Columns for The Lufkin News

Social Media Diet for the New Year

Posted Jan 05, 2016 by Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

I have resolved to start a new diet this year. Not the typical food diet, mind you – there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I am going on a social media diet.

When Facebook first came out, I signed up in order to keep up with my kids. They have long since moved on from Facebook. Instagram and especially Snap Chat are more the rage now. Meanwhile, I still troll Facebook’s News Feed several times a day looking for the occasional gem in the garbage can of posts and reposts. I guess I feel compelled to know what is going on in the lives of people I care about. Unfortunately, what most people share is not in the least what I care about.

You know exactly what I mean. I am happy to “like” a post about a significant event in someone’s life, be it a birthday, anniversary, or other meaningful milestone. But please don’t tell me about your bodily complaints, the thing your pet did that was only cute to you, or – hear me now, football fans – play by play about UT, A&M, Dallas Cowboys, or any other team. Think before you post: Is this post worthy of being eternally stored and linked to your name in the Cloud?

For every meaningful, personal post, I have to scroll through a dozen or more platitudes or opinions that only make me feel sorry for the person who wasted their time sharing such meaningless drivel. Even religious posts that may be important to you in the moment rarely have an impact on others. And I fear 2016 – with a presidential election around the corner – is going to be filled with poisonous arrows back and forth between staunch conservatives and bleeding liberals, whose posts are designed to demean and belittle their opponents (and by extension, their supporters). I want no part of that.

After my kids moved on from Facebook, Instagram became the draw. It still bothers me that every time I want to enlarge an Instagram post, my double tapping the photo (a la iPhone) I end up “liking” the photo instead. Then there is Twitter. @justinbieber has 72.4M followers, and is following 247.5K. I, on the other hand, have a measly 110 followers, most of whom I don’t know (and therefore I wonder why they follow me). To be honest, there is nothing (or no one) I follow that provides information I can’t get elsewhere, and there is nothing so urgent that a tweet would change anything I do.

Finally, there are the KTRE and Lufkin News app notifications that pop up on my phone. I tweeted KTRE at one point, saying (in 140 characters or less), “@KTREnews you send out too many alerts. I’ll give you one a day; make it a meaningful one! #wasteoftime” KTRE actually “liked” that tweet, but they still send out too many alerts.

I must admit, I made a conscious decision with both Instagram and Twitter to limit the number of people I follow. Even so, contemplating a social media diet is giving me angst. What will I miss? Who will notice if I don’t wish them Happy Birthday or “Like” their post? But that insecurity is simply pride. I know who I am and who my friends are, and I don’t need Facebook to confirm that for me.

Will I delete these apps entirely? I don’t think so. Will I restrict my viewing and posting? Absolutely. Just don’t judge me when you read this column after it is tweeted and posted on Facebook. It is a diet, after all, not total starvation.

Your First Visit

What to expect on your first consultation

Get Started >

Centers

Learn about the Temple Cancer Center at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial

See Our Center >

Radiation Therapy

Find answers to common questions about radiation therapy

View the FAQ >

Meet Our Team

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR

Radiation Oncologist

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Madelene Collier, RN, OCN

Radiation Oncology Nurse

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Jewel Randle, RT (R)(T)

Lead Radiation Therapist

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Aimee Salas, RT (T)

Radiation Therapist

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Josh Yarbrough, RT (R)(CT)(T)

Radiation Therapist

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Julie McClain, RT (R)(T)

Dosimetrist

Linda Miller, MS

Linda Miller, MS

Medical Radiation Physicist

Evelyn Leach

Evelyn Leach

Receptionist