The F-Word

Well, that experiment lasted for a hot minute. In September Goldenrod ventured onto social media, specifically Facebook and Instagram. One month later, a whistleblower released a trove of internal documents showing the extent to which FB places profit over people’s safety and well-being, including children. I won’t repeat any more here since the revelations are nauseating and have been covered extensively. It is not the first time FB has been under fire, but this time the story appears to have staying power.

I was not enthusiastic about using FB for Goldenrod. I have always been uncomfortable with its (lack of) privacy issues and didn’t have a personal account. But the reasons for having a business account seemed sound: connect with your audience where they are, reach potential viewers/clients more easily, network with others, save time by posting to FB and IG simultaneously. I’ve read that over 2.5 billion people use FB. What’s the harm in using it if I’m just sharing about holistic health with a relative handful of people?

I know that I have an overdeveloped sense of… well, let’s call it integrity, shall we? At the beginning of my public service career, I failed the ethics section of my certified internal auditor exam the first go-around. I was stunned when I received the marks. Who unknowingly fails ethics? (“Unknowingly” because I assume if you’re unethical, you’re going to give the answer that the test is looking for, not necessarily the one that you would do in real life, right?) Apparently, I failed because I was too ethical. What the… ?! Whereas I was unwilling to accept any gifts under any situation to avoid the appearance of impropriety or influence, audit standards actually allow gifts under certain circumstances and dollar amounts (like someone buying you a cup of coffee). Ironically, I had missed ethics questions by answering too ethically.

I have tried valiantly to rationalize the use of FB to myself: It isn’t like I’m actively spreading mis- or disinformation or trolling others. Look at all the ethical, moral people who use it, whether personally or for business. Some businesses don’t even have websites; they just refer clients to their FB page. But I put so much effort into it! How can I have a business at this point without using it? After this jumble of justifications, my thoughts then turned to others: But what will people think if I delete my account, especially so soon after launching one? Will they feel like I’m indicting their use of FB? (I’m not.) Will they think I’m hypocritical because I’m still OK with using FB-owned Instagram? (I’m still trying to understand that myself.) Will anyone even really care? How much does the actions of one person in 2.5 billion really matter?

I’ve sat with these thoughts for several days now. Although I tend to live more in my head, I’ve also learned the importance of listening to my body and what’s it’s trying to tell me: When my head hurts, I’m usually dehydrated. When my shoulders ache, I’m figuratively carrying too much and need a break. When my stomach sinks or tightens into knots, it’s a clue that my boundaries have been crossed or I’m somehow not in alignment with my values. Despite my best attempts at talking myself into continuing my FB account, the truth is this FB news makes my stomach turn. I have felt physically uncomfortable for days as I’ve tried to find a path forward that eases my conscience.

So. Based on my literal gut feelings, I will be deactivating my nascent FB accounts (one business account, and one personal account needed to manage it). I am very appreciative of everyone who supported my FB foray and engaged with me. I will retain my IG account (@goldenrod_healing) for now. I enjoy the creative outlet it provides and how much easier it is to peruse and process information than searching on my blog. And apparently my gut doesn’t think it’s as hypocritical a move as my mind does.

These pandemic times have shown me that we are all just trying to find our way. Without shared norms or standards or understanding or facts, we are being pushed to define what matters to us at our core and then act accordingly. What is true for one may not be true for another. Life has taught me time and again that doing something wrong in my own eyes – regardless of what the rules say or whether other people think it’s wrong – does not work for me. Maybe it’s karma or intuition. Perhaps it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy or internal programming or an old belief system. Whatever it is, it is how I’m built and I’m trusting my own sense of ease/dis-ease to help me navigate this time that lacks guideposts.

Thank you again for your flexibility and support as I continue to figure out what aligns with my internal compass. I really appreciate the encouragement and well wishes!