20 April 2015

less virtual, more actual

A few weeks after Zoe was born I decided to log out of Facebook during the week, and only check back on the weekends. Facebook has its nice side to be sure, but it had grown to be a huge annoyance, a relentless barrage of mostly-useless information. It was too much for my tired and hormonal brain to handle. I needed to narrow down my world for a while.

Gather Ye Rosebuds, J.W. Waterhouse
I think sometimes we spend so much time tracking other people's lives that we have no time left to live our own.

Two months later, I have decided to throw out Facebook entirely. I think it's going to be great.

Here's why, mainly: without Facebook and its illusion of intimacy, I am obliged to invest in people in more personal ways. When I skim over twenty status updates I fool myself into thinking that now I know what's going on with those friends. Ridiculous! I only know anything of substance if I have individual contact with them. So now that is what I do, and it is excellent. I call a friend, meet them at the park, send them a letter.

Relying on one-to-one contact, rather than the scattershot free-for-all of Facebook, frees me from the burden of keeping tabs on everyone I have ever met. The internet makes it so easy to get in touch with people, we can feel obligated to do so. We should keep up with all our old acquaintances! We must follow their Twitter feeds! We have to let them know what we're doing, too! But those expectations are completely unrealistic . . . and unnecessary. I would only consider five or six people in my life "close friends." I have a lot more friends than that, sure (over 300 if Facebook is to be believed). But I would never pour out my deepest struggles and joys to them, or even expect them to care. I know this sounds horrible, but they don't expect me to care about all of them either, and if I say goodbye to Facebook I don't even have the option of trying.

Granted, pulling back from social media means losing information. I will find out about engagements a week later than everybody else. I won't see pictures of so-and-so's new baby or get to read the interesting links that other people share. In fact, I will lose touch with some people altogether. That makes me sad. But it is okay. Life works like that sometimes. We cannot make and maintain infinite connections, because we ourselves are finite. (And if my only "connection" to somebody is reading the occasional status update, how real is that anyway?)

I feel a bit like a rebel. Facebook has convinced many of us that we NEED it in order to stay connected with our friends. Well, I'll show you, Facebook! Quite honestly, I have found that my relationships are far richer when I don't use social media as a crutch.

I didn't write this post to scold you into leaving Facebook, of course. If you like it and benefit from it, hurray! But I don't like it anymore, and I know that there are a lot of people out there in the same boat. You've wasted too many afternoons scrolling through your feed, or been stressed by the pressure of keeping tabs on everyone, and muttered "Man, I should just get rid of Facebook." But you never got around to hitting the delete button. Well, you should do it!

I am still going to blog, because I enjoy writing so much. I love following my friends' blogs too, because people pour much more of themselves into their writing than they do into Facebook posts. (If I know you and you have a blog, I bet I've found it already, but just in case . . . if any of you have been secretly blogging, tell me!)

In addition, I am growing more concerned for my daughters' privacy and won't be posting many pictures of our family here. I have already culled quite a few from the archives. Instead, I've opened an Instagram account (@rdaphne.r) for friends who want to keep up with us that way. It will have plenty of pictures, but it is private and I need to approve you before you can view it. Just create an account if you don't already have one and send me a request.

See you around.

5 comments:

  1. Good for you! I quit Facebook a year and a half ago and have zero regrets. It frees life up immensely and I've found that all of life's important updates trickle down to me eventually anyway. Please do keep on with the blog. I love reading it! :)

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  2. Never had it...

    Did I miss out on something significant?
    Probably not.
    daddus

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  3. Rebekah Daphne22 April, 2015 21:08

    You were my inspiration :)

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  4. Rebekah Daphne22 April, 2015 21:08

    I think not.

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  5. Great plan. I usually just pop onto Facebook once or twice a week for five minutes to post a link or ask for help on some random thing. I also don't like posting important info there. I feel like if you don't know me well enough to hear it directly from me, you're not really my friend, no matter what Facebook says. Sorry, but the Facebook "friend" thing is an illusion.

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