A Farewell to Facebook

Originally Published November 19th, but given the return of the Facebook Blackout in my life, I share again!

(Don’t freak out! I’m not going to suggest you shave your head and join a cult; it’s only temporary.)

Are-Like-Facebook-meme-01Imagine, if you will, a man sitting at his desk. He’s in his office, has no pressing emails to respond to, no urgent calls to take. He leans back in his chair, turns to the window and sees a single snowflake drifting by outside.

Does he think, “I should relish this moment of Zen. Contemplate the beauty of changing seasons and the unique fragility of that single snowflake, the only one of its kind to ever be?”

No. He thinks, “A snowflake? Holy shit, I gotta tell fucking EVERYBODY!”

This is just one of the quiet subversive natures of the Facebook beast.

Facebook Status –
This Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Dunkin Donuts makes me want to eat my own face.

Wearing flip flops in November. Yes, my feet ARE cold.

Look at my CAT! (Picture included)

Dude wearing tight pants. I’m not your physician. I don’t want to see that. And please don’t cough.

430030_10151233809800612_708350611_22912011_1412715473_nDon’t think for a second that I am mocking you. I am mocking myself – these are all statuses I have NOT shared since deactivating my Facebook three days ago. I was and am wholly susceptible to this aspect of FB. I saw FB as a means to turn to my friend and make a joke, despite my friend not standing next to me to hear it. Yet, on the flip side of that tendency of endless sharing is the social voyeurism of those who do NOT engage in constant sharing, but do engage in the quiet scrolling that fills the empty space where they would otherwise be forced to spend a quiet moment with their thoughts.

untitledOn the plus side, I’ve benefitted from it in many ways over the years – reconnected with friends from Grade School that I love and adore, kept in touch with new friends I made in Scotland over the Summer who otherwise I’d never have spoken to again, started a yearly Christmas party that the whole family attends because of a Face book invite. I proclaim wholly, it has its merits. Yet there’s the not so sexy side as well. The degradation of human relationship, the addictive nature of instant gratification. There is Dopamine involved, self soothing behavior that parallels fidgeting when you’re anxious or eating when you’re bored. It’s mental occupation where once we might have read a book, or in my case written in a journal to quiet my mind. When researching how to deactivate FB chat a few weeks ago, I discovered entire forums on how Facebook Chat caused breakups and blowouts by creating an avenue through which your internet presence is always on display, whether you comment, or post, or simply lurk. Having been stalked (literally. In the creepy, lock your door at night kind of way) via Facebook on more than one occasion, I was mildly unnerved by that.

I’d contemplated the break for a good long time, but found myself unable to resist the simple click and scan that having an iPhone, a laptop, an iPad, etc. offered. Now, with a deactivated account, I have received emails of concerned friends who think I’m potentially living in a cabin in the woods and building explosives. Not having a Facebook isn’t anti-social, ladies and gentlemen.

I’ve noticed the far reaching impact of the social networking behavior. You walk through the world constantly judging experience on whether or not it is worth sharing on Facebook. I only notice it because I don’t share anymore. No, though this Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate is melting my face, it’s so good, it’s entirely acceptable to enjoy it without anyone having to know.

funny-memes-facebook1And of course as a writer, there is the undeniable impact of its distracting power.

“Holy mother of balls, I have a Facebook notification!” *Spends seven minutes scrolling, commenting, liking, perusing, silently judging, whatever it is that floats your boat.*

It was time. Time to take a break. Time to not be constantly available to people who don’t need to know where I am at all times. Time to let those who are important to me be more than a Facebook post every day or two. And time to let my mind wander again. That’s where all my best ideas come from. I assure you, none of my novels thus far were inspired while scrolling on Facebook.

So though I recognize that some need a Facebook presence for business, marketing, etc., to those who do not  – a challenge.

1) Unfollow as many pages and random acquaintances that you needn’t keep up to date with on a minute to minute basis.

2) Delete the app from your phone and only allow a perusal when you’re sitting to a computer or laptop.

3) Go on a Facebook fast. Start with a week, if that seems easy try a month. If you’re like me and having an active account and point/click access is too tempting, deactivate for a while and see how you feel.

Does the mere notion of this piss you off or upset you? Are you afraid you’re going to miss something enormously important as a result of not being active? Are you devastated to think your old friends from Fifth grade won’t be able to get in touch with you for a short length of time? Then you might be addicted.

Don’t feel bad, you’re not alone.

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