A Facebook sabbatical. A digital cleansing of sorts. That’s what I’ve been on for a little over a month. Give it a try. Put down the pack. Step out of the cold. There is cleaner air to suck in.
A social media cleanse
I do this sort of thing occasionally. I’ll go one week, maybe two, without logging in to Facebook. I’ll feel better. Think more clearly. Then, one day, I log back in and get dragged down the rabbit hole again.
What began October 20 is the longest I have gone without logging in since I re-created my Facebook account in February 2014 after the passing of a friend. After seeing so many friends I hadn’t seen in forever at family night for Scott, I decided to re-create my account to make it easier to stay in touch. But the reality, much like I realized when I deleted my account back in 2010, is that while Facebook does allow for us to connect, there are better ways—more connected ways—to connect, like picking up the phone and calling or even texting.
Facebook is mostly passive. Friendships should be active. Facebook’s marketing goal is not to get you out and about and catching up with friends in a physical space. It is to keep you slack jawed in front of a glowing screen for as many minutes in the day as possible.
Facebook Has Its Place
The Facebook I like
That’s not to say Facebook doesn’t have its place. In a few days, I am going to log back in and send a group message out to try and catch up with friends visiting back home over Christmas. We did this last year, meeting up at The Fishin’ Pig outside of Farmville—and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
There is, too, the understanding that we all have friendships that aren’t super close, meaning: I am your friend, but I am probably not calling you and you probably aren’t calling me, for a cup of coffee. And that’s totally okay. Friendships are not always equal. They exist on different levels. Some friendships kept at a distance are good, even necessary.
I also enjoy seeing my friends find love and start families of their own. I enjoy seeing the photos of their children as they sprout from seeds in the womb to living, breathing, laughing, beautiful human beings. But that’s not what dominates my newsfeed. What dominates my newsfeed is…
The Facebook I dislike
Remember when Facebook didn’t exist and the only way people could spout their cynicism and pass on unsourced horses––t was through email? The era was 1999-2008. We all have that relative who thinks Obama is a covert Muslim extremist intent on destroying America and creating a socialist state where McDonald’s employees earn $25/hour all the while smoking their legalized marijuana in the back parking lot on lunch break under Sharia Law. I just didn’t realize I had that many of them—and friends too.
Sometimes I’m like gahtdaahm.
That’s what my newsfeed mostly looks like now. The equivalent of chain emails. Newsmax.com forwards. Memes that attempt to turn a very complex issue into a simple one liner with two grammatical errors.
And look, this goes for people who I may even agree with on a particular subject. Enough is enough. Stop ranting. Stop raving. Politics. Religion. You’re not changing anyone’s views. If you have small children, that is your opportunity to mold a clay mind. If your children are already grown up and they believe the exact opposite of what you believe, that was your golden opportunity and you blew it—and there’s probably a reason for it. Hint.
We know what you believe. We just don’t believe the same thing, and you come off as mean and full of hate. And you look lonely. Really, really lonely. And like you need to get laid—and on a regular basis. By someone who knows what they are doing.
I have this theory about people who are super-political. There’s this sexual void or tension in their lives. Someone needs to do a study.
Sure, I can unfollow everyone who puts up crazy crap—and I did for quite some time. If you posted anything that warranted the following response from me—Seriously, do you believe that? Do you really believe that? Come on—I hid you from my newsfeed. Then, over time, I realized I had unfollowed a good number of people, and I thought to myself, well, if I’m going to have social media I can’t do that. So, I re-followed them.
It took only five minutes of fresh status updates and shared links to stream down my newsfeed for me to realize why I had done what I did before.
So I took a break, a Facebook sabbatical
I’m not against Facebook, and it’s unlikely I will delete my account again like I did before, but I can’t hang out at the picnic table at B&D after school every day. Every once in a while? Sure. Every day? Nah.
Particularly when my relatives are hanging out there, too. Kidding. Sort of.
And that kid who you don’t really want to hang out with starts pulling up a chair every day and interjecting something outlandish into the conversation every five minutes, and you just want the kid to go away but he keeps coming back again and again, and you’re like, okay, I’m going to go now and you get in your car and then you hear the passenger side door open and he gets in and hops in the backseat and buckles up, and you’re like, what are you doing in my car? Get out of my car!
So you throw the SOB out and you high tail it outta there. Gravel shooting up. Gray dust like chalk filling the air in your rearview. Yeah, that’s what I did. That’s what I had to do.
Have you ever considered a Facebook sabbatical?
If you enjoyed this, consider signing up to receive notifications of new posts by email. No spam, ever. I promise.