It is now the 2nd anniversary of my unplanned semi-departure from Faceboook (measured in e-Years, that is, which are a lot like dog-years, because as you all know: a lot can happen in a week. Just read your FB feed every day!)
So, how am I doing? Because I know you’re all busting to know. Not that any of you have ‘Crossed Over’ to say “Hi.” Not that I’m counting, or keeping records, or feeling all bitter and neglected and unworthy. Hell no. No, no no! Not like me *at all*!
Anyway, I’m well, (thanks for asking), and still enjoying life on The Other Side. Not that there’s much of it, but it’s there. So I nurture it. I ‘+1’ it. I comment in it. And after a while it finally comes in, shakes off its load of sakura petals and curls up at my feet. If I talk to it, or perhaps try a little bit of cautious banter, it will at least lift its head and look at me oddly.
But more importantly, I’m discovering a lot about myself. For example, I have a terrible addiction to getting ‘likes’. Yes, yes it’s true, I’m afraid to say. Must confess: getting ‘likes’ was like … like … well it was like a drug. It made me feel good about myself in a kind of ‘oh-thank-God-*someone*-though-my-joke-was-funny’ kind of way. But like an addiction, I keep needing bigger and bigger doses of ‘like’. I’d try harder – either firing out a dozen FB posts in an evening, or else carefully crafting (for upwards of an hour) a particularly pertinent/witty/sarcastic/all of the above post, then sitting back to await the inevitable FLOOD of ‘likes’ that would surely soon pour in. … Any minute now. … Here they come. … Any minute …
<Re-reads his post, appreciates how absolutely freakin’ brilliant it is, glances at the ‘like’ line, reloads, waits some more>
And so on.
It got bad, I can tell you now. And here’s the weird thing: The posts that got the most ‘hits’ were the ones I wrote while in a state of utmost sincerity and truth. Like during my journey to NZ to farewell my mother. Or links to cat videos.
So why do we feel compelled almost hourly to type about the micro-details of our lives? What we cooked for dinner? Where we are and BTW here’s a photo of my lunch? But also the more profound stuff. The bad days. My depression. The shit that just happened. That feckin’ eejit who just cut me off on the motorway. Etc. Etc. … Etc. it’s because we’re all needy. I’m needy. The need for company, for validation, ‘strokes’ and grooming, for praise or sympathy. All of the above!
Maybe, prior to social media, none of us were getting enough. We were all toughing it out; alone but not even realising how alone we were; filling ourselves instead with evening television and chips and beer, and … hey that doesn’t sound too bad! … “NO! Step away from the television! Do not touch that remote control!”
I’m very glad of Facebook, actually. It has been life-changing. FBFriendships can be very real, sincere, and nurturing, even across tens of thousands of miles/kilometres. I’ve chatted with a man I barely knew. He was wide awake at 3 am in his school laboratory in Seattle, feeling like he had nothing to live for. He’s great now. Others too. And people have done the same for me when I was blue. It’s real. The care is felt. The ‘salvation’ is real! I cannot knock that.
Maybe the frenzy, the clutter and the hubbub doesn’t matter as long as good connections get made. And ditto it doesn’t matter if I’m on G+, as long as good connections get made. Or on DeviantArt. Or wherever.
Nurture the good connections. ‘Like’ the sincere and the authentic. Challenge the sexism/petty sniping/general bollocks. And control your dosage. I cannot stress that enough. Since I ‘abandoned’ FB, I’ve had a lot more free time, I get more done, and I’ve gotten over my addiction (Well, a bit. Please, please ‘like’ me!).
So yes, for me FB was becoming frazzling. and it’s addictive. I’d get high on it, then I’d get manic on it.
Funny thing: just today I blundered back. I’d clicked through to read something via an email, and FB was all like “Oh no, you can’t go There. You don’t have Permmission, you silly goose. Here, let me just default you to the News-feed.” and I fell for it. Down, down, went my eyes, reading reading, “Oh look, there’s MORE!” Down, down, went my eyes, reading reading, “Oh look, there’s MORE!” Down, down, went my eyes, reading reading … My first time back in the News Feed and I was hooked. HOOKED I TELL YOU!
– Y’know, it was almost as if Facebook had done it deliberately … <whirr, click> …. OMG!!!