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Getting Off

May 25, 2011
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I’ve been thinking for a while about getting off of Facebook. There are lots of reasons – mostly because it is the biggest time suck EVER and I think, in the fantasy world I have created in my head, that no Facebook = my book will get written. And exercise will get done and logged, and healthy meals will be cooked, consumed and cleaned up, and blue birds will fly around me as I wander through the forest, singing and laughing and leaving sunshine and rainbows wherever I go.

OK maybe I have an overinflated idea about the amount of free time I would have if I wasn’t on Facebook.

Maybe.

But the other day my friend Jeff told me that he and Krissy had made a pact to stay off Facebook for a day, and I should join them. And Jeff doesn’t know this, but the part of my brain that tells me what I should do, especially what I should do that I do not want to do, sounds an awful lot like Jeff. And so that part of my brain was screaming “DO ITTTTTTTTTT” in a Very Jeff Tone of Voice, so I agreed.

Krissy and I made it the whole day. Someone caved at 2pm. *Cough*poppy*cough* but I can’t judge. It’s hard, giving up this habit that was somehow, inexplicably, instantly addictive.

I have noticed the last two days that I have thought of all kinds of things I would have posted and realized “that’s stupid…no one cares about that!” and kind of wondered what the point of it ever was, anyway?

A public acknowledgment of who you’re friends with – and who you’re best friends with – and what you’re doing this weekend and how much you love/hate conservatives/liberals/peanut butter m&ms and what your dog/kid peed on/threw up?

What is with our need to know all that stuff about people, sitting in front of a screen, endlessly refreshing, reading, skimming, looking for…what, exactly? Good news, bad news, job news, marriage news, pregnancy news, song lyrics, MLK quotes, results from poorly spelled and even more poorly thought-out quizzes…evidence that the head cheerleader got fat, that the former slutty girl is now married to a preacher, that the Most Likelyt to Succeed works at 7-Eleven, that the football star lost all his hair and has a beer gut? I just…don’t know.

I don’t know why we need it but we do. Are we endlessly comparing ourselves to other people? Are we still  looking for proof that we are better than someone else, that our lives are more glamorous or more meaningful or more fashionable or more whatever than everyone else’s? And to what end?  Are we looking for people who have failed, fallen, struggled? Are any of us looking for ways that people have triumphed, gotten ahead, grown, become better?

I don’t know what we’re looking for. But we are looking for something. And I have finally concluded that whatever it is I’m looking for, Facebook is not the place I’m going to find it.

And although I’d much rather hang out with my friends on a deck or a beach or a patio or an ugly old sofa somewhere and drink and talk and eat and snark on kids and bosses and neighbors and that girl we used to know, what was her name? With the hair? than hang out, just me and my laptop and the kids running through the house, waiting to see what everyone was up to on the ol’ FB. But…but…isn’t that tenuous, electronic, technological connection better than no connection at all? Because let’s face it, having been a mostly single parent for a little bit of awhile now, it’s not always easy to get out and see people. Or have people over. Or go away and see people – which, based on the fact that many of my friends live far away, makes FB the perfect compromise between everything and nothing. It’s something. That’s all it is, but it is definitely that.

But is it the only way? What about email, phone calls, texting?

I don’t know. They’re fine, but not the same, somehow.

And I think, too, about my blog and about Sunday Night Reiki, and how Facebook and Twitter are the only ways that I try to publicize this stuff at all – I mean, everyone is on FB and everyone who has a business or a blog or an idea is on FB and it’s basically expected now, and how will getting off FB impact the number of people who read my blog (and let’s face it, if you want a book published these days, you kind of have to already have a readership established, and you kind of have to spend your own money to do your own marketing, and FB is, you know, free.) (You also have to have WRITTEN THE DAMN BOOK.) (So.)

So, what do I do?

Get off, knowing that people, “friends”, will drift away, and hope they (or some people like them) drift back whenever I get back on and start promoting the book I wrote in all my spare time that I’m not spending on FB? Or try to be on there less? Or schedule the time that I’m on there? Or just…do something else? I mean, the people with whom I am close – well, we will always find a way to be connected. So am I agonizing over maintaining a connection to people who I’m really not all that connected to in the first place?

Do you remember the days when you first got on FB and all your old friends found you, and what a high it was to log on and see that you had new friend requests and messages and comments, and your little globe had a red flag and a number on it and it was so much fun?

Is it still that much fun? It’s not for me. So I don’t know.

Maybe, after thinking this all through, and despite what Zuckerburg might have us believe….maybe not having a Facebook is the new Facebook.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2011 8:05 pm

    Oh, I can SO relate to how you feel about Facebook. I have a love/hate relationship with it. I have gotten obsessed with collecting Flair, of all things.

    I keep threatening to drop my account, but it is the only way I can keep in touch with some friends. I did weed all those old high school friends out for the most part. I only have 17 people in my list, which keeps things more manageable. But I’m sure that the things I post reveal more about me and my state of mind than I really would care for people to know, most of the time. It is too easy to say things, without thinking about what you are saying.

  2. mistresseinstein permalink
    May 25, 2011 8:44 pm

    I think we’re all looking for Truth, something that makes it all make sense. The Victorians thought they would find it in Death, generations after that we looked to Absolutes, people in the 70’s thought they would find it in sexual freedom, 80’s in excess, today in eachother’s personal expressions of existence and thought. I think it’s the same search, just in a different place.

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