1. I spend WAY too much time logged on, and have the tendency to find myself elbow deep in a high school acquaintance’s photos of a recent Bahamas vacation. Does anyone have that much time on our hands? I could be working on some writing, learning a new monologue, catching up on my Netflix, or hell, even lying on my couch daydreaming about what I want to do over the weekend. This is a personal preference, but any one of those things feels like time better spent for me than scrolling through photos and statuses that make me feel like I haven't been completing life milestones I didn't even know I was supposed to be completing.
2. I find that most of the people I interact with on Facebook in a consistent way are the same people in my life that I am seeing in person, calling, Skyping, emailing, or snail mailing. Which makes me realize that we aren't losing a connection for good if I leave Facebook for awhile. Who says you can't email photos of a vacation to a friend or send a cat video to a fellow feline lover? I've been known to do both, and there's no loss if all 400 of your "Friends" can't see it too.
3. I have fallen prey to the trap of thinking that just because an article of thought I posted didn't get as many likes as the person who posted about buying a new appliance for their kitchen, that somehow I have failed. This is ridiculous, I know. But the failure feels real. It feels shitty, and I don't want to feel that way anymore if I can help it. I want to continue to have the wonderful conversations with my dear friends where we take the time to listen and share our latest news, projects, fears, dreams, and thoughts. Sharing this way is so special. No "likes" involved.
Number 3 is a big one for me, and it's embarrassing that this kind of insecurity racks my soul from time to time on the Facebook world. They are all lovely things, but let's face it: I'm not posting photos of my baby, dog, cat, or picture perfect meals on a regular basis, so my posts tend not to be super popular among my Facebook friends. I don't say this to garner pity, just to be honest. I tend to post articles, blog entries, videos, info-graphics, and theatre news. These items are things that I tend to already blog about and besides, I can just email those links or thoughts to my real life pals anyway, so again, no big loss.
I do think that even though some might think it's being overdramatic, it's really dangerous to put too much stock in the "likes" that your Facebook posts garner. You can say it doesn't matter to you, and maybe it doesn't, but it does wear on me. Not in a "I have no friends!" kind of way, but in a way that makes me feel like I'm putting an idea or interest out there into the void and only feeling reassured that it's valuable and meaningful if someone "likes" it. I think that this "like" phenomena has become a bigger metaphor for society. Why is it that we teach young kids that their ideas are worthy, no matter how unpopular they might be, and then as adults, we set ourselves up to judge our worth by the number of "likes" on our Facebook Wall? Or the number of "retweets" on Twitter? Or even someone's reaction at the water cooler at the office? This is to say nothing of the the sense of comparison and competition that Facebook fosters amongst people. Who wants to feel that way all the time? It's kind of a crazy thing we've been swept into, and I want to make a move to take myself out of it for awhile just to gain some perspective. Ok, so I'm no Henry David Thoreau, but this is my own version of a social media Walden.
I won't say I'm leaving Facebook forever. As someone who does theatre, I know that social media has a place in the promoting of performing arts, and I'm not downplaying that. But I do think that social media lures us creative souls into "being interesting" instead of "being interested" in something we love. I want to get off the hamster wheel of needing to feel interesting 24 hours a day, and give myself permission to be deeply interested instead.
So! I will still be writing away on this blog, so feel free to keep visiting if you like, and feel free to send me your email if I don't already have it so we can keep this conversation going on a one to one basis. Facebook and I will say goodbye for now. It's an amicable parting. We wish each other well, we're just not meant to be together at the present time.
In the spirit of funneling time from social media to making art (or pies, or gardens, or living room forts), check out this great blog post by Tara Mohr that I discovered about using "stolen time" to make art, it's really wonderful; http://www.taramohr.com/2014/08/stolen-time/ And after you read it, go steal some time for yourself! :)
What are your thoughts on Facebook or other social media? I'd sincerely love to hear your experiences!