Thursday, January 9, 2014

Facebook Smacebook

For Advent, I deactivated my Facebook account.  I don't plan to reactivate it at this time.  I've gone off Facebook for Lent the past two years.  I limited myself to only posting pictures from my phone occasionally, but neither posting words nor checking the Newsfeed.  I knew it was time for something a little more drastic.

Facebook is a time suck.  It's also a nice little trap for introverts.  You feel like your socializing, maintaining or making friendships.  In reality, you're not.

Facebook came about after I was officially a student.  It was some time later that I joined.  I didn't for the longest time - or it felt like a long time, maybe it was only half a second.  When I became a SAHM, I knew I'd need and want some way to stay connected to big people.  I did kindermusik with the kids, but seeing as you're supposed to be there and interacting with your child, it didn't really lead to anything beyond brief small talk for me.  I tried a moms group at a local Christian church - it was closer than any MOPS in the area at the time.  While it seemed like a great organization, it didn't work for us.  Matthew had separation anxiety and I wasn't about to torture him by forcing him to get used to me leaving him in the playroom.  We then did some playgroups on MeetUp.  That was disappointing as it ended up spiraling into some social hornets nest.  But the online boards there led me to give Facebook a try.  There I thought I'd found it.  A way to connect and stay connected. 

It worked for a long while.  I had Facebook, I emailed my best girls from college regularly, the kids and I had our social engagements - kindermusik, library storytime, zooclass, then preschool and on into school.  But it really wasn't working.

It wasn't until a new friend suddenly and inexplicably unfriended - then refriended - me that it started to click.  The wheels in my head were spinning.  I looked through my friends list and noticed how many people were greyed out because they'd left Facebook.  I looked through the list of people who I accepted their friend requests - mostly old highschool classmates or former students - who never actually interacted with me.  I looked through the people who I had attempted to interact with but didn't interact back.  I looked through the list at names of people I hadn't seen in months maybe years, never heard from or weren't EVER on.  I tried culling the herd.  That was awful and awkward, nixing people.  I thought about scratching that whole account and starting fresh with a just for family account.  I started taking note of how many times a day with a quiet moment, or minute or two of downtime, I reached for my phone to "check Facebook."  I started noting how many times people - anyone - would comment on anything I posted or shared.  I started thinking about the people who I initially joined Facebook to stay in touch with.  So I made a decision.  I shared my plan for Advent, included a link to my little old blog where I try to document and share those things that are important to me - my family foremost and our busy lives - and I pulled the plug.   

I'll admit that I suddenly find myself feeling lonely.  But then I force myself to stare that stupid F logo in the face and realize I've always been lonely.  A long Newsfeed of chatter doesn't and didn't cure that, it just sort of masked the loneliness.  It's like everyone talking outloud into the world at once, but no one is really listening.  It's just static and chatter.  For the most part.  And it's easy to think people are listening but you don't really know if they are or not, until you stop talking.

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