I’ve been finding my Facebook world to be less and less tolerable. I say my Facebook world because everyone’s Facebook experience is tailored to them, based on likes and preferences. My Facebook world has become a bombardment of doom and gloom, mixed with a good dose of stupidity and disrespect. Before I continue, I should fess up. I likely add some doom and gloom to the mix. Even so, I’m increasingly feeling as though every visit to the blue page is dominated with negativity, making me angry or sad.
I’ve tried to manage this by removing people and things from my news feed. The person who constantly complained? Gone. The organization that constantly posted warnings about our pending self-destruction? Gone. The friend of a friend who constantly re-posted the latest celebrity gossip? Gone. But I’ve found that this strategy isn’t very successful. Even though it does cut down on the things that I don’t care to see, it doesn’t stop the flow of negativity. Facebook is a giant monster that thrives on posting and re-posting… and re-posting. This means that the stuff I’d rather not see always sneaks in, even if it’s through the back door.
There’s also the incessant ads, telling me that I need the thing that I googled last week. And there’s the drama, the frequent miscommunication that is the inevitable result of electronic communication. More often than not, my posts offend someone, or a post offends me. Sometimes the offense is the result of a misunderstanding, and other times opinions tumble more harshly from one’s fingertips than they would from one’s lips.
I’ve thought about shutting the whole operation down.
And then a wave of anxiety flows over me. I check Facebook several times a day. How can I do without it? When I think about where this anxiety originates, I find that it comes from two concerns: missing out on something and losing touch with people. I have plenty of Facebook friends whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in a decade, and sadly, Facebook is my primary source of news lately… and the cat videos are so very cute. So, what can I do? First, acknowledge that my anxiety stems from my insecurities, and then accept that technology has a firm, and suffocating, grip on me. It’s not just Facebook. It’s the internet, accessible by smart phones, laptops, and tablets. It’s the electronic flashing billboards on my commute to work. It’s the endless string of emails that interrupt the flow of my work day. It’s the ads before movies at the theater, and radio stations that barely play music anymore. It’s being surrounded by screens at restaurants and pubs, train stations and auto repair shops, and even at the doctor’s office. Information overload.
My Facebook problem is just a piece of a bigger problem, over stimulation brought on by technology. I’m wasting a lot of my life, and brain power, sorting through unsolicited information received via technology. Don’t misunderstand, I adore technology. I love that I can communicate with someone on the other end of the world with a click of a button. I appreciate that I can find out about anything, anytime, anywhere. As a naturally inquisitive person, the internet is a dream come true. However, I’m exhausted by how much time I spend sifting through gigabytes of data, removing what’s unwanted. Hours of my life have been lost, sucked into one YouTube video after another, after taking a minute to watch just one video of a cat dressed as a shark, riding a Roomba. I suspect that my growing intolerance for Facebook is just a symptom of an overdose of screen time.
Perhaps limiting technology would bring peace and balance to my life.
I suspect that once I detach from the blue page, the urge to check in will fall away. I probably won’t have time to miss the internet when I’m spending more time being present in the real world. The solution? Cull the technology and limit my usage…
…right after I check Facebook one more time.