Back in the day (2010) I was a Twitter fan and had no use for Facebook.
Over time, my friends and family started using Facebook for all things social, sharing pictures, party invitations, requests for homework assignments. I friended some business colleagues, I shared some of my life and business, too.
But lately, Facebook feels ick.
The combination of endless Ebola updates, talk of crisis and heartache world wide and the endless selling, bickering, debate and disagreement is just too much to bear.
Even something as harmless and potentially helpful as the #icebucketchallenge for ALS has haters.
Actually people I thought were cool and supportive of those in need have hated on this viral project.
And it brings up in me these ambivalent, eye-rolling kind of feelings.
I find myself saying out loud more than I want to admit, “Really?? Really?!”
Because if you can’t take something fun like a charity fundraiser in stride, something isn’t right.
But, that is *my* opinion, I suppose.
And there is the crux of weirdness on Facebook. Everyone is entitled to an opinion that they state out loud.
Now we all have a platform to voice our every thought, sunset experienced, lobster eaten, dog walked, baby laughed with, shoes bought,.
It’s exhausting. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my own life, never mind processing others’ moment-to-moment joys and sorrows.
Through it all, I think we lose a precious opportunity to spread useful information, share our deepr insights and original thoughts, advocate for causes that matter.
Rather than lift each other up, we exist in a parallel process for validating attention for the minutia in our life.
But this is how we are, we humans.
We look at the world through out own unique lens and the focus of all the snapshots are of ourselves.
This is just a fact, not a judgement, nor a calling out. I do it, too. We are self-preservationists. It’s how we survive as a species.
But if we are always trying to manage other people’s problems and vicariously live their special moments, we don’t tend to our own joys, nor care for our own needs.
Early research suggests that teens who spend a great deal of time on Facebook are more depressed than those who spend less time plugged into the platform. Some hypothesize this is due to comparison fatigue. I suggest it may be due to simply exhausting our brains in trying to process too much social information that is irrelevant to our own survival or needs.
After being on Facebook, I’m exhausted, numb, neither happy nor sad. My brain is just fried. What does it mean that so-and-so is on a boat in New Hampshire and who-and-who has a health emergency? What role does that play for me, what role to I play in that reality? I can send a thumbs up. I can offer virtual hugs. But after processing the “other” life experiences for awhile, my brain just can’t keep up.
And I’m over the “debates” from people who just need to disagree for disagreement’s sake. Life is too short for petty, I’m sure we can all agree. Yet somehow, we all take the bait (or set it) once in awhile.
The piece I can control is how much time I spend on Facebook and I have dialed back my time a great deal. I’m not sure how much adding my life to the mix is helpful to any of us.
I do enjoy updates on friends and family, kids and pets, so I won’t disappear from Facebook entirely. But my days of socializing there are shortening and I’m moving all the important updates to share with people in my real life orbit.
I can either focus on life on the screen or life here in my 3D world. I like the real stuff. The hugs feel better.