After the first presidential debate, I started to realize that Facebook no longer felt like a safe space for sharing or reading what others had to share. It went from a place where I would congratulate people on their daily accomplishments, compliment their dress/baby/whatever, and give suggestions to those who were crowd sourcing to a place where the news I was already reading was being littered with people’s opinions, misinformation was being shared far too often, and I was experiencing an echo chamber of what was going on in the race that I was already upset about.
So faster than you can say “pussygate,” I signed off.
Plenty of “Facebook-worthy” things happened in the time frame:
Tobias became more of a fashion plate…
We went apple picking,
made pizza from scratch (kinda),
got lost in our first corn maze,
picked our pumpkin off of the vine for the first time,
went to Washington D.C. with some friends,
where we watched U of H suffer a pretty bad loss. At least the sunset was nice:
Tina visited from Texas and we went hiking in Kent,
then we took a day trip to Boston.
A friend of Mark’s visited us in CT, and we drove him to Rhode Island, where we did the Cliff Walk.
I sewed an Elvis costume for Tobias,
I voted for the type of world I want to live in,
and then I was confronted that I looked a little too much like the people in this video as the election results came in.
(Our realtor in Fairfield, Erica Acheychek, sent us those lovely flowers to celebrate!)
Tobias made a really cute wigwam project for school,
Mark cooked us the full Thanksgiving digs,
I continued to do countless projects,
and Tobias continued to dress himself to impress.
A few takeaways from my time off of Facebook:
- I make more of an effort to have deep, authentic connections. I can’t stand small talk, at all. I think at times I put some people off because I like to jump into the big stuff too soon. I noticed that when I wasn’t getting daily (hourly/minutely) little blurbs about what was going on in other’s lives, I had to reach out to people and make an effort to connect. Which is pretty necessary when you need to meet friends in a new town.
- Other people make an effort, too. How many times have you wondered about someone in your life, checked their page, then moved on? We all do it, but it kind of sucks that you miss out on an opportunity to have a conversation with the person and get more information than what they’re willing to share with a vast audience. If people wanted to know how I was doing, they actually had to call or text me. Whoa.
- Privacy is cool. It’s funny to think that the privileged have always gone through great lengths to find secluded places to live in privacy, while today we hand it over for no apparent reason. Not just to some rando that happened to ask for our Facebook profile at a party eight years ago, but also to companies that are exploiting our willingness to share the information. For a millennial and someone that’s been sharing on one platform or another on and off for the last twenty years, it feels pretty cool when something is just yours and you’re not showing it off to anyone else.
- I won’t necessarily write more. I was hoping that with freed up time, I’d spend more time blogging and writing long form versions of the blurbs I’d usually share on Facebook. Did I write more? A little. Did I blog more? Nope, not really. I have learned that the only thing that gets me writing is putting on Tommy Guerrero and sitting my ass in front of the computer. Such is life.
- To kick the habit, there had to be something consistently negative for me to draw myself away. Just like what Jocelyn Glei says about email, Facebook is a slot machine: sometimes you pull the lever (open the website) and there’s something really great and exciting: an accomplishment or milestone of a longtime friend, and other times, you hear about something insignificant in someone’s day or get jealous or hear of a tragedy or think, “What is the world coming to?!” Because there is that chance to have that shot of dopamine from the former, the more habit-forming types (like me) are consistently checking social. It wasn’t until I was consistently irritated that I was able to kick the habit for a long period of time, despite many failed attempts in the past.
Today I return to Facebook, to talk to someone overseas where it is the easiest form for them to communicate with me, to create a business page so that my Instagram can be marked as such, and to tend to THIS:
But, I don’t think I’ll be spending as much time there as I had. #thankstrump (No, really–thanks for being so abhorrent I could kick a bad habit.)