How To Fail At Everything
And Come Out a Better Person For It
Earlier this week, I went viral for a text that I sent to my dad. Now, I would like to go viral with my apology to him. It went viral because I wanted it to. I took an emotional moment in my life and framed it in a specific way because I wanted to trigger a response. And I did. I got a lot of responses. Mostly negative, because that is what I wanted to feed off of. I read a lot of the feedback I received. And I received a lot.
And then I started watching The Social Dilemma. And it struck me. I was trying to prevent others from being manipulated by manipulating them. And I was doing this because I had the ability to, through social networks. And I let that go to my head. I am sorry to everyone who experienced that. It made me truly realize the incredibly destructive power that social media can provide. It sucked me into doing the very same behaviors I thought I was fighting. As someone who tends toward the liberal end of the spectrum, please appreciate the irony when I say I realized this when I found out I had made the Rush Limbaugh show. I realized that polarizing behavior was what social media emphasises, and it caught me too. I have been trying to write from a personal perspective, offering my view of the world to others freely. But I started publishing to social media. I was trying to build a following. I started trying to influence people to read my writing. And I did. But I shouldn’t have. And that is the problem with social media. It gives us the ability to do things like that. Who am I to wield that kind of power over anyone’s behavior?
So I want to offer this instead. I apologized to my dad in person. I screwed up with him, and I owned that. I am ok with making mistakes because that is the best way to learn. But my dad did teach me growing up that it is better to own your mistakes and make them right. So I screwed up in a big way. And I am going to apologize in a big way. And when I apologize, I like to do so in a specific way.
- Admit the mistake — I screwed up by trying to influence others through social media.
- Apologize — Sorry that I influenced your thoughts and actions via social media.
- Prevent the mistake in the future — I deleted all of my social media accounts. They were toxic to my life. I found balance in my life through my writing and lost it when I started to involve social media.
I invite everyone to examine the role social media plays in their lives. I realized it was a toxic presence in mine, and decided to remove it. I will continue to write through Medium, and share my personal experiences here. But I will no longer be involving social media. It came very close to ruining my life. I refuse to let it do that.
Edit: Adding a link to the Center for Humane Technology