Some of you may know I embarked on a social media fast a few months ago. A big part of my recovery has been writing by hand. I am gradually transcribing those pearls of wisdom gleaned from my notebooks, but it’s taking a while. Jumping ahead of my backlog, here is today’s entry, hopefully to be collected with the rest into a treatise tentatively titled Death on Mount Ladyfeels: Reflections of an Internet Scapegoat.
I doubled my daily social media allowance to 30 minutes, in order to promote the May 8 Seder-Masochism screening at the Virginia, and already my addiction is more active. I made an event page on fecebook with fliers and links to the GoFundMe. I posted these on my timeline as well. Of course there are comments and “reactions.” Of course I’m vigilant for counter-reactions: denunciations, protest organizing. Those will take a few days, although I already screen-capped my first denunciation on Twitter, calling out the Virginia for promoting a right-wing white supremacist (that’s what they think I am now).
My impulse is to check the internet to find out “what’s happening” â€” who is reacting to me, to my event, to my film; what are they saying, thinking, doing. They say abuse survivors are “hypervigilant”; it’s a symptom of PTSD. Certainly those being actively abused are. Social media supplies abuse and enables hypervigilance, everything a victim needs to trauma bond with technology. It’s perfect for compulsively monitoring your abusers. Every social subtlety is significant, a cue and a clue to your safety, who will come to your aid and who will betray or condemn you, as Robin Dunbar elaborated in Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language. We constantly need to know where we rank in the hierarchy, who our allies and enemies are, and how those alliances shift. We need not only keep track of our friends and enemies, but our friends’ friends and enemies, and our enemies’ enemies and friends. For this, the human brain was designed; language evolved merely to keep better track of ever-shifting ranks, alliances, and enmities, according to Dunbar. No wonder fecebook is so addictive.