“I used to be real interesting…”

Screen Shot 2014-11-22 at 1.24.09 PMThe title is a status update I posted in Facebook a few days ago. Since you bothered to pop in to read (thank you, by the way!), perhaps you wonder what was so interesting about me before, or why I am not interesting anymore.

In truth, I’m just about as interesting in person as I ever was, but my online presence has changed. Facebook itself is part of that. Admit it, it is not a good venue for revealing interesting parts of oneself. Facebook asks the question, “What’s on your mind?” instead of “How are you?” But no one really wants to know either. Most people just don’t want to know what you really think, or how you really are. They’re more comfortable with funny video links, or songs, or shared inspirational posters.

Indeed, the most innocuous subjects or comments can create offense, so most people I know avoid even those. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. I’ve offended others with innocuous comments, myself! I’ve also seen bullying, threats, shaming, attempts to ruin reputations, petty fights… and I’ve seen all that between family members. So much for using Facebook as a forum to become closer. It certainly can work that way, but it does not always.

This kind of crap doesn’t really go away in my Facebook world, even though I’ve very deliberately kept my “friends” list very short. All it takes is someone looking to be offended who reads someone else’s thread, and off we go!

The easiest way to avoid that kind of drama is to stick with what people want: pictures of kitties and puppies and babies, recipes, links to videos, and the like. I censor myself more all the time. And in shifting in this direction, revealing less about how I think, I provide a very boring face to the Facebook world. I even bore myself.

In addition, over the last year or so, my focus for writing has shifted to Catbird Quilt Studio. My life is very simple, and I do spend much of my discretionary time on my quilts. This fact, also, may make me seem very narrow and dull.

In fact, however, I think about a lot of different things. I just don’t say much about most of it.

When Jim and I started this blog, it was to create a venue where we could talk about anything we wanted. We wanted no undue censorship, other than that we would provide through our own natural decency. The title of the blog is broad to include the broad range of subjects we study and think about. But recently neither of us has spent a lot of time focused on Our View.

Well, I have a few things to say. And though I won’t be the arbiter of whether I am, or just used to be, “interesting,” I look forward to expressing some parts of me that I’ve censored too much for too long.




18 thoughts on ““I used to be real interesting…”

  1. BJ Good

    Glad you clarified your post about “interesting”. Your topics are more wide ranging than most folks I know which continues to make you a person of interest in my world. And I must re-enforce the comments re: FB posts that are becoming like commercials for me [i.e., they get tuned out] – the inspirational posters, funny video links, recipes with sponsor links, animal/pet photos, & excessive “my grandkids are sooo adorable” pix.

    On a Twitter feed recently I saw this: “important life lesson – don’t read the comments after any article or anything really. just don’t”. The point being that a lot of ugliness gets delivered that does nothing to improve life. Trolling meant slow moving fishing boat when I was a youngster. Now it means something much less pleasant.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Amen. When I read an article on NPR.org — or almost anywhere! — and wade into comments, I almost always regret it. I guess I pick NPR because I have some assumption about the civility of people that usually isn’t borne out. ugh…

      It’s good to have some insight into those parts of people’s lives, too. But often that’s all we get from them, other than those who are intentionally nasty. And I don’t need those people in my life.

      Thanks as always for reading and most importantly thanks for being my friend. This is not the right venue to say so, I’m sure, but I do value you in my life. šŸ™‚

    2. Jim in IA

      Pay attention to BJ. She nailed it with FB being commercials and stuff. Too much useless junk there. And, if you must read comments, stop at 3 tops. The rest devolves into chaos and name calling.

      Hi BJ. Good to see you. šŸ™‚

  2. jimfetig

    Never be intimidated and never back away from what you truly believe. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is almost unique in human history for its ability to empower the least of us when more powerful interests would stifle our voices. I love what you and Jim have to say and observe. While I may sometimes disagree, I will always defend your right to say it.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I don’t let people push me around. But there is a time and place for everything, and Facebook in particular is not right for a lot of meaningful discussion. About much of anything. šŸ™‚

      And yes, I thank you for your defense, now, in the past, and in the future.

  3. laura bruno lilly

    Though I’ve never ‘done’ FB, I totally understand about the wanting to write to stimulate a conversation of sorts on subjects near and dear to one’s (he)art. I’ll be launching my own long pondered ‘serious series’ on my WP.org site after the new year…here’s to us and our venture into our ‘brave new world’!

  4. Miranda Oswald

    Love the idea of the blog. I am the one who always gets sucked into those horrible arguments on FB and you always back me up. šŸ™‚

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I think I’ve told you before, I get in trouble standing up for myself and other people. Makes me tired but I’ll keep doing it! AND I wouldn’t back you up if I didn’t agree with you. šŸ™‚

  5. Neame

    When I was a young person, sometime in the Cretaceous Period, my friends and I talked about anything and everything. We had long and sometimes loud debates over many subjects and while it could get heated no one took offense and all were allowed the gift of their own opinion. I miss that.

    Since then, through painful experience, I have learned to keep my opinions to myself. I, too, have found that not only does no one want to know what you think, they are offended or angered by it. What changed? I do not know. I do know I miss the give and take of a real exchange of views.

    So this is all by way of saying that I find other people’s thoughts interesting, even stimulating. I look forward to reading your posts of substance. Write on!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks so much. I remember that, too. Perhaps we are from the same era?

      I do think that in writing, it is much harder to have an honest exchange. The lack of visual and intonation context make it very hard to interpret others’ words for intent. And of course, we communicate in writing so much more than we do face to face.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.


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