When Facebook first started, I was excited to sign up and use the social media platform. I was able to touch base with friends I hadn’t seen in a very long time. It was new and fun. I remember one of my posts at the beginning was something about Facebook reminding me of kindergarten. People were kind to one another, clicking smiley faces on cute posts and giving a thumbs-up to everyone’s comments.
Facebook, over the years, however, turned into something very different from its beginnings. It became a place where bullies would say the most horrendous things to people they called “friends” and to people they didn’t even know. I was abhorred and mortified to see such behavior. People had started using it to ghost others and stalk acquaintances. Facebook had become a battleground for intolerance and divisiveness.
And that is one of the many reasons why I furtively left Facebook for over a year. And you know what? I didn’t miss the medium One. Little. Bit. I did, however, miss some of my good friends and their positive, uplifting and inspiring posts.
During the past year, I have had to care for some of the most special people in my life in a way that they had never needed before…and I was honored to do that…and I still am. In the little time I had left over, I learned some very valuable things during my year without Facebook.
I learned that a sense of peace had settled over me during my year of absence from the social media giant. Life was calmer, more serene. I was present—truly present—in everything I did. No more taking the time to write blurbs and post photos of my making wine, baking bread, having dinner with my precious husband, and camping with great friends. I did all those things, and I took some photos for my personal scrapbook, but I lost the desire to promote and gained the extra time it took to do it...and peace of mind in not having to monitor my account to respond to the people who took their precious time to make comments. And you know what? Most people didn’t even care that I didn’t post (we take our curated online selves too seriously sometimes)!
After a while, I began to think of my dear friend, Henry David Thoreau, who said in Walden, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” If life were the marrow, I discovered, Facebook was the fat. That “fat” had been, at times, unpalatable and always unnecessary, it seems.
My absence was a year that I grew closer to my husband and family. I stayed in touch with many friends though phone calls, visits, texts, lunches and camping trips. I somehow managed to still find out about important events in the lives of friends and extended family—just like before Facebook ever became Zuckerberg’s entrepreneurial, maniacal, money-making monstrosity that it has become in so many people’s lives. I didn’t miss Mark and his greedy friends spying on my purchases and searches, only to shamelessly promote their advertising sponsors and cagy agendas. I got my information and news from independent sources, just like in the old days.
|Last summer we spent time on the Oregon coast.|
As in so many cases, however, all good things must come to an end, and my time away from the social media behemoth has, as well. Authors—it seems—need social media (to some degree) in today’s world. I have settled back in to editing a couple of novels that I had finished last year, so I suppose I need to inform my readers about releases and such. This time around, though, I will manage Facebook with boundaries (my new best friend) and on a calculated, scaled-back basis. I will operate with the knowledge that too much of a good thing is surely to become a bad thing, so I will release the unnecessary and will keep all the positive portions of what I have learned during My Year without Facebook.
So, who cares about My Year without Facebook? Perhaps, nobody will, or perhaps what I’ve learned may be beneficial to someone. If it is something that intrigues you, you might consider altering your presence on Facebook, as well. Either way, I wish you well…and peace.