Monday, 19 January 2015

Facebook and I are on a break...

I love Facebook.  It took me a while to get into it but since 2007 it has been a part of my daily life.  Recently though, I began to realise that I was spending a lot of time just wandering around my news feed, randomly liking things that friends had posted and generally not using my time very productively. Facebook has enabled me to reconnect with people I haven't seen in thirty years (I can't believe I am old enough to not have seen someone for thirty years.  That's shocking, especially when I still don't feel any different to when I was thirteen).  It has allowed me to share information and keep in touch with friends and family who, for whatever reason, I don't get to see that often nowadays.  It has also given me the opportunity to share everyday stuff with people who, if I didn't post status updates about what I'm doing or put photos up, would miss out on what we as a family are busy doing.
There are two reasons that I have fallen a little out of love with the site over the past however long.  The first is that I began, just subconsciously at first, but then more overtly, to question why I felt the need to be sharing so much with other people.  Shouldn't it be enough to be having a good time with my family and for the occasion to be just that?  Why do I feel the need to post 'as it is happening' photos up for friends and family to see; look, we are at the park; look, here we are at the cinema; hey, check us out, we are doing something else fun that you aren't.  I began to feel pretty uncomfortable with the reasons behind my need to share.  Was it that I felt my life was so great, I had to shout it from the roof tops?  Or is it that I feel I am missing out on something and need to let other people know that, no, look, I'm having a fantastic time too?  This new year, I am trying to put some Mindfulness into practice and constantly thinking about what other people would like to see and how my need to share my experiences with other people, is a sure fire way to get a person right out 'of the moment' and end up with a photo of an experience that wasn't properly fulfilling while it was actually taking place.  So, I decided that I needed a break and if I couldn't make myself stop browsing the site so often during the day, I would have to create a complete break.  Cold turkey if you will.
The other reason was that I was becoming frustrated with what was being posted.  There were articles and most especially, video content which friends were posting, that I found offensive and short of 'unfriending' the person, I couldn't stop this stuff appearing - yes, I realise I don't need to look at it but when videos play as I'm scrolling down, there isn't a great deal I can do about it other than move on past rubbish clogging up my page.  Responding to friends' pictures or comments on innocuous subjects - one on a picture of a clown and one on an article about disused fairground rides (I know, sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?) meant that I got into stupid and annoying 'dialogues' (if they can even be called that) with people I didn't know, who had commented negatively on my post (not to them, to the person who was actually was my 'friend') and whom I then felt I had to defend myself to.  It was wasting my time, these people didn't care what I thought and honestly, I don't know what I hoped to achieve.  The result was that I got annoyed and thought that the nonsense had to stop.
I'm hoping that after '99 days of freedom', I will be in better control of my need to share with all and sundry and able to enjoy the positive aspects of Facebook without getting sucked into all the rubbish, mundane detritus that comes with it.

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