Safe Places (Online)

Safe Places (Online)

I’m not a fan of Facebook. I like being able to stay in touch with friends in other places, and it’s a good place for my friends in the area to have a little message group for board game nights and other hangouts, but beyond that, I am not a fan.

It’s not Facebook’s fault. I know people blame social media, smart phones, and other things for a loss of time and a thinning of deeper thoughts, but the technology isn’t to blame — it’s the people who use it.

More to the point, how they use it.

Sick of My Own Causes

We’ve all seen political rants and shouts for a cause online by those we don’t agree with, but can the calls to action for even the things you believe in get old? I can only speak for myself, and the answer is a resounding yes!

I don’t eat animals; I don’t believe in any gods, but I don’t want to see a parade of slaughterhouse photos or angry atheist rants in my feed
. I’m not fan of Monsanto, but the same people who tell others to check Snopes before posting political rants apparently don’t check Snopes before posting rants about GMOs and other things. The very people trying to force a view are often the people who scream the loudest when the “other side” tries forcing a view — same tactics; different sides.

After awhile, I get sick of even causes I believe in because it’s all I see in my Facebook feed all day, even after hiding the worst offenders and creating groups with people who generally post positive things.

Politics and the cause du jour always seem to seep in.

Refuge Among the Madness

Google+ and Tumblr have become my refuge from the madness. They are two places where I can go online and walk away feeling good about things — inspired, even. Google+ is where I mostly see people into photography, podcasting, and new media. Tumblr is for art and some publishing stuff.

I’ve mentioned that I like Google+, Tumblr, and even Twitter more than Facebook, and most of the people I know don’t understand why. For me, having these safe places online, places where I can go to find inspiration and talk with people more concerned about making things than arguing, is a refuge. I see people sharing the efforts of their hard work on Google+ and Tumblr more than on Facebook and some other places online. It’s a reminder that most people with an Internet connection have an opportunity most of the world doesn’t: to make a better life for themselves if they so choose.

It’s sad that so many people spend their free time arguing and pushing causes online that only seem to bring them stress. Sadder still that they feel the need to share that with the world instead of all they could be…


  1. I’ve got to give Google+ more of a chance, especially after hearing your experience.

    I love the idea of being around people more interested in making things than arguing. I also appreciate the opinion about all the causes people push (I’ve been guilty of that, but then again, I’ve been guilty of that since high school and got all fired up by something and then stoked by ex-activist teachers!). I wouldn’t do that (now) in person with my friends, so why would I do that virtually?

    You’re right, it’s not the technology, it’s how it’s being used. People are still adapting to it, and that includes the ethics and etiquette of how to use new technology.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. Christopher Gronlund says

    Thank you for the reply, Ivan — I hope all is well with you.

    Google+ inspires me because the people I know who complain a lot on Facebook complain about how lame G+ is, so they don’t go there 🙂 I mostly follow podcasters, photographers, and people into new media. A few writers in there as well. Since it doesn’t come with the expectation of Facebook (i.e. “We know each other; therefore, if you don’t follow me, you’ll hear about it!”). If someone follows me and I look at their feed and it’s about writing peppered with angry politics…I won’t hear about it if I don’t follow back. With Twitter, I felt compelled to follow people back, and because of that, there’s a lot of noise in my feeds. It’s remedied by lists, but still…it grew out of control for me, and I’ve never taken the time to clean it up across all devices/platforms. So G+ (and Tumblr) are two places that are always positive.

    It’s interesting how people use social media. I can post something about creating things on Facebook, and there are a handful of people who like it. Sometimes, there might be some discussion. But as you once saw, mention a quirky thing you noticed in traffic, and suddenly people reply because they can fume about others. You can try steering things back to the point (in that case, that people seem so rushed in all aspects of life that simply waiting for a light to change makes them anxious, which I find heartbreaking), and you’ll have that person who replies, “It’s because people are idiots!” That’s not how I choose to spend my time, so I prefer other places online over Facebook, despite how great Facebook has been with putting people in touch with people they lost track of.

  3. I’ve had a hard time with Tumblr–mainly because my introduction to it has been several blogs that have poor design: small fonts, no clear navigation…However, I’ve also found a few Tumblr blogs that are great fun (note to self: focus on those).

    I did a major edit with Twitter, which was nice because it thinned my stream to what I wanted to read, and then promptly ignored my Twitter accounts (I actually have two, one for art, one for psychology). After I read about your use of it, I checked into it again–but the message from you seems to be that G+ rules! 🙂

    I’m going to check it out again. My first thought when it was coming online was, Not Another Social Network. However, all the perks you mentioned are perks that I like!

    Take care,


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