For a while now, I've been saying it. "I hate Facebook." "Facebook is so dumb now." "Why am I even on here anymore?" And one day, it finally sunk in what I was saying. Why was I still on there if I claimed to loathe it so much?
I signed up back in 2008, when my brother suggested our family sign up to better communicate with him during his deployment. So I created my account, despite thinking at the time how much better Myspace was in comparison (oh, 2008 Erika, how you make me laugh!). I could only post statuses saying "Erika is ______." back then, and maybe that's part of it. But Facebook is changing, just like the whole of the internet seems to be. The pretty big silver lining to signing up then? I started chatting with my brother's roommate in Afghanistan...and as you all know, he ended up becoming my husband. Ironically enough, my brother wasn't on Facebook much longer than the deployment, and he's been off the grid for years now.
But back to the story-people have rights to opinions. I hope they have them- I know I have plenty. But one day, a family member started posting statuses that completely trashed the people in the economic situation my family is in, and it really hurt my feelings. After they wrote me a long message apologizing, I thought it was over. It wasn't. The posts continued, and someone's personal opinion began to feel very much like a personal attack. So family or not, I unfriended them. It was at that time I realized at the end of the day, I prefer keeping the peace, but the peace of my own heart should be worth something too.
There have been issues since that time, too...like the person who commented on my status every time just to disagree with me. If I had said the sky is blue, they would have countered with, "Well, no, not really." There was the one who always posted pictures that really offended me, like a painting of Jesus saying the f word. And the political things this year have been so over the top, it made me not want to vote at all. I've already voted. So at least until after this election, I decided not to be on personal Facebook page, and limit things just to you on my blog page.
And that's when it really hit me- why am I doing this to myself? I spent so much time complaining about Facebook, yet I spent so much time on it. And I realized it wasn't even so I could share things about my life- I have this blog to do that, and to post every picture I want. It's because the writer in me is afraid to miss out on everyone else's story.
What if they announce a marriage or a baby? What if they move across the world, and I didn't know? What about seeing cute pictures of their kids, or chiming in on that new outfit they posted? As silly as it sounds, I realized I just can't read everyone's stories anymore- that some story lines aren't a good, enriching part of my life, and that it benefits no one to keep reading them. If they are close family or friends, it's likely we communicate in other ways anyway, and if they aren't, then the world doesn't end if I don't know what kind of sandwich they had for lunch that day.
We're never getting 1950 back, where the only means of hearing other people's stories was actually speaking to them, or maybe listening in on a party line. And maybe that's okay for a fairly shy girl like me. The internet is amazing, but it's the biggest Pandora's box the world has ever seen. I've only been off Facebook for a week or two, and it's amazing how much good it has done me. Maybe I won't get back on after the election. Maybe I will, and limit myself to checking it once a week. Either way, I'm done making it such a focus in my life.
The point is not that Facebook is evil. It's quite literally who you know, and it's the time you invest in it, too. The point is that sometimes it's okay to not listen to the 400 'friends' I have, and to listen to the people closest to me instead- or even, sometimes, just to listen to the in and out of my own breath, away from everything else. It's so hard to get away from it all these days, but the introvert in me not only craves it, but needs it to function.
And you know what, Mark Zuckerburg? It's been pretty beautiful out here in the quiet.