoughtful article to her Facebook page about how this could be our worst hour or our finest, and how we conduct ourselves will be the determining factor. The piece went on to list suggestions on how to do this. I “liked” the article because I thought it was a beautiful sentiment.

Later that day, I scrolled through a battlefield of comments on my friend’s post. Why don’t we do all these things during flu season? … Please educate yourself on the differences between Corona and the flu … Fact check, please! [link] … Yes, fact check! [link] [link] [link] You get the idea. Suffice it to say, the point of the article my friend had posted was lost.

I get it. We all have our opinions, and we have the right to express them. Some of us have unpopular opinions and at times become overly passionate about them. Do NOT get me started on bicyclists who fail to follow the rules of the road among cars. It isn’t pretty. Social media allows for an easy and engaging way to spark spirited debates, and the internet provides debaters a wealth of sources to support each side. I usually find it entertaining. Lately, though, not so much.

It seems every time I log on, someone is telling me how I should think or feel about all things Corona, and shame is the theme. Shame on you, if you are gullible enough to believe social distancing is the appropriate response; shame on you, if you are so arrogant that you don’t. Shame on you, if you are so ungrateful that you are are daunted by having to homeschool your children – you get to be with them, while essential employees don’t. Shame on you, if you aren’t on a ventilator and have the gall to fear for the economy. And for that matter, shame on you if you don’t fear for the economy, you elitist snob. We’re not all independently wealthy, you know.

I don’t know why I find this so different from political posts. Those are also aimed at dividing people through ridicule of different perspectives. Maybe it’s because political debates have been the norm as long as I can remember, while social distancing is uncomfortably new. Or maybe my friend’s early post landed too well with me. Turning on each other at a time like this feels like an embarrassment to the human race. In the immortal words of Taylor Swift: I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative.

Good news! I can practice social-media-distancing and spend that energy on more creative activities. And I’m gonna do it. Just as soon as I post this blog. Shakespeare is said to have likely written King Lear from quarantine (don’t challenge me – I will find three questionable sources for every one you send me saying he didn’t). No, I am not suggesting that my romance-in-fantasy-settings books equate to Shakespeare, but I can provide an escape for people who enjoy that genre. This seems like a more positive way to spend my time than scrolling through COVID posts.

This is not a blog telling you to quit social media and create. It’s just a thought. An idea. An update on what’s going on over here, from one quarantined writer to others who have my virtual support and online respect. As my twelve-year-old daughter says too frequently: You do you, boo. Imma do me.

Friendly wave from at least six feet away,


Sara M. Zerig is author of the contemporary fantasy-romance AoX Series. “Unearthed” now available in eBook format on Amazon for Kindle (and Kindle app), Apple iBooks, and Barnes & Noble for Nook (and Nook app).
View more posts: https://saramzerig.wordpress.com/

Photo by Thought Catalog, http://www.upslash.com


24 thoughts on “Social Media Distancing

  1. My -albeit limited- idea of social media is Facebook. It’s like sitting at a sidewalk cafe on Main Street Earth. Everykinds of us walk by. I don’t like most of them, but most of them are interesting. And I know to sit a couple of tables back from the street, or somebody will spit on your shoes.
    Thanks, Sara. Your take on life is always interesting and amusing.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. With shelter in place, we should have so much more time to get lots of writing done. But no, I had to spend half of every day reading all the latest Covid 19 articles, and then stew about them. So not much time for writing.
    A couple of weeks in, all the articles are saying the same things over and over, so I’m ignoring them. Finally I’m getting my writing done.
    I’ve never been one to get “news” from social media, or to engage in arguments there, so I’ve been spared that time sink.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. victoracquista says:

    Thanks for sharing your ideas on this, Sara. It seems to me that social media in general has a high noise to signal ratio and that has only been amplified by the current social crisis coupled with people spending more time on social media. I like GD’s notion of watching the show (? drama) from a back table. I also like the wisdom underlying your daughter’s response, “Imma do me.” I suppose social media provides the platform for people to express themselves (often unabashedly) and, as the saying goes: “Everyone’s entitled to my opinion.”

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Sara’s post walks the neutral ground between opposing opinions in a delightfully non-judgmental way. I haven’t experienced the vitriol her newsfeed seems to contain, but I commend her choice to move away from social media.

    To be honest, the pandemic hasn’t changed much about my life style except for the 6-feet-apart aspect. I am a homebody. I spent decades raising other people’s children in my home 10-12 hours a day, 5 or 6 days a week, with occasional overnights, in sickness and in health. I also homeschooled my son for 7 years of those years. Yes, I wash my hands more often now, but I’ve advocated 20-second hand washing and sneeze-and-cough-into-your-elbow with all my day care kids. Maybe that’s contributed to my own exceptional health for all that time.

    I utilize critical thinking when I read the news — from several verifiable sources — ignoring the opinion pages. Facebook is never one of my sources. My visits to that platform generally happen in the middle of the night in fly-by mode — I scroll as far down my “Most Recent” newsfeed as I can in 10 to 15 minutes, looking for interesting links posted by people I trust, and amusing personal posts and excellent photography or artwork by people I know and care about. I check my Notifications, clicking only on those that tag me or reply to one of my comments. I bypass the clickbait games, surveys, and petitions. Then I return to my livelihood — sewing — and my preferred occupations — reading and writing.

    Yes, I have opinions that I try to make sure are informed. I will share links that reflect my respectful, we-all-have-to-share-this-world-so-lets-make-the-best-of-it outlook, but the saying I favor is, “Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but that doesn’t mean I am entitled to hear it.” (Though if I do, I will hear it most clearly if it doesn’t yell at me in all caps and exclamation points.)

    Liked by 7 people

  5. DocTom says:

    One of the saddest truths of the late 20th to early 21st Centuries is the exposure of the nature of Homo sapiens. We’ve always had this great opinion of ourselves (we are after all the pinnacle of evolution!). But technology has served to reveal our true nature.
    With the advent of cable tv we were told we’d have the Opera Channel, the Symphony Channel, and others showcasing the great works of theater, and in-depth discussions of great thoughts and the major challenges of our time. We ended up with Jersey Shore, Duck Dynasty and now Tiger King. I’m pretty sure Fox fits in there somewhere.
    The internet was supposed to be the Information Superhighway leading to a better informed populace. Well, you all know what we ended up with: hope for a constructive, stimulating exchange of ideas and you get lots of misinformation and us versus them troll fights (interspersed with unending stupid cat videos).
    Maybe this is all just to show humans for what we really are. That way the Robots won’t have any misgivings when they take over.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. mimispeike says:

    I am an introvert, and having been laid off on November 1, I’ve been glued to my computer since. (Working on my projects.) My life has changed not at all. I’m not at all stir-crazy. I don’t pay much attention to rants on Facebook. I visit only a handful of sites.

    I have a number of relatives who are rarely on Facebook. I suppose they joined, pressured by their kids. My sister in Florida doesn’t even own a computer, much less be on the internet. She goes on at work, that’s it. How does anyone get along without the web? Invaluable for research.

    You want to find psycho chickens? No problem. (I’m currently working on a paper doll sheet for my (or, rather, Sly’s) chicken chorus line. It will be a three-dimensional paper doll. It’s laid out, the text is in place. I’ll have it done in a few more days, and I’ll post it, as usual, on my Facebook page.

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Perry Palin says:

    Spring is a beautiful time to practice social distancing on our little farm. I have plenty of work outside, but much of it is elective; if I don’t do it most people would never notice. We read books and do puzzles and watch for deer in the yard and for which birds have returned, and listen to the sandhill cranes talking among themselves in the neighbor’s fallow fields.

    It’s hard to get away from politics. I am a capitalist libertarian. The barn cats are democrats. The lead horse is a totalitarian. The honeybees are socialists. My wife and the dog are communists. But even with our differences we all find ways to get along.

    I am an introvert and hermit, and the social distancing is fine with me. It’s a little harder on my wife, who misses, I think, volunteering at the library. We both miss going to our favorite local restaurants, and the live theatre, and the now cancelled club and group meetings.

    Yesterday I went to the pharmacy and the farm supply store and the post office. People were pretty well behaved, keeping their distances. Not many were wearing masks. We have yet to have a confirmed case in our county. This week I’ll pump up the leaky tire on the truck and drive to the lumber yard for fencing material. I’ll load the truck myself, and I don’t anticipate having to breathe on anyone or having to stand in anyone’s breath. The news is grim, and the predictions for the rest of this month are worse, and I don’t want anyone I know to be among the statistics. I’ll wear my mask.

    Facebook is my only social media site. I spend more time there than I should, but some of the postings are train wrecks.

    I have written one story in the last week, and I am happy to have the quiet time to do it. It’s a good story. My next story is my best one, and I’m thinking of the plot for my next, my best story.

    Liked by 6 people

      What a great comic strip this would make; kinda like Walt Kelly’s Pogo:
      “I am a capitalist libertarian. The barn cats are democrats. The lead horse is a totalitarian. The honeybees are socialists. My wife and the dog are communists. But even with our differences we all find ways to get along.”

      Liked by 6 people

  8. Has anyone heard from Carl lately? My notifications show the last time he commented on anything I’d read was more than a week ago. I’m becoming concerned.

    Update: I got in touch with him. He’s fine, but needed to step away from the keyboard with white-knuckle pressure work demands and “other issues” about which he declined to “bore [me] with the details.” The important part is, he’s fine.

    Liked by 3 people

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