I cannot lie, Facebook. I have loved you. I have reveled in the boost to my ego when I post a photo of my child and it gets 57 “likes.” I have enjoyed the little game I’ve made of composing a witty description of noteworthy events and making it “Facebook Status” length. I know there seems to be no limit to the characters one can use in a Facebook Status, but if you want it to be read (and liked), it has to be concise and (preferably) funny.
This one only got 39 “likes!”
I have whole-heartedly loved following the lives of my friends in far-flung lands. Seeing photos of their babies and getting glimpses into their everyday lives has been good. I have loved reading every Huffpost article I’ve clicked on. Keeping up with what’s trending might be a little difficult once I sign off. I’ve also enjoyed finding out which city I should live in (Paris), whether I’m right or left brained (more right than left), which Middle Earth race I belong to (elves), along with many other discoveries you’ve helped me make about myself—which I now can’t recall.
Facebook, you’ve given me ideas about what to make for dinner, found doctors for my children, even helped me choose a dishwasher. Through you, people have offered advice, support, comfort and encouragement. Many have read my blog, and liked it. You’ve been a good friend in a lot of ways.
Facebook, I have loved to hate you. I have taken breaks from you. I have taken Lent completely off from you. I have felt your talons digging into me and I have fought them. I have given myself limits and made up schedules. And sometimes I have followed through. I have set down the iPhone. I have closed the MacBook. But, somehow, you always, always claw your way back into my time. My space. My mind.
My current “Top Sites”
Facebook, I have hated you. You distract me when I could be writing. I click on the shrunken image of my login page in my “top sites” for some good reason—writing a personal message, perhaps, or updating my author page. And the next thing I know, it’s an hour later and I have scrolled through three hundred pictures of people I don’t even know. I compare myself to these people and to others—the smiling photos in my newsfeed. I wonder how she looks so thin already when her baby’s younger than mine. I have that crushing feeling when I see a photo from the park play date nobody invited me to. I wish I could be as organized or creative as the mom who posts photos of her beautiful birthday party complete with designer clothes and perfect-looking food that she made herself. And then I beat myself up later, because if I didn’t waste time on Facebook, maybe I could do stuff like that! You have caused me grief and pain and worry. I don’t need that in my life right now. It’s not worth it. I hate you most of all for stealing my attention from the precious faces that look to me for advice, for affirmation, for love. I hate you for giving me a reason (and not a good one) to absentmindedly say to them, “Give me a minute. I just need to finish this one thing and then I’ll be with you . . .”
Facebook, it isn’t you, it’s me. If I were a stronger person, then setting limits would be enough. If I were more disciplined, you wouldn’t have the pull that you do. If I were secure, I wouldn’t even feel the talons. But setting limits hasn’t been enough. I’ve failed to live by them. Time and time again. I’ve sacrificed for Lent, seen the fruit of living without you, made promises to myself and broken them the first week of Easter.
I need to step away from the race, the competition, the snarky comments, the trying to be cool in a place that doesn’t even actually exist in the physical world. I need to go it alone, step into real life, trust that friends who really are friends will not need social media to talk to me. That readers who are supposed to read my writing will still read it. That I do actually exist, even if I am not on Facebook.
So good-bye, Facebook. I’m grateful for the revelation that I ought to live in Paris, though. So, you know . . . we’ll always have that.
I’ll be deactivating my personal Facebook account on the evening of Sunday, June 8th, so if you’re friends with me there, please be sure to find another way to keep up with me. My author page will be continuing under new administration, so please “like” that page. I’ll be closely monitoring it and I’ll continue using Twitter and Pinterest–unless they prove to be as problematic as Facebook has become for me. Please sign up to receive new blogposts via email or rss feed in the right hand column of this blog. Realize that I’m only speaking for myself regarding Facebook, as I think it’s a useful tool for many people and may be for me again sometime in the very distant future. Also, please don’t try to talk me out of this. I’ve given it a lot of thought.