Seems like everyone is saying it these days. It’s like we all want to leave, but we can’t. I am not sure what I am so afraid of—why I don’t actually deactivate, but I am very aware of the feelings I have had lately when I am on Facebook. And, they make me want to leave.
I started this blog as the first step in leaving. I want to tell stories. Stories present opportunity for connection and vulnerability. These days, I am finding neither of those things on Facebook.
Sure, you can electronically connect with people and often as much as it “put me in the know” of what people were doing, it brought me no closer to them. My brother and I do not see each other often and while Facebook allows me to know what he’s up to—I don’t see him any more than I used to. The connection is simply one dimensional and electronic. There is no more emotion, love, connection involved than before; just more information. I feel like I have gotten to the point where that’s just not enough.
I used to love Facebook birthdays. Who wouldn’t, right? Finally having 500+ friends pays off when hundreds send you birthday greetings. But this last birthday, I had that same one dimensional feeling. It wasn’t enough. I mean, I have all of these people wishing me happy birthday, but no more here to actually celebrate with me than before. It’s just not enough.
Politics on Facebook—and by politics, let’s include inflammatory social issues as well—have become a source of polarization on Facebook and it bums me out. Don’t like the opinion posted—unfriend. Found an interesting story that supports your beliefs and shows they are superior to others—share. It makes me sad.
Want to find out what your ghetto name is, what kind of cheese you are, what kind of wife you are, take a quick quiz and it will give you all the answers—and you can share it with everyone. That information does not fill me up, it’s not enough. The kinds of relationships that are important to me, that I want to fill my life with, are ones where I want to know what keeps you up at night, not what Little Women character you are.
Now, if this works for you, that’s fine. I am not judging. I am instead saying that it isn’t working for me.
I started using some other social media a few months ago, mostly focused on pictures. But, then I realized when I was in the moment, I spent so much of my time capturing it just right for social media that I wasn’t fully present. I gave it up and opted instead to be fully present in the moment and share it with whomever I am with instead of the world on one dimensional social media.
Again, not judging here. If that works for you, amen sister. But it’s just wasn’t working for me and neither is Facebook these days.
The final reason I want to leave is that Facebook only gives a snapshot of a moment and fails to capture the vulnerability of the experience. It’s that vulnerability where I find I can truly connect with people. For me, telling stories gives more opportunity to share vulnerability (when real meaningful connection happens) than the Facebook status update.
I have heard my kids say things like, “Wow, my picture on Instagram is up to 50 likes!” and I have to remind them that likes are not real. I don’t want to raise kids who measure themselves by the number of Facebook friends, the number of likes on a picture or the number of followers on SnapChat. I want to raise kids who want to truly connect—in the flesh—with people who bring meaning into their lives. And, I am just feeling less and less sure that social media helps with, and more and more sure that it hinders that kind of growth.
The trick is, like I have heard others say, is to parent by leading with example. That means when I tell my kids to avoid, I also need to avoid. The bigger problem is that even things that are not working for me are represented by habits that are hard to break. Facebook is one of those habits.