This year, over Lent, I gave up Facebook. For 6 weeks. 46 days to be exact. And it was wonderful. By the time the end rolled around, I was giving the Facebook app on my phone the old side eye, not really sure that I wanted to dive back into it at all. I tiptoed in like a little kid into a cold swimming pool in May. Bit by tiny bit, but of course, I eventually I ended up doing cannonball in the deep end again, and the whole idea of being “mindful” of my use had gone out the window.
Then yesterday I was explaining a bunch of stuff to my teenage daughter and eventually we got around to social media, because it’s nearly impossible to have a quality of life conversation these days without ending up there. I heard myself telling her that cell phones are hard because our brains have not developed enough to absorb the constant bombardment of information we are currently taking in, that our brains have a hard time determining what is important and what isn’t when the flow is like a firehose of news, weather, celebrity gossip, funny videos and cat memes.
I heard myself say “Take Facebook, for instance. I have ‘friends’ on there that I haven’t laid eyes on in 20 years. And when I last saw them it was just a quick ‘Hi’ and nothing more. But now I can tell you how many kids they have, where they go to school, what sports they play, what they had for dinner last Tuesday, the horoscope predictions for a Capricorn, which I am not, how excited they are or aren’t about PSL’s coming back and probably when their last bowel movement was! Why? This information is taking up valuable real estate in my brain and it’s useless.”
The whole time I was saying it, I was thinking that it’s time to make a few changes with the way I use Facebook. The six weeks of Lent taught me that I am a happier and more productive person without it. While there are people I enjoy keeping up with, there are plenty that I never really knew in the first place, so why am I spending my limited amount of time keeping up with them? It’s like a bad episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians but instead it’s called Keeping Up With Every Random Person You Ever Met.
Adding to the sheer stupidity of it all is the comment section. You know what I mean before I even say it, but honestly….why on God’s green earth do I care about what a random bunch of strangers think about anything? And yet, I can spend any amount of time reading and responding to the dumbest of comments on a post that I only find halfway interesting to begin with. Time that I could be using on something else, anything else. Hell, doing laundry, cleaning floors, plucking chin hairs, Pilates (just kidding, I’m not going to do that), canning vegetables in case of the apocalypse, anything would be a better use of time than this!
To that end, I have decided that a serious purge of Facebook needs to happen. The easy part will be leaving groups and unfollowing pages. Clearing the decks of all the drivel will no doubt be helpful. I will, I am certain, feel little twinges of guilt for unfriending people who have done me no harm and are, by all accounts, lovely people. But it isn’t a reflection on them, it’s for my own sanity and peace of mind that I need to dial it waaaay the hell down before I end up in an anger management class for social media abusers!
So, if one day you find yourself on the receiving end of my Facebook break-up, please know that it’s not you, it’s me. Really, you are a great person and I don’t deserve you. I just think we need some space. And I hope we can still be friends, if I ever happen to run across you out here in the real world.