I Don’t Do That Podcast (With Ocho)
It didn’t take much for Marsha to realize that social media was not her cup of tea. As an outsider, observing the rise of these technologies has made her happy to be free of them! It has also given her concern for a humanity that may be losing its humanness. In this episode, we get in touch with Marsha’s hands-on, flesh-and-blood lifestyle.
Ocho: You’re listening to “I Don’t Do That, a lifestyle podcast with me, Ocho. I get to talk to lots of different people about all of the things they don’t do, and you get to hear what they say.”
[theme music plays] “na-na-na-I Don’t Do That…You know it’s alright you can ask, but I don’t do that, no, I don’t do that. I don’t do that….”
Ocho: Episode 3
Marsha: I mean, at the end of the day, we are, like, flesh and blood.
Ocho: Episode 3 is “I don’t use social media.” We’re joined via landline today with Marsha, who doesn’t use social media. Marsha is an art teacher in the northwestern United States. She’s in her early 40s, and she identifies herself as female and Caucasian. Marsha, I’m very happy to talk to you today, and I’d just like to get into it if we can.
Ocho: Will you tell me about what history you have with social media, If any. Have you ever used it?
Marsha: Ok, So I have a friend that contacted me I wanna say, 13-14 years ago, who said ‘hey, a lot of us are using facebook to stay in touch,’ because he was an old college friend of mine that I didn’t live near at the time, and I still don’t, and then I asked another friend that was in closer proximity to help me, like, set up a Facebook page. I seem to recall, but I don’t know who helped me set it up. But then my use was really limited. And I never posted a picture of myself, but I do seem to remember that other people posted pictures of me on the page. So, I’m not real knowledgeable about it, but that’s something that’s done?
Ocho: For sure. Yup.
Marsha: Okay, and I had a couple of friends that I hadn’t talked to in many years because at this time, I’m in college, and these are people from way back in high school in a different state, and “OMG! Marsha! I haven’t talked to you in forever!” Like, “I totally want to know what’s up with you,” right? And they did it on like a messenger thing on the facebook page. Similar to like, an email, but, like on the facebook page. So I emailed back like “hey! great to hear from you ,and here’s kind of what I’ve been up to, and what about you? What have you been up to?” but then I didn’t even get, like, responses. I think this happened with a couple people, and I thought, maybe this isn’t really a great way to keep in touch with people. Maybe I should try to contact them in a more direct format. I also had—and I really think I only ever went on to my page a handful of times—but I had a friend, well see, she was somebody where we had a kind of falling out, growing apart, sort of thing, where I really didn’t want to hear from this person again, no real hard feelings, just I’ve moved on, you know? And I get like “hey, will you friend me? So great to find you on this thing, and I felt kind of like oh well see it’s mean or rude maybe not to friend her, but I don’t really, really, want to.
Ocho: You don’t feel like you’re friends with her. You’re not really friends.
Marsha: Yeah, and so the whole thing seemed a little awkward to me, and just basically, after only just checking out my page a handful of times, probably less than 10 times ever in my life, I just decided I wasn’t going to use it anymore.
Ocho: I’ve heard from a lot of people that social media is pretty insincere? I mean, that might be like what you’re getting at. Would you say that that speaks to what you’re saying?
Ocho: Ok, and maybe that’s what drove you away from it. It’s like, people are, they’re actually going out of their way to send you a direct message and ask you what’s up, and then they don’t keep in touch with you. And then they don’t reply to you when you tell them.
Marsha: Right? So, insincere perhaps in some situations there.
Ocho: Then somebody else wants to have you in their network. But doesn’t, isn’t really friends with you, and maybe you didn’t part on good terms and they don’t, uh, you’re not friends, right?
Marsha: Right. And then it didn’t necessarily feel very personal or direct.
Ocho: Yep so is it fair to say that then after that you just sort of fell off and you were like “that’s not for me.” Is that kind of what you’re doing?
Marsha: Yeah, and people who’s, like, email addresses I had, I emailed, and said I would prefer email contact or a phone call, here’s my phone number, um, and then the only other time I ever have been on facebook since then—and that was back like I said, like 12 years ago or something, maybe the last time I ever checked it out—was just to go like to I say I want to look at a local hair salon or restaurant or something. It provides free advertising for people. So sometimes that’s how I can find their menu or their hours of operation or something.
Ocho: Sure. I was going to ask you that too. So you do sometimes use Facebook as just a tool to get information, you’ll look at it at a public page or something like that
Marsha: Yeah, just kind of by default, because that kind of how, that’s a primary means that some businesses will use and so to find out…
Ocho: Yeah, I mean, I have more traffic on my facebook page, than like on my website, and I would say that’s my primary source of getting my stuff out there myself for my own business.
Marsha: Right. And so I’m an artist. I’ve considered even maybe setting up a page to advertise my art. My husband owns a small business. We’ve kind of talked more about his business, setting up a page to advertise for his business. So that’s something that we’ve considered. We haven’t really taken any steps towards at this time.
Ocho: Yep. But it isn’t off the table. You think that it might be strategic at some point, you think it might be useful?
Ocho: but as it, is it doesn’t sound like you really are into using it for socializing at all.
Ocho: And that makes sense to me. So what was it like to stop? Did anyone notice? Did anyone say anything? Did you feel anything?
Marsha: No, [laughs] I didn’t hear from anyone about, like, it at all. But I think, such I had such a limited use of it, sort of to begin with….
Ocho: So it was pretty unceremonious stopping, but how does it look to you from the outside? Like when you see students or peers or somebody like taking a picture of their lunch or a selfie or just having their head on their phone all the time or on a computer screen?
Marsha: Ok, yeah, so I’m artist and an art teacher. And we’ve had…this is my 10th year teaching. I teach at middle school and high school grade levels and we’ve had a couple of days where no students. I mean, virtually, no, I shouldn’t say none, okay, but a very limited number of students—maybe out of a class of 25, two people show up. Because of some kind of threat on social media
Marsha: So this has affected public education in a very real way. I also have seen you know, distress in students based on bullying, online bullying. We’re had training seminars on online bullying and you know I actually had a sexual harassment issue come up with a student who was photographing my rear end without my knowledge. Posting it, and inappropriate comments posted with it. I would not have known, being someone who doesn’t use social media, but, like a student told me that she saw it. You know I had I had something where someone did drink some paint water, right, on a dare where It was posted on Snapchat. And it was without my knowledge that it had been videotaped or that the student was drinking it, ok?
Ocho: Was this in your class, then, that happened
Marsha: In my classroom. I do work really hard to observe the behavior of all of my students and be engaged with them, but I think teachers are human at the end of the day. And so we miss some things, right
Ocho: Of course. I’ve played a lot of pranks on teachers. I don’t have any experience working in a classroom. I haven’t been in school in a long time. So you’re in a small town. What kind of threat is posted on social media that’s going to prevent kids from going to school
Marsha: You know, the type of threat that the student was planning to bring a gun to school. And then there was something called—and you have to understand this is all from an outsider. There is so much I don’t understand about the programs and how to use them, because I don’t use them. But there was some kind of threat, and then there was a post…concerned parent, a bunch of other concerned parents, posting additionally, and then everybody’s like, “well, I’m not sending my kids to school tomorrow, and that just spreads and nobody’s sending their kid except for a very limited number of people. And there was a different time, this other situation where it happened, where it was a like, tiktok challenge. So it was like a nationwide, my understanding was, there was like low attendance all over the country that day because of a violent TikTok challenge to shoot up your school.
Ocho: Oh wow. Myself not having kids and not being involved in that world, there’s a lot of stuff I don’t hear about.
Marsha: I don’t, you know I don’t have, because I can’t, and I wouldn’t want to tell anyone else how to live their life. And if it’s something that helps them feel connected, and they enjoy it for entertainment, whatever…I don’t pass judgment on that. I have seen in my life, like I was giving examples, as an educator, some real problems come up that have kind of risen from it. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t also accomplish good. It doesn’t really fit in with my worldview because I’m admittedly mistrustful of new technology, and I think that’s one side of it. And then another thing is, as an educator, we hear a lot at staff meetings “be very very careful what you post on social media. Do not tell anyone…don’t even mention that you’re a teacher,” I’ve heard that. “Don’t tell them what district you work for, don’t tell them anything.” Because there’s confidentiality issues that are very important to my profession, so the fact that I already didn’t like using it just worked to my advantage, because I’m just like, “I don’t like it anyway.” But yeah, it has, even though I opt out, it has presented some real problems, right, in my work environment. So there’s that.
Ocho: Yeah, I can see that. I can’t imagine like when I was going to school, if I was in middle school or high school or something, being afraid. It was a different time and place, you know…I’m in my mid-40s now and I can’t imagine someone just being able to scare me off from going to school forever, kind of?
Marsha: Yeah and so I’m in my early 40s, so we’re in a similar generation and I know that sometimes classifications are kind of arbitrary, right, but I was reading about people born in the late 70s and early 80s being described as the Oregon Trail generation, so after the Gen-X but before the millennials. So these are people like us, who came of age during a time when there was a huge shift in communication technology. And so I think because I have this fond memory of my analog childhood, I still prefer a lot old technologies to new technologies. I’ve also heard of our generation referred to as The Lucky Ones, that was in an article I read, because a lot of people didn’t really get the luxury of like knowing what privacy felt like in 1985 or something. It’s like a different animal now.
Ocho: I miss that. I can’t walk down the street. It’s the truth. My phone is in my pocket. Google knows where I am. There’s cameras everywhere that are taking pictures. For security and so on. Yeah I really can’t walk down the street. It’s like, I’m located. You know? I’m being being photographed and yeah, there really isn’t privacy. Like there used to be.
Marsha: And I’m concerned sometimes with the way that shyness or maybe like an introspective-type personality is painted as something that needs to be overcome and that if you want privacy, then maybe you’re up to some nefarious activities because honestly, that’s not necessarily the case and people should be entitled to private matters, right? We don’t necessarily know where that information’s going, and we don’t necessarily consent. We have these tools. And with that comes enormous amounts of responsibility. And the people in charge aren’t necessarily using them towards a greater good. And so that’s a concern.
Ocho: How do you imagine your life might be different if you did use social media. Do you think it would be better in any way?
Marsha: I do have to use a computer for my job and sometimes for my own curiosity and research. And I feel often depleted after looking at a screen. There’s something about it. It’s kind of hypnotic, but I also feel like it’s energy zapping. So I prefer not to, if I can, I’d rather write by hand than type something. Sometimes I just write it out by hand, and then type it afterward because in its own way, it’s more efficient for me to do it that way and more enjoyable. So, I’m not really tempted in any way to like engage in social media.
Ocho: Let me ask you this. Okay, there are certain things like the internet for example. You were around before the internet was public and you had never used it. And now I think it’s fair to say you can’t get through your life without it, at least a little bit. Sometimes.
Marsha: I mean, me personally? Like yeah I wouldn’t be able to live the life that I currently lead without using the internet so that’s correct.
Ocho: Yeah so I mean there are still people on the Earth and in this country and so on who don’t have the internet and don’t use it so we can say that, but for you yourself. So what if social media were to become like that? Where in some way like you could limit your use of it, but you could never completely turn it off. Can you imagine how that might change your life, or would you prefer not to think about that?
Marsha: For some reason, to me, the more I have to engage with new technologies, the lesser the quality of my life, is how I feel personally. I know some people are totally into it, and it’s their livelihood even, and it’s what they enjoy the most in the world, and I don’t begrudge them it. I think we do have to consider the responsibility end of the situation, because it might not be for everyone, and I think it’s important to allow for alternative lifestyle choices, if people want to make those. So I’m concerned about it kind of infiltrating every aspect of our lives to the point where it’s increasingly difficult to opt out of, and people don’t feel like they have a choice anymore. For example, with public education, we’ve seen in the advent of new technologies, an increase in standardized testing via the computers, and of course covid issued in a bunch of distance learning via the computers, and we also have kids socially connecting through their device, and so we have some crazy amount of hours some children are logging in front of a screen, as opposed to making genuine, maybe a bit more human…you know, like, you can have a connection—I’m not saying you can’t—over a computer, but what about looking in someone’s eyes, what about holding someone’s hand? What about giving someone a hug, you know? Like what about just sitting at the dinner table across from them and talking? I think we need to allow for that. That needs to be part of it because, as a friend of mine said, we have like, there’s a virtual reality, and then there’s reality. Yeah, we don’t want to give up totally on the reality. I don’t think.
Ocho: No. I would hope not as well. You know, it kind of begs a question to me, like how much control does anyone or all of us or any of us have over what we do with our technology. Like the only thing that would stop us from going fast, for example, like in a car, or maybe as fast as we can, would be if something stopped us like if there was a fuel shortage, or an electromagnetic pulse from space that stopped everything from working. Something like that. But I don’t see any voluntary voluntary sacrifice of something that is convenient and immediately enjoyable to us, like going fast or like, checking up on somebody, seeing a picture of them and their face and finding out what they did today. All that stuff, like giving it up after you have it I think is a difficult thing.
Marsha: As much as people are dependent on their new technologies, and they, you know, sometimes will say they enjoy, which I’m sure they do, but there’s also this, I feel like a lot of times I hear a love/hate thing going on with computers and phones and so on. And at the end of the day, we are flesh and blood, and so, at least for right now. Some people like, you know, there’s like that whole back to the land movement…I think some people, even if it means working harder, would prefer that to, say, maybe some alternative way of accomplishing a thing. It can be hard to be an outlier on a social norm, especially with something like technology, which is equated with progress, but it’s not always progress. And like you’re saying, it’s hard once we’ve got something going, to like, go back, but I think when we’re looking at the kind of catostrophic climate change that we’re looking at, we have, you know, we are like maxing out power grids in California because of this dependence on AC because of this incredible heat wave. So we might see more of that kind of thing. Like “oh gee, now I wish I knew which plants were edible. I wish I knew how to find fresh water, or whatever. I mean, not to make light of it. But there might be some things that force us back to like, kind of away from some of these technologies.
Ocho: Sure. I do you think that the technology could help us with that too? I mean, I know if I’m trying to forage for something, and I’m not that adept at it, but especially I know people who do, they have an app where they can just point their phone at a plant and it’ll tell him what it probably is, You know? It’ll identify it…
Marsha: Yeah, I’ve seen that. I really enjoyed that. So, great. right? So, I had a couple plants, my friend was over, I said, hey, What is it? What is it like? All of a sudden I know! Right, because she’s got the app, can take the picture, and that is cool. And also, talking about people that are outliers of a norm, say, you know I have some transgender students in this small town, but they can find allies online, on these different platforms, so maybe it helps with the depression, and feeling like “nobody understands me,” because then we can find friends right? And connect. So it’s really saving lives and helping people live more fully on one hand. But then on the other can be very, like, ugly if used like in the wrong way.
Ocho: And ultimately, I mean, I agree with you on those points, and this discussion, I think to sum it up, it’s just not for you. And it’s not for you right now. And you’re not completely closed off to the idea that it could be. But what you’ve seen of it is not for you. And you don’t really need it. Am I right about all that
Marsha: Yeah and I mean, I like to play outside. And I like to get my hands dirty and I like to make messes I’m just a real hands-on. That’s what I like, you know, I like that. And if I’m connecting with a human, the ideal situation is like in person. That’s the best.
Ocho: Yeah. Are you getting that in your life?
Marsha: I feel like yes and I you know I’ve always been someone who prefers a few close friends to like a whole lot of acquaintances, say, but it’s kind of my job requires me to be a lot more social that even I would prefer to me
Ocho: I hear that.
Marsha: But I have my family, and I have a few close friends, and I guess in this town I feel like I would love to forge more relationships with people my age who have children, kind of around my kids’ ages because that really facilitates a lot of fun play dates and stuff, and I can still connect with the adult whole the kids are playing this each other/. And that’s one thing that I fell is kind of lacking because a lot of my friends in town here are kind of an older generation, so it’s not like their kids can play with my kids while we’re hanging out. So it’s not perfect, but I was reading some study where it’s like almost 40 percent of Americans are lonely. could believe that a lot of us feel lonely at different times.
Ocho: Sure [laughs]
Marsha: I don’t know, I mean, who knows? Studies can say all kinds of things; I don’t know how big the poll was or anything. But I can believe that a lot of us feel lonely at different times.
Marsha: And I don’t really feel like for me personally that social media is going to like, resolve that if I’m feeling lonely. So…
Ocho: It kind of begs the question to me, what if there was a Facebook group that was for people in your town that had kids and it was focused on organizing things for them, like play dates and so on. Events.
Marsha: [laughs] It could be good. I feel like it could be good. It might might not be good though…
Ocho: Right. I mean, the whole thing is supposed to be good, right, and there are times when it’s obviously not good. so, yeah. One thing that has been good the whole time, though, is talking Marsha, so thank you for being here today.
[theme music plays]
Ocho: Thank you. Thank you all for listening too. Please visit idontdothatpodcast.com/give to make a donation in the amount of your choosing. That’s idontdothatpodcast.com/give. It would help us very much, and to show our appreciation, we give you access to exclusive content with a donation of any amount. Thanks for listening to I Don’t Do That. I’m Ocho, your host, chief engineer and producer. I also composed and performed the theme song. Background music was performed throughout today’s episode by Peter Klug. Shout out to our sponsor Anders with PrimeTime Web. Much gratitude to Marsha, today’s guest, who reminds us to stay human.
We’re out here sharing our stories to celebrate the diversity of human experience. My name is Ocho and I’ll talk to you again. …if I’m lucky.
Marsha: I’m concerned sometimes with the way that shyness or maybe like an introspective-type personality is painted as something that needs to be overcome, and that if you want privacy, then maybe you’re up to some nefarious activities. Because honestly, that’s not necessarily the case, and people should be entitled to private matters. Right?
Ocho: Do you have an interesting heartfelt or entertaining story about something that you don’t do? If you’d like to be a guest on I Don’t Do That, Please visit ochotunes.com/guest to apply to be a guest on our show.