Happy Independence Day

When I severely whittled down the list of people I follow on Twitter this past week, I didn’t really think about the fact that Independence Day was just around the corner. In hind sight, I realize that it truly was fitting, because part of the point was to liberate myself from a great deal of negativity on social media. That statement is not an indictment against anyone – it is all about choices I have been making personally.

I have almost completely extricated myself from the world of politics at this point, and simply have no desire to engage in heated debates with anyone on general politics. As a member of the “none of the above” crowd this election season, I don’t see the point to spending my time keeping up with the latest mudslinging. When I do choose to engage in debate, it is on issues that are close to my heart or my pocketbook, since I do still write on politically charged issues. I know my stands on those issues are not necessarily held by the vast majority of people I had been following on Twitter, so I decided to clean house. That isn’t because I don’t wish to debate with anyone. It is because I know that most Twitter “debates” tend to degenerate into 140-character-tirades.

My philosophy has always been that no one is entitled to their opinion – a concept that was expanded upon years ago by a philosophy professor. That is not to say that people cannot have their own thoughts on important matters. I believe that people should be able to back up their opinions with facts, which doesn’t happen very often on Twitter, if for no other reason, because of the character limits. Another reason why it doesn’t happen there is because of the echo chambers, and the proliferation of agenda driven misinformation on the web. One person explained this very well by pointing out that “the other side” isn’t dumb.

At this point, because of my views on many issues, I have become “the other side” to many people who have followed me on social media for some time. It’s really inaccurate to suggest that this is a sudden change, because it isn’t. The only thing that has really changed is that I have decided to move away from focusing on a lot of issues I don’t really care about, and move into focusing on ones that truly matter to me. Perhaps that is a statement in itself. I have allowed myself to be manipulated for years now, and have essentially prioritized things that I truly do not care about for the sake of “feeding the beast.” I gave the people what I thought they wanted, no matter what I actually cared about.

It’s time for me to stop doing that, of course.

It’s time for me to declare “Happy Independence Day” for myself, and move on to doing what I care about.

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