Skip to content

Social Media Life Cycle

2020 July 10
by Mike Vial

Hi social media world,

Now that I’m further into fatherhood, I’m making my Facebook profile only available to family, close friends, and those who have actively stayed in touch. As a parent, I see this change as a stage of my social media life cycle.

I’ve taught at five different schools, played 1200+ gigs across the country…yet for the last four months I’ve been in a semi-state of quarantine at home with my family. This intense level of social distancing is so our kids can safely see their grandparents and great grandparent before (if) school starts in the fall.

I haven’t been gigging monthly for the first time since 2007. And as of this weekend, I haven’t seen a friend in four months…

This experience of physical distancing has made me rely on social media differently, and watching friends lose family to Covid-19, without a funeral option, has me reconsidering how to live life after 2020.

But this existential reflection—it’s not a midlife crisis, I swear!—also started from, butterflies.

In May, Ginny and I raised three Painted Lady butterflies as caterpillars: Flower, Milkweed, and Bob. Flower ended up laying eggs, and Ginny and I spread the thistle plants with her seeds all over our back lot. We let Flower go, but kept Bob and Milkweed until they died, because they had wing injuries. Ginny and I cried when we had a funeral for them. Geez, give a bug a name and it becomes a pet!

On the 4th of July, the first of Flower’s eggs had made it to its final stage of its life cycle: A caterpillar emerged from its chrysalis as a butterfly and visited our yard!

Ginny and I caught it, named her Flutter, and fed her strawberries. We let Flutter go, and talked about how cool it was to be a part of these butterflies’ life cycles.

Then, Ginny commented how she felt sad that Flutter didn’t have any butterfly friends, like the first three. (She said she felt the same way, missing her classmates from preschool.) But this week, more Painted Ladies are flying around our neighborhood’s gardens! Flutter isn’t alone anymore. (Our kids will one day run around together, too.)

Today, as the butterflies fluttered outside my window, I checked through my FB friends list, writing messages to folks I haven’t seen in years. I saw some of my former students or colleagues had died; my FB circle was too large for me to ever see the news in the feed. I had allowed a flawed algorithm to attempt the work a friend needs to do, and I felt more disconnected…

So I’m accepting this stage of my social media life cycle.

All writing and music will continue to be posted at the public page Mike Vial and website. My email is

Be well. Wear a mask. We are in this together to stop Covid-19’s impact on our world. I’m still here, circling the sun, with you.




Comments are closed.