Recently, it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard anything from a friend in a while. I looked her up on Facebook to see if she hadn’t been posting anything or if her posts just weren’t showing up in my feed. I couldn’t find her. “Hey,” I said to a mutual friend, “I think she either unfriended me or blocked me.”
An hour or so later I received a text from the friend, apparently having been contacted by our mutual friend. “I didn’t block you!! LOL I deleted my Facebook. I couldn’t handle the political drama anymore.”
Wow! That seems like such a wild and crazy move to me – brave and bold and a little bit against the grain. I rank it up there with dropping off the grid; living off the land, growing your own food, and making your clothes out of beaver pelts. You might as well tell me you quit your job and are moving to St. Bart’s to become a tiki-bartender. She’s certainly not my only friend without a Facebook account, and I know many people that have similar frustrations with all the political and negative posts on FB, but I have so many questions.
Did you quit cold turkey? Do you miss it? How do you know what’s going on with people? Do you feel out of the loop? Are you keeping in touch with people in other ways? Do you think you might go back at a later time?
It’s quite fascinating to me.
As I contemplated my friend’s action and considered whether I should do the same for my own improved state of mind, I thought about all the things I don’t like about my FB time. Lost time – for one thing. I know I spend too much time scrolling mindlessly through a large volume of impersonal posts. These aren’t family updates or pictures. The majority are shares that someone else saw, liked the sentiment, and hit the share button, pushing it out there for others to consider. Although I do enjoy a hilarious AFV montage of people falling down, or a good abandoned-doggie-finds-a-new-forever-home story, that’s not a reason to stay on FB.
So I decided to analyze it from another angle. Why do I want to stay on FB? That question was a little harder to answer – although to be fair, I think it used to be more fun than it is right now. People have all these feelings about politics, the pandemic, social strife and the general state of our world. Spending an increased amount of time stuck at home and bored, their frustrations come spewing out through their FB posts. “Why the bleep would anybody think that guy is fit to run a country. If you don’t agree with me – unfriend me now!” Holy Toledo! People are going off the deep end to be sure.
My reluctance to give up FB feels similar to the apprehension I had before we gave up our telephone landline. What if somebody I might otherwise not be in touch with, tries to connect with me and I’m not there? What if they don’t know how else to get in touch with me? I also have the added element of my blogging that I share through FB. Is that important? Not in the big scheme of things. Actually it’s an extension of the self-expression that FB promotes. I haven’t decided if that’s good or bad. Self-expression – good. Forcing your opinions on others – bad.
Hands down, my favorite part of FB is Facebook memories. Sure I can look at old pictures or think about friends and family anytime I want, but there is something wonderful, and a little bit magical, about being in the middle of my workaday life and taking a quick look at FB where I am suddenly transported back to a campfire with good friends or dinner with my mom. Note to self – take more pictures with loved ones and post to FB.
I’ll be pondering on this for a while to be sure, but my conclusion is that FB is neither friend nor foe. It’s what you make of it. I think I’ll stick around for a while longer.