To Fare Well
I am retiring Son of Baldwin from social media
I am posting “To Fare Well” here since many readers are having trouble accessing the website. Stay tuned for my essay “On Juneteenth” coming later today on Witness.
It is with a heavy heart, and after years of consideration, that I inform you that this will be the last post on the Son of Baldwin social media platforms.
Here are my reasons for this decision:
1. My health. As you know, I received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 2019, and at the end of 2021, I had a severe flare-up that has caused me to re-evaluate many aspects of my life–including the amount of labor I perform, where I perform it, and how I perform it. One of the ways in which I will be able to better manage my condition is to avoid, as much as possible, areas of potential stress. Social media is a definite stressor, and it is also a stressor over which I can exercise control. I have noticed a correlation between the flare-ups and my social media engagement. Thus, for the benefit of health, I will be eliminating all Son of Baldwin social media platforms.
2. I do not like the direction social media has been heading. That is to say, I am politically opposed to how the wealthy have utilized their technologies to: gather and monetize information about its users; aid in the spread misinformation, causing strife and confusion; allow bigotry to go unchecked while penalizing social justice activists; cater to themselves and the most corrupt; act as a tool for oppressive government actors; and profit from pushing the most negative and divisive posts, articles, and conversations into people’s timelines. Billionaires are set to become trillionaires by ensuring that we are despondent and at each other’s throats. I no longer wish to participate in spaces that rely on toxicity as a business model.
3. The tenor of social media has gotten increasingly hostile and malicious. I’ve been trying to move in a different, more compassionate direction in both my online and personal lives, and it feels as though I am moving against the tide, especially on social media. There is something about social media that requires a performance, where we are regarded as entertainment avatars rather than people. And the audience seems to require increasingly higher levels of drama and conflict to be satiated; which I think encourages cruelty and viciousness (the more harsh and malicious the post, the more likes and shares). Not to mention the trolls, paid and unpaid, agent and individual, whose sole purpose is to cause stress and chaos.
There were three breaking points for me in this regard: How so many people on social media clowned Chadwick Boseman’s appearance before he died of cancer; how anti-trans bigotry (especially against Black trans women) has flourished (even among social justice activists and artists); and how so many people on social media co-signed on Ma’Khia Bryant’s assassination by the State. I once referred to the Internet as the “digital Roman coliseum” and it doesn’t seem like that was hyperbole. As a result, I am respectfully leaving the amphitheater before the lions make their killing move or I’m forced to make my own.
4. Social media has proven a huge distraction for me. It has become like a kind of addiction, which does not make me feel good. I have wasted a lot of time on the various social media spaces–time that, given my prognosis, I should have been using to write my future projects. Eliminating my connection to social media will, I believe, improve my commitment to my art, which is indeed my purpose.
5. It is time. After 14 years of operation on social media in one form or another, I believe I have taken the Son of Baldwin presence on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as far it can go given the confines, parameters, and problematics of the aforementioned media platforms. My hope is that younger generations of artists and activists–people like Raquel Willis, Frederick Joseph, Blue Telusma, Da’Shaun L. Harrison, and so many other hopeful, intelligent, insightful, and sincere people–will continue to successfully navigate those spaces.
All of that said, I will, however, maintain the Son of Baldwin website and I will, of course, continue writing. In particular, I will be hard at work on novel number two.
I have created a newsletter called Witness. Please subscribe to stay up to date on my events/appearances, commissioned writing, original articles and essays, and news about my upcoming projects and releases. You can sign up here: https://bit.ly/3uZcLAH.
In the meantime, all Son of Baldwin social media platforms will cease operation and be archived for posterity before removal. This decision is final. If new social media accounts begin to pop up under the moniker “Son of Baldwin,” please know that they have no affiliation with me or this site. If it is not listed on this Linktree, there is no connection.
I want to thank you for accompanying me on this journey. I leave social media having learned so much more about community, patience, compassion, complexity, forgiveness, restoration, and humanity. And I think I may now have some notion of what real liberation looks like, knowing the irrefutable truth that our destines are inextricably linked and none of us are free as long as any one of us is not.
I encourage you to create your own spaces of relative safety, where something helpful to existence–something that can make life a bit healthier and more bearable–can flourish.
My parting wish is for a miracle to occur: that kindness becomes the prevailing trait of humankind such that we can save ourselves, our planet, and each other from catastrophe.
Until then, may the Ancestors bring you peace, prosperity, healing, laughter, and love.
I leave you with Assata Shakur’s chant:
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
With a sincere heart,
Robert Jones, Jr.