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Fears, Social Media, and Silence


What do you fear? Despite the surplus of rhetoric that tells you to limit fear’s control of your behaviors, some fears make sense. Listening to your fears could be the difference between life and death.

For example, you should not jump from a skyscraper without a parachute. Ignore your fear of heights in this situation, and you will get injured at best; death is the more likely outcome.

I continue to wrestle with the fear of missing out. #fomo

This week, I took a break from social media. I didn’t sign in to Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn. My wife and I use WhatsApp, which means I couldn't let go of it, but I muted notifications in several groups.

One of the challenges I encountered in the past seven days included ignoring the belief that I am losing “friends." In reality, when my family moved abroad in 2016, I lost contact with many of the friends I grew up with in Chicago. Social media has only enabled superficial relationships to continue.

How did I keep up with the news?

I went directly to the sources to find out about current events. Through legit media outlets, I learned that the acceptance of vaccines empowered some communities to experience a degree of pre-corona life for the Memorial Day holiday in the States. I also read about how the burning of Black Wall Street is returning from the ashes to remind America of past atrocities that continue to plague communities of color today.

Here in Antigua, a major grocery store caught fire, and a fire chief is under investigation for stealing money from the safe. We've also experienced progress with more residents accepting the vaccine and steps toward removing corporeal punishment practices from schools.

Yes, it is possible to stay connected and informed without social media. If you don’t believe me, try taking a few days off.

While you’re taking a break, read Jaron Lanier’s book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Now. The book helped me to delete my Twitter accounts and several apps from my phone.

Despite feeling that I put #fomo in a headlock by withdrawing from social media, other fears lingered.

Are you ready to resume traveling?

I am in no rush to get on a plane. The persistent risks of coronavirus infection outweigh the opportunity to visit family, friends, and any of the world’s famous relics in person. This choice is not an easy decision.

This year my father turns 70, and my family is hosting a party for him in his hometown of Kansas City, Kansas. My wife and I do not believe that traveling with three small children during a pandemic is a good look. We plan to stay in Antigua and send virtual gifts without the virus risk.

That is unless our computers get hacked...

My point in sharing these words with you in this blog post is to get you thinking about your fears. Yes, there are some fears you should ignore, like missing out on an opportunity related to social media activity. There are other fears with potential life consequences that you should listen to that involve your safety.

If Viola Fletcher, one of the last remaining Black Wall Street victims, decided to face the white mob violence and remain in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we would not have her testimony today. Fletcher’s fears spurred actions that enabled today’s opportunity to demonstrate the impact of racially charged violence.

Will Tulsa or Biden’s administration’s proposal provide some form of compensation that will rectify the past injustice? Chances are slim, but if the fat wallets of politicians have money to fund wars, they can find resources for communities destroyed by racial violence. No? Well, one can dream and continue doing work with the potential for supporting change.

I will not share this post on social media, but you can whenever you get a moment. More time is necessary to determine if I want to continue showing up on Facebook and Instagram. For now, I am enjoying the silence.

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