Today, I am going to do it. I am getting “off” FaceBook for a while, or maybe, forever. This is something I have been toying with for quite a while. It has been just a week over seven years that I have been a member of the FaceBook crowd. I joined it when my eldest son wanted to join. Neither of us knew what we were doing but together we found out what it was all about. He was a sophomore in high school, about to participate in his first musical theater performance. I think we both figured it was a way to share photos and stay connected with friends. It also coincided with his decision to apply through open enrollment to complete high school virtually. Perhaps, it was a good way to stay in touch with his “brick and mortar” friends.
So, seven years. Seven years of navigating the fickle, finicky, sometimes fabulous and oft-times, frustrating world of social media. Seven years of sharing, commenting, friending, liking, following, unfollowing, and also, learning to keep one’s mouth shut. Seven years of being exposed to neo-liberalism, far-right taunts, fake media, and dealing with people ~ friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers ~ who think they can say anything they want, but quash others who express a view different from their own.
Seven years, FaceBook, seven years. And, I have finally had enough. My son was smarter than I, although I have always known this to be the case. He got off FaceBook last fall. His reasons – the negativity, the nastiness, the anonymous-ness of saying what you want whenever you want to say it, to whomever you want. In essence, as he told me in his esteemed 23-year-old wisdom, “FaceBook does not make the world a better place.”
I tried to hang on. I like how I can contact an old friend or see what they are up to. I like the ease of messaging. I like sharing my photographs and my blog. I like reading the ideas of others – some of which I agree and some of which I do not. I like learning what others think and knowing how they think differently than I. But, there is much that I do not like. I found that some posts and some people in particular bothered me. So, this past fall, after a great deal of internal debate, I unfollowed. In general, it was better. But, still, I am bothered by the judging, the assuming, the criticisms, the questioning, and the general negativity. Do we not want to stay away from doing all these things? I know I do. And, that is why I am saying good-bye. Every. Single. Word. Is. Judged. It is just not necessary. Truly, it is a game. And, I have never been a good game player.
I posted a note on my FaceBook page yesterday, telling my “friends” what I was going to do and how they could contact me otherwise. It was not an ultimatum, just a notification that I will not be manning my page, reading theirs, or any others for a while. I am sure I will find other things to occupy my time. I hope I will be less angry, less judgmental, less assuming, less negative, and less critical after some time away. I know I will not be fed any longer by these same traits others are actively employing. I know not everyone on FaceBook is bad. On the contrary, I love my friends! I know I will miss being in contact with quite a few of them. I enjoyed much of my time on FaceBook. But, it is time for me to take a well-intended and much-needed break.
And, that is exactly what I am going to do today. Good-bye, FaceBook. Hello, Life!
Written to share on Slice of Life Tuesday sponsored by Two Writing Teachers blog.