On the Sanity-Preserving Qualities of Hangy-Downy Thingies

Illustration created from Two pugilists from the San Francisco Call, 1896 CC by johnny_automatic and Facebook logo CC Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Illustration created from Two pugilists from the San Francisco Call, 1896 CC by johnny_automatic and Facebook logo CC Share Alike 3.0 Unported

When I mention hangy-downy thingies, as I did in the headline above, what sort of image begins to form in your mind? If you’re a visual person like myself, I can only imagine – and I have. Let me just assure you that the hangy-downy thingy to which I am referring is not a human appendage. This may either give you some relief or disappoint you. I’m not judging.

If you are a font-loving nerd like me, you may be thinking of descenders on the “g”, the “p” or the “y”. But again, that’s not where I’m headed.

My current favorite hangy-downy thingy is the caret in the upper right corner of a Facebook post in your newsfeed. You know the newsfeed? That’s where you’re fed all the vacation photos, shared news articles, witty repartee, and wisdom packed into neat little graphic packages that those you chose to be “friends” with wanted to share with the public. You are their public. But sometimes you wish you weren’t that person’s public.

I posted to my own timeline yesterday that the hangy-downy thingy is saving me some grief, for when clicked on, this drop-down menu contains one of my favorite things ever: “I don’t want to see this.” Making this choice takes care of the immediate problem of having to see – in your newsfeed – your neighbor’s or your co-worker’s (maybe she makes the best muffins!) opinion that, oh, say, if everyone carried guns, we’d have no more gun problem. Or the one that got me in a debate a couple years ago that I couldn’t win because instead of debating me, she vague-booked me: The gist was that hospitals/doctors kill more people than guns do.

Vague-booking? Oh, that’s where, instead of responding to your civilized comment with her well-thought out opinion on her own thread where she originally posted the graphic (guns vs. hospitals), this person made a completely separate post calling out some people who were unreasonable or some such thing. Yes, I responded there, too. The whole thing gave me heart palpitations, and for a fairly sedentary person, I don’t think that’s healthy.

So when I discovered my option – short of unfriending people I generally like who simply have opinions different from mine, to simply make the post get out of my sight, it made me feel better – mostly. I’ve been able to ignore those opinions that anger me if I have to keep looking at them.

The hangy-downy thingy isn’t perfect. It’s a temporal fix. I can let the small things go that way. But lately, my feed has been accosted with the sharing of text graphics full of hate and uppitiness. It’s easy to sit from your perch atop your fat income or retirement savings and think people should pay their own way for everything, even though you, in your ultra-conservative thinking, have also argued taking away any hope of helping someone not so fortunate get a college degree or a decent minimum wage or help them with family planning or basic healthcare.

Obviously, the hangy-downy thingy didn’t completely help me out yesterday. I still have a twitchy left eye thing going on. But it kept me from getting into a nasty debate I wouldn’t win.

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

2 Responses to On the Sanity-Preserving Qualities of Hangy-Downy Thingies

  1. Ruth Atterberry says:

    I got a text this morning: “Laugh for the night from FB–’you don’t have to agree with me. I can’t force you to be right!’ “

  2. Reblogged this on wildcatchronicle and commented:
    Yes, the Hangy-downy thingy is useful more than most people think it is.

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