There comes a time in your life you simply have to throw your arms up and exclaim, “Enough is Enough!” Seriously. All clichés aside, that “enough is enough” time has come. I’ve finally reached the point (admittedly not for the first time, but hopefully the last) where I have to separate myself from social networking. More specifically, Facebook.
I’ve written about this before, during a time when I was annoyed with Facebook and wished that my FB friends were on other social networking sites like Google+ and Path and Twitter. Well, I still sort of wish that – but at the same time I don’t wish it. Because then there really wouldn’t be any sort of separation from the addiction of social networking.
And addicted to Facebook I was. I’m not saying I was posting something every ten minutes (that’s a whole other kind of addiction). But what I was doing was checking the damn thing every ten minutes. A “Hmm, let’s see what people are up to right now” type of thing, when in fact no one was really up to anything except for maybe posting an inspirational quote or a link or sharing another site’s picture.
Because in all honesty, that’s what Facebook has become. Link link share share link share link share cats link share politics link share link share religion link. I continued to check FB to see if maybe a friend was actually doing something interesting, but usually nothing was happening.
I don’t think that’s why we all joined Facebook six or so years ago, is it? To see postings about why you’re a right-wing conservative? Or to trick people into thinking they’re bad people just because they won’t share a picture about a person dying of cancer? No, we joined Facebook to connect to the people we care about. And it has strayed soooo far from that in 2014.
There was an article published yesterday about how it’s a proven fact that Facebook can cause depression simply based on comparing yourself to other people on FB. You start feeling bad because their dinner (because of course they took a picture of it) looks way better than your leftovers. You feel bad because they’re posting pictures of their vacation in Florida while you’ve just finished shoveling for the 27th time this winter. I’m sure “Facebook Depression” doesn’t happen to everyone, but it’s easy to see why it does.
We’ve become a society of people who’ve developed a knee-jerk reaction to post every single thing that happens to them, whether it’s bad or good. We look forward to seeing how many “likes” we get from that cute picture of our kid or that snarky remark we made on FB earlier. And if we don’t get the likes we imaged we would, we start to feel bad about ourselves.
Of course not everyone feels this way. But I’m guilty of falling into that trap. Which is silly, because why should how many “likes” I get on something define who I am? Why should I feel bad when my friends are posting about going out on Friday and Saturday nights when I’m perfectly happy staying at home in my pajamas (especially when I PREFER to stay at home!!)? Seriously. Ridiculous, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not shunning all social media out there. I’m sticking with Google+, which I love, and mainly use for myself. I use it almost as a journal, posting pictures and thoughts and links that I don’t feel the need to share with anyone but can pull up at any time. I have people in my Google “circles”, but no one uses G+ except for my mother-in-law, with whom I share pictures of my daughter instead of using email.
I’m still on Twitter, but rarely post anything. In fact, in the past few weeks I’ve managed to cut down the number of people I follow from almost 600 (I KNOW) to under 200. Keeping up with 600 people was quite the daunting task, and I realized that I could still be in the know by only following the people I find interesting. So I’m now down to 193 people, which include some authors, artists, and a handful of Hollywood-type people. I knew I couldn’t escape Twitter for good because let’s face it: Twitter is the most up-to-date news ticker out there, and it’s pretty essential in today’s world. You just don’t have to follow 600 people to stay on it.
I’m even cutting down my time on Goodreads, the site where you read and review books. It’s a very helpful site when finding new things to read, but I found myself focusing way too much on people’s reviews that it was keeping me from forming my own opinions. I started four books and didn’t finish any of them because I kept thinking “So-and-so didn’t like this book” or “Is this why so-and-so gave it only three stars?” I was judging books by the number of stars they got, and that, my friends, is totally wrong.
So now I’m forgoing the reviews and just reading books that sound interesting to me. Now it’s completely up to me whether I like a book or not, which is a completely freeing thought. No more stressing about whether to read a book or not just because it got under four stars. Whoohoo!!
Today is my first “official” day off of Facebook, and let me tell you it was totally weird to NOT check FB when I woke up this morning. I took the app off of my iPad and iPhone, which is helpful, but the hard part is going to be not going to the App Store and putting it right back. Or going to the website when I’m on my laptop. Because even though I’m not “on Facebook” anymore, my account still exists because I don’t want to completely lose contact with people. In fact, I put Facebook Messenger on my phone because it still lets me send messages to my FB friends. Which, if you think of it, was the sole purpose of FB to begin with. Communicating with your friends!
Anyway, that’s what’s been going on in my head over the past month. My struggle and hopefully my release from Facebook. I foresee slight separation anxiety, of course, at least at the beginning, but I also foresee less frustration and stress when it comes what I was actually seeing on my FB newsfeed. And that is a good thing.