As a publisher I have a “profile” or public persona. Trust me, the only way it is different than my private persona is that there is filter (scant as it is). As a member of the traditional media I am also compelled to participate in social media. But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.
Happily most have come to the same conclusion that I have:Twitter is useless. I’m not going to discuss Snapchat, except to say that it wasn’t made for me. I don’t understand the allure of ephemeral communications. So I’m not really interested in using it. Accordingly, my kids, and by extrapolation the entire Generation Z, are entirely thankful for that. I’m told that I would really like Instagram - that it would appeal to my inherent snarkiness, love of irony and schadenfreude, but being on Facebook and Instagram seems like one (really two) platforms too many.
Facebook, I’m afraid to say, has long since ceased being cool. The fact that you and I are on it confirms the fact. It’s the tool of the Devil. At its highest (the absolute highest), it’s a way to find out what’s going on with family and casual acquaintances that you wouldn't otherwise be speaking with (because if you were, you’d already know everything that is being posted). At its lowest, Facebook is a divisive echo chamber where like-minded people revel in their like-mindedness. It’s great to find your tribe online. It’s not so great to only hear from them, or assume that because everyone seems to agree there is consensus or some great objective truth.
Betwixt people actually announcing and celebrating milestones and accomplishments worthy of mention, Facebook is a morass of clickbait ads; onenote agenda social, political and religious screeds; advertorial content; cooking demos for foods you’ll never make, nor should you be eating; and polls, quizzes and tests that do not, I assure you, confirm your genius. My celebrity lookalike is not Leonardo DiCaprio. I do not look 30 but have an eternal soul. Contrary to the ubiquitous headlines I not only do “believe what happens next”, I can pretty much always guess what happens next and the payoff in me watching to see what happens next is never, ever there. And that video of the dog dressed as a panda is humiliating for everyone in the process (especially the dog). For people who have to use social media commercially - by that I mean businesses who brand, market or try to generate sales, it’s just “one more thing” that needs to be done during the ever-lengthening work day. We’re all required to be publishers now, whether we want to or not.
I don’t mind being a publisher in the real world. It can be very rewarding. As can reading the fruits of the labour...like this issue of Tonic. We continue with our new column all about medical marijuana. Michael Murchison explains why attempting to grow your own cannabis might be more difficult than you think (p.31).Our new nutrition writer, Claire LeGresley shares her thoughts on mindful eating (p.39) and we welcome back Jean Eng as our resident beauty expert, who this month helps you recognize the steps of aging (p.22). As always, if there’s anything you want to discuss about this note or anything else in this issue, please feel free to contact me (but perhaps not on Facebook).