I’ve always considered myself pretty versed in culling my Facebook feed so it only shows me what I really want or need to see. I’ve “unfollowed” a bunch of people because, while I still truly like and care for them, I don’t necessarily agree with or have enough information or an opinion on agenda(s) of which they’re passionate and post about on Facebook. And personally, I feel like if you’re insistent about posting and posting and reposting about your stance, feelings, etc. on Facebook, it’s like screaming into your pillow. You may feel better about getting it out, but what you’re really left with is a wet pillow.
So I’ve culled out the majority, if not all of the wet pillow posters.
I’m also part of many Facebook groups. Most of which are relevant to me. For example, I’m part of many groups about running. I’ve considered myself a serious runner for the past 8 years. After 8 years of being in virtual social media running groups, I see the same thing(s) posted day in and day out. Same questions. Same arguments. Same opinions. Emphasis on arguments and opinions. Much like the tangible world.
I guess I’m blessed in that it has always been easy for me to slink away from an argument or a heated discussion about something in which I really don’t care too much about, or of which I have little or no opinion, and/or if the outcome of such discussions impacts me in no way whatsoever.
I’m part of a few hyperlocal neighborhood groups. These groups have come in handy for hyperlocal things. Things like “Help! There’s a rattlesnake curled up by our front door. How do I get rid of it?” Or “Our air conditioner just blew up. Know of a good AC guy that works nights?”
I’ve seen the ebbs and flow of social media. Specifically Facebook. Probably takes me longer than other folks to recognize patterns. Or I recognize patterns and I accept and adapt. I think I have a tendency to make it through a handful of pattern cycles before I start questioning if this thing is of any benefit or use to me anymore.
In the past couple years I’ve made it through an election and a pandemic. The division and opinions were amusing at first. It was like watching an episode of Jerry Springer. A train wreck that you couldn’t peel your eyes from. In between the debates there were still some things of use and interest but was still left to endure the negativity.
Most recently the negative noise has been around the Delta variant of COVID-19 and Austin going back to Stage 5. Opinions on vaccination status, social distancing, ICU beds and other things aside, the most important issue within my digital social ecosystems has been, “Great, but why do they have to close the pool?” And then there are arguments about the neighborhood pools.
So I put down Facebook. I can still easily go to facebook.com on my computer. The app is still in the “Social Media” folder on my phone. But I haven’t gone to either of them since Monday. And that’s been nice. I’ve now had four days without Facebook and there’s nothing that I feel that I’m missing. I did use Messenger the other day to communicate with a neighbor to whom I gave a bedroom door basketball goal for her sons. And I’ll probably use it today to coordinate a group run with the neighborhood run club (thankfully there’s no drama in my group there). But I don’t miss much of anything else. It was nice to see friends’ photos from cool vacations in the national parks and tropical islands, but I’m not going to die if I don’t see those. In fact, I’m sure there’s a level of jealousy that’ll just be non-existent. And most of my Facebook friends are real friends in the flesh, so I can see those photos in person with my friends if that opportunity presents itself at some point in the future.
It’s a hiatus. I’m not claiming to leave Facebook. I’m just noting how I feel lighter having not passively checked and scrolled through my Facebook feed all week. I haven’t lost anything and I feel no FOMO.
I have less mental inventory. Less chaos. Less stress.
I realized this post has absolutely zero funnies. I will use my newly-found mental inventory to get back to finding and recounting the funny things in life.