October 7, 2012

The Quiet


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.

16 kind comments from you:

Amanda said...

I feel ya on this. Just so you know though, if you do decide to reactivate, there are settings so you don't see that annoying persons posts, ever. But you are still friends with them. I have mine set so I don't see any games and basically only see status posts and pictures posted. Cause at the end of the day that is all I am interested in.

Jen said...

I completely agree with you! :)

Mrs. H said...

You're so right! There can be so much negativity on Facebook these days...especially because we feel guarded by a screen. You just feel compelled to share your opinion just as you thought it instead of thinking about thoroughly (I've unfortunately have done that a few times...)

Seriously though, more power to ya! I may do it as well...but it's too hard not share pictures! <3 (And I'm also sad you're not on Facebook as well...you're one of the positive ones!)

Mrs. K said...

I don't participate in Lent usually, but this year I decided to give up Facebook during that time. It was so peaceful. The only time I missed it was when ladies from my bible study group would meet up for events outside our regular meeting time and I didn't get the memo. Other than that, I didn't miss it at all. I didn't have to deal with "family" members starting drama. I didn't care if I missed what someone was having for lunch, etc. It was nice. I've been toying with the idea of doing away with it for good. It's amazing how much time one can waste looking at a whole bunch of nothin'!

Jenn said...

I got off facebook right after Sam was born (holy cow, 2 years ago) (!!!), and I have never looked back. The people that I was so worried about losing contact with? We (both- friendship is a 2-way street) either continued to stay connected through email/phone calls/text or I realized that it was never really a true friendship anyway, just someone that I enjoyed creepin' on through photos and status updates. ;)
While I do get funny looks when people find out I don't have one, it is so totally worth it to be away from all of that negativity (ESPECIALLY during election time omg I'm so happy to not read election opinions!!). ;)
More power to ya for taking a fb break!

Deanna said...

I've really started to taper back my Facebook time- and what I post. The constant disagreements or opening myself up to have my parenting styles critiqued by posting a "funny" status or picture was just really starting to get on my nerves. I don't know why people hide in the corner and just criticize people. The Internet makes that easy I guess. Proud of you for taking a step back. It sounds awfully appealing....hmmmm

Chantal said...

I've cut back on Facebook, at least the groups I'm a part of, but man, I don't think I can give it up quite yet. I like the sense of community, whatever it is, when I can read what others are up to and they can comment on my photos and status updates. I'm such a social creature that sometimes the baby isn't enough and I have to fall back on my internet crowd.

____j said...

There have been so many times when I thought about deleting facebook, but always decided against it since it's pretty much the only way we keep up with most of Aaron's family. It is trying at times, though. I don't blame you one bit.

Kathryn said...

I agree. I also did what Amanda did and I have the settings set to see only Status and updates. Then once someone gets annoying or inappropriate, I either unfriend them, or just block them. It keeps me happy and I still feel connected to my friends who live in Michigan

Mel said...

Good for you! Life is too short to spend all that time getting upset over people on FB. I think it's easy to get caught up in the "culture" of FB and social media - we're bloggers, after all - but it's not always healthy. Once you start to feel like you are losing yourself or not happy anymore, it's time to step away!

Michelle said...

I love this post. There are not enough words to tell you how much I love it. Everything you said resonated with me. I had the same issues with people disagreeing with everything I said, and I unfriended so many people. I think I stayed on so long for the same reason you did--I didn't want to miss a milestone in someone's life or an announcement. But then I started thinking that I honestly felt like my relationships were suffering thanks to Facebook. It made it effortless to find out what's going on in each others lives. If people wanted to be in my life, I wanted them to make an effort. I really feel like my real life friendships have been strengthened since getting off Facebook. I'm finally reconnecting with people in person instead of online. Not that Facebook is bad or anything like that. I still think it's great for keeping in touch with friends and relatives who don't live nearby. For me, though, getting rid of it has simplified my life so much.It's incredible how much peace I've felt since deleting it. And as much as I wish we could go back to 1950, I think backing away from social media is as close as we will get. Though I will never give up blogging :)

"I prefer keeping the peace, but the peace of my own heart should be worth something too." --you nailed it! I so agree.

Maya said...

I agree times one thousand. I recently got off on Facebook, too. I felt like it was getting way too far with everyone posting things about the election and stupid chessy photos that apprantly if you shared it so many times it would save a life. I mean there is a way to make it fun if we only posted entaining or noteworthly things, but for me theg ood outweighs the bad and so on. So Im no longer on and I'm glad others aren't either.

Fran said...

Psh, so not controversial. I think we each need to do what works for each of us. I know I've cut back on Facebook, it's just too much work and I get a too stressed with stuff people post on there. I figured all relationships are two way streets, telephone work both ways, so if people really do want to keep in touch with me, they can contact me through my phone. I really over the whole "let's comment back and forth on Facebook thing, ya know?

greaterexp said...

I long for a return to days when we didn't tell everything about ourselves - every opinion and thought - at the drop of a hat (or keystroke). We would seem so rude if we did that in person. I was recently viciously attacked by someone who saw that I "liked" something that he/she apparently didn't "like." That relationship is probably permanently damaged. It's gotten crazy and worse. I still have my account, but rarely visit - usually only if someone tells me they have posted pictures. I try to encourage people to send me info via the mail or email - or better yet, live and in person! We tend to be much kinder in person, and I think that's a good thing. Besides, it's sad to see the trivial things in life made to be so big. Does anyone really need to know a moment-to-moment update about everything you're doing, thinking, or feeling? A little mystery is good. Thanks for a great post.

Kaylee said...

Yes! I LOVE this! I deleted my facebook account a few years ago and sometimes I wonder why I ever made a new one (I totally did it because I had just traveled with people from all over and my justification was to keep in touch with them...which I do...). I am so glad you are finding refreshment in the quiet!

The New Normal said...

I love this!! I get on Facebook way too much, probably for the reason you mentioned - fear of missing out on something. But it is the biggest time waster and at times I get so frustrated with people becuase of it. I have deleted a few "friends" recently because there was just no point in reading their posts, we aren't friends and honestly we never were, so why continue? I've also hidden a few that I still want to be friends with, but right now with the election stuff, I just prefer not to read what they say. I like the idea of taking a FB break, but it is a way that I stay connected with a couple of really close friends and family, not sure I could cut it out completely. :( Maybe I should just hide LOTS of people! I do miss your updates on FB though, but I'm glad staying off has brought peace to you. Good for you!!

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