To Facebook, or not to Facebook, that is the question
To Facebook, or not to Facebook, that is the question I have been hearing a LOT lately!
People are mad. Understandably so. They are upset their data has been shared, harvested, exposed, and that their privacy has not been protected and has been exploited. I get it.
However, I have my own personal issues with the social media giants and it has nothing to do with the morals of the companies. It has to do with how addictive these “communication” tools are, how distracting they are, and how much easier it is to just scroll, scroll, scroll through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter than it is to stop and feel my own feelings.
I keep asking myself, how much is enough? Can any avid social media user answer that question? How many ‘likes’ are enough ‘likes’? How many comments, shares, views do we need to feel satisfied?
Back to my original question, to Facebook, or not to Facebook? I’ve noticed when someone announces they are quitting Facebook or deleting their account others plead, “No, please don’t go, don’t leave me, please stay.” It kind of reminds of my coke addict friends from the 80s, they always wanted someone going down with them, and were never supportive of the people who were trying to get clean and sober.
I have a few friends who completely quit social media over the last few years. When they were active on social media they had a lot of “friends”. They got invited to parties and events and were regularly included in social gatherings. When they left social media, they pretty much got forgotten about by those “friends”. Common “friends” sometimes ask me “oh, how is so and so doing?” But they never reach out and text, call, or write them a letter. Basically, if the person is not on social media they are not there anymore. I think this is what many of us are afraid of. We are afraid of being invisible, of being forgotten, or realizing all those “friends” aren’t actually our friends. The world can be a lonely place.
My friends who left social media actually seem happier now. I talk with them regularly. I ask what they do with their time now that they are not on social media 24/7. They respond with things like work, garden, visit friends and neighbors, relax, read, travel, you know, they do life.
The real question is, does social media connect us or disconnect us? I think it has the potential to do both and that is what we need to pay attention to.
As for me, in answering the question to Facebook or not. For the time being, I plan to keep my account but moderate my use. I removed the app from my phone and am now only checking Facebook from my laptop and am pretty much unplugging during the weekends. For me, the benefits still outweigh the negatives.
***Updated to add this article a friend shared with me after reading this post. Something to think about!
The missing link: why disabled people can’t afford to #DeleteFacebook
- #MeToo I’m Angry, Disappointed, and Hopeful
- Looking down on the ferry
Thanks Sally, for sharing your thoughtful process. I just realized, while reading your post, that I don’t seem to use Facebook the way some people do. What I personally enjoy most is sharing moments with an image. The beautiful, the weird, the surprising, the delightful. Once in a while I am moved to share something that upsets me, but mostly I’m just uploading my latest photo. So, it functions like an extension of my mind, in a good way, to have a place to say “oh, something intriguing, lookie lookie!” I’m deeply interested in people’s stories but I don’t really like reading them on Facebook somehow. I do want to have a sense of what people are doing, a few people anyway, and Facebook sometimes succeeds in giving me that but more often it fails, because of the stupid algorithm. I, too, miss some people who’ve left Facebook completely. I am so bad at making contact that I almost never see some of my closest friends, let alone people who are a little farther out in my circles. I love a lot of people at a distance, but more interactive engagement like phone or in person is more difficult for me. I am very easily drained. I’m working on that. I think, in some ways, social media has messed up our expectations and our perceptions of how people can / should / want to be social. I am social, but often limited. Social media allows me to be social in ways I could never be in person. It should have a different name. It’s quite definitely real life. All of it. But it is also definitely not the same. Facebook has never kept me from working, gardening, puppy time, going outside, exercising, travel, or visiting. It has probably munched up some of my reading time and perhaps some of my relaxing time, although it can be relaxing to pop in for a few minutes here and there. In the evening, when my brain has finished with mad writing and envisioning projects, I often watch TV with my human, and madly craft little things out of clay. You should see the mountain of little clay things I’ve made in the last couple of weeks. It never occurs to me that I’d rather be on Facebook than play clay. My realization today is that people are much more brain-wired-in to Facebook than I am. I really didn’t get that until I read this particular post. Blessings to you for taking hold of this and making it more and more what you want and need it to be. And I’ll be looking for your expressions, wherever they pop up! Love you.
Yes! Love this. You are right, it’s something I can’t put my finger on. There is definitely some kind of connection with certain people that only happens through social media. It’s is often a good connection but may not be the same connection of who you would call on to drive you to a doctors appointment. Thank you for articulating this further.
“I love a lot of people at a distance, but more interactive engagement like phone or in person is more difficult for me. I am very easily drained. I’m working on that. I think, in some ways, social media has messed up our expectations and our perceptions of how people can / should / want to be social. I am social, but often limited. Social media allows me to be social in ways I could never be in person. It should have a different name. It’s quite definitely real life. All of it. But it is also definitely not the same.”