Technology

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg, Are we all internet trolls?

We all need to step back and take a breather

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Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

Facebook is an amazing thing. Keeping in touch with family and friends around the world is priceless. My business also tremendously benefits from the fervent impulse to check out our timelines constantly.

Lately, however, it’s not a healthy place.

Although you have done wonders to curb bullying, harassment and overall unsavory activity, little can be done about unfiltered whining and negative thoughts.

And — I don’t know about your friends — but mine can stir up a storm in a glass of water. Even the ones in professional groups who are supposed to be putting their best face forward are being ugly.

I think we need a time out. You might need to force it upon us. A dark day where Facebook is closed to all.

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During this day, I will spend the time thinking, as experts advise, and take some time to “cool off” and calm down from all the triggers my wall shows me.

I need a refuge from the deluge of “[feeling something] about the election,” “pro and con breastfeeding moms,” “the world is ending” and “you guys need to get over it” posts.

I deeply care for and respect these people that are pelting me with arguments — some of which I agree with, some of which I find reprehensible.

And here’s the thing: I don’t have any interest in living a life surrounded by people who think just like me.

I think variety is the spice of life, and therefore, I enjoy the friendship of many Tupac and Biggie fans — as well as cherish the company of Red Sox fans, even though I am a huge Yankees follower.

But I cannot continue to allow this stream of consciousness in my inner sanctum.

There is no peace. I cannot see a funny cat video without getting immersed into someone’s meltdown about the electoral college, or my neighbors being pissed about a barking dog. (Mine?)

I also cannot continue blocking people because I am starting to run low on people I actually, genuinely like (as human beings).

I don’t know when it happened, but at one point in the past few years, the empty “What’s on your mind” box became a magnet for all of the negative thoughts ever. This is not healthy.

And this is not about who thinks what; this is about common human decency and the point at which social media allows us to be “who we are” and hide between the partial anonymity of the internet.

We are all becoming trolls, and I am starting to get concerned.

Somehow, my Twitter feed is not as toxic a place — maybe because people find it problematic to spew a lot of logic in 140 characters, or maybe it’s because I don’t follow anyone I actually know — and Instagram is just a breather of gorgeousness.

At this point, I would take a full day of posts about fall, pumpkin spice lattes and carefully curated and over-photoshopped blogger photography over a TMI post from my business contact or former boss.

I know it would cost you, personally, $4 million to give us a 24-hour time-out. And that is probably extremely hard to explain to your board and the suits that run the day-to-day of your business.

But we are misbehaving and misusing this gift of technology.

I know I would give my daughter a time-out if she said half — no, a third — of what has been said on my timeline in the past 24 hours.

Save us from ourselves.

With love,

A user since 2007

A note to the reader from the author: Although the odds of Mark Z reading this and complying with my request are slim to none, we still owe ourselves some time for peace and introspection.

I invite you to make this upcoming Nov. 21 Turn Off Facebook Day.

Let’s all take some time together to step away from Facebook for 24 hours, collect our thoughts and reset our tolerance meter.

Then we can see each other again on Nov. 22 and resume being friends.

Email Astrid Storey