Blake Dowling: Social media distancing

Office worker throwing his smartphone away while having a rest
You don’t have to tell people you are taking a break. Just do it.

Keeping 6 feet apart is not just a good rule in real life. A little digital space is just as important. Toxic messaging on social platforms can spread just as fast as a real-life virus.

We all know this, but things on social platforms can get out of control fast, seeping into every facet of our lives.

Have you seen a message from a friend (or perhaps a public figure) saying: “It’s time for me to take a break from social sites; during this time, please respect my privacy.”

When I see these notes, I cringe a bit and at once think of the Progressive ad and Dr. Rick teaching people how not to become your parents, such lines as “was I hashtagging?” “with all these pillows, there is no place to sit” “you don’t know that person.” What a genius campaign.

This trip to “House World” with the group is one of the best in the series.

You don’t have to tell people you are taking a break. Just do it. Just like Dr. Pillows says, “no one cares.”

Dial it down on your own time, come back when you wish. I love a couple of days off Twitter, as it does get noisy.

Here is better advice than removing yourself: How about dropping a few toxic people off social platforms? That’s a great exercise.

Think of it as a social audit.

If the person does not make you laugh, inform, educate, inspire, etc., then cut them loose. You do not have to be exposed to know-it-all loudmouth political rants, food pics, dogs, cats, thrash metal (you get the idea) if you do not want to be. Unfollow and move on.

These sites were designed as a messaging platform — to share info/news, expand your brand or business, be social in the digital space and stay connected with friends and family.

I don’t think anyone had any idea what Twitter and Facebook would become by 2021.

How about a social roundup of the latest headlines to see what’s up as we move into Month 2 of this wonk year?

First, free speech.

WJHG in Panama City reports that bills have already been filed for the upcoming Legislative Session on the topic of “free speech” here in Florida, specifically tech companies banning individuals from their sites, like the former President of the United States.

Our Governor also weighed in this week on the social media giant’s behavior in recent months, as reported by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Next, social platforms can drive the stock market.

What in the world was that last week with GameStop and the 93% surge in stock value?

Misuse of social sites can land you in jail as well. Last week, a Florida man was arrested for misuse of social platforms regarding the 2016 election; the details are listed here from the Department of Justice.

Additionally, as the vaccination process continues, there’s misinformation all over social media, as well as scams. You can read about that study here.

What’s a person to do, former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson said this past week that she is done with the social sites (see above advice on that). Just do it, Pam, don’t be so dramatic.

Studies show that the “cold turkey” method Pam is taking usually fails; you eventually go back to the sites and start all over. If you think you are spending too much time on social media sites, if they make you mad, frustrated, sad, etc., consider a detox (great advice here). If that does not work, go for the cold turkey.

Much of this advice is not applicable if social media is part of your line of work. So, in those cases, suck it up and stick to business. Remember what Dr. Rick has to say: “No one cares.”

In fact, maybe go the other way and get on the waiting list for the new exclusive audio-only social platform called Clubhouse. Who doesn’t want to hear Elon Musk and other celebs ramble about all things?

Sign me up, and yes, “we all see it, we all see it, he has blue hair.” #HASHTAGGINGSUCCSS


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies and is guilty as charged of posting nonsense on social sites: Drink pics by the fire, old college pics, too many sunset pics, food pics, etc. This will, unfortunately, continue, so please unfollow if necessary. He can be reached at [email protected].

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at [email protected] or at


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