A Break from Facebook
It started with this post: Updated August 24,2021
I decided early in August to take a break from social media specifically, from Facebook for a month. I admit the first few days was difficult as it is with any addiction. But I knew I needed to change my routine and fill it in with something meaningful.
Surprisingly, I noticed in short order I didn't have the same curiosity or even a desire to know what anyone was doing. I figured if they wanted me to know hopefully, they would call me, and some have. After my break I learned to appreciate life more fully, the surprise phone calls, the aroma of fresh tea, and hearing laughter. life is good.
My decision to take this break was based on it took away my joy. Now Isn't summer supposed to be about having fun and enjoying oneself?
I began using Facebook because I live two time zones from most of my family, and it is a way to be connected. In the beginning it was an exciting new frontier as people were navigating Facebook and learning how to use it. Family and friends were engaging. But the likes and thumbs up lost their appeal for me.
The Dunbar's number which is a measurement of the number of relationships our brain is capable of maintaining at any one time Robin Dunbar is a world renowned expert on human relationships and has a ton of fascinating research findings and practical tips for urging your friendships.
As you know we are social animals and have an innate desire for meaningful social connection for survival. We need touch, to hear laughter, and to share a meal to develop deep relationships.
More recently I felt I was being policed, something that I posted would inevitably be misunderstood. And I would get a private message giving me a slap on my fingers. And if I was lucky enough to get a phone call, I could explain myself no harm no foul, however often I would just get a message on messenger chastising me for what I had posted.
Sadly, the bottom line is that my original intent for deeper connection with family and “friends” fell short. Granted this is not only in my family but generally people have become used to a certain way of using Facebook and in my opinion, it is not meant for connection.
Unfortunately, people prefer checking Facebook status to picking up the phone and talking to each other. That is Fu** up! Before I decided to take this break from Facebook a couple of family members told me they went off Facebook. I noticed they were happier, more confident. It was as if they had escaped a cult! This caught my curiosity.
It is the middle of August and I have been off Facebook for 3 weeks. And it feels great! I too feel more confident, happier and creative.
More importantly, this has changed me in just 3 weeks. I have been more productive and have engaged in more meaningful communication. I have time to read real books, and it brings me something Facebook didn't . I am seriously considering deleting my account entirely. Is it cheating if I have been using Instagram to post pictures and it appears I am on Facebook but I'm not?
Instagram, I see as different. I have picked people to follow from podcasts and books I have read because they are like minded and I don't have an expectation for a deep connection with them. I choose to follow people who satisfy my curiosity on my journey for health and happiness and who provide helpful hints for living a healthier and happier lives. Interestingly, some are even family. Moreover it is on balance more positive tool.
The biggest difference taking this break from Facebook, apart from more time, I have seen so far is that people who know me have called me on the phone. What a concept. One such person mentioned to me I haven't seen you on Facebook and I just wanted to say hey.
Last summer, I adopted a practice where I text someone is them when they would be available for chat. I made an appointment to have a chat. lol This works well so I continued to use that method to make personal connections.
Don't you agree we have lost our ability to have fluid and natural communications? Ironically, we think social media connects us, but we have lost our ability to engage, to listen, to respond, and to connect with each other. Many have opted to communicate through text and messages by way of social media. Or using their smartphone. While sending texts may increase quantity and speed of communication, and the quality of our communications has suffered. We have lost the meaning of connection. Before I took this break from Facebook, I would get messages like did you see my Facebook post? I replied I'm not on Facebook continually, I popped in first thing in the morning, and I don't go back until the next day so, no I didn’t see your post.
Facebook has created a false sense of connection with one another. It is unquestionable and obvious to me that Facebook has changed the way we communicate, and not always for the better. I am speaking more for myself on this point.
I used Facebook to see what someone was up to instead of calling them . After a couple hours of scrolling, it satisfied my curiosity and I felt that I connected to them by my comments, likes, and emoji's I responded with. That is sad! The problem is that is a fail! , it's one way from me to a computer and not directly to a person. How is that a meaningful connection? I really don't believe the recipient felt any connection with me, and if I was honest with myself, it was unfulfilling for me as well. It is not an adequate substitute for meaningful connection.
The normal cues we get from face-to-face communication is missing, such as facial expressions, hand gestures, inflections in our tone. Even the pauses between sentences as we speak is missing. And this increases the chances of misunderstandings. Moreover, we tend to overreact to what we read on Facebook, and in the moment our emotions can get the best of us. leading to drastic consequences. Many relationships have been broken over comments on Facebook. Can we just grow up?
Facebook is creating a wedge between us and unless we take drastic actions like deleting our account, we will be forever slaves of this illusion that we are connecting to each other meaningfully. Pick up the phone and visit in person and get back to normal ways of communicating that avoids the misunderstanding and ambiguity that Facebook is known for.
It is a sad commentary when a society believes this can replace human to human connection. Particularly in the middle of a global pandemic we need more than ever human connection. When the pandemic is over, I hope people will realise
We should choose to be mindful how we use Facebook and dispense with the notion that it is to create human connection. Don’t be afraid of taking a break now and then from it.
Particularly if it creates unhealthy relationships, and if it causes you to feel less than or not good enough. And furthermore, if you begin to question people's motives for not liking or commenting on your post, or if you feel the memes are speaking to you directly, it is time for a break. Really take a break from it!!!
What I have discovered from my little break is nothing is a substitute for person-to-person communication. I enjoy receiving an invitation to set a time for a telephone visit. It makes me smile to hear a familiar voice We humans by and large are social animals and have an innate need for community and have a deep desire for connection. Make no mistake: you won’t get it from Facebook. What this Facebook break has proven to me is that my life is rewarding and satisfying without it, and yours is too.
Relish the remainder of your summer I recommend taking a break from Facebook. And it may even enhance your communication and create a deeper connection with your “friends”.
After I wrote this post I started thinking some more and came to this conclusion:
August 22, 2021
Open Letter to Facebook
I am breaking up with you. It's not you, it's me.
Yeah, well, actually it is you.
I admit that you showed me who you were in the beginning, but I was blind to it. It was there for all of us to see, but it took time for it to sink in. I cannot identify when my frustration with you began. It happened gradually. I think I was lulled into a false sense of community and connection because that is how you're designed.
I got distracted by the gimmicks, thumbs up and emojis. I admit that is clever programming. Before I even realize what was happening, I was being trained on how to behave on Facebook. Mindlessly scrolling, liking what others posted and wasting my time. These likes created a psychological response, the more likes the happier people felt. Not to mention we felt like we we were missing out and habitually had to check what was happening on facebook It is a disturbing game.
Facebook was never created for the user. The cunning design convinced us it was. We were duped and willingly participated. It preyed on our emotions, drawing us deeper into it.
I too was duped. I believed it was here for me. It was exciting new and full of possibilities. You introduced me to new “friends” and groups it thought I was interested in, but I’ve come to understand It was about money, not mine but Facebook.
We want fundamentally different things. I want something greater which I appreciate you can’t give me. You are superficial and you’re greedy, only after one thing! I digress, I shouldn't be resorting to name calling but I am irritated I wasted so much time there.
Recently, I've been hanging out with another social media app, where there is no false expectation, nothing is required from me, and I want nothing from it. It is easy, and I am having fun, even if it is part of Facebook, somehow it is different.
However, I learned from you, and now I am a bit cautious. I have this suspicion that you're all the same. The truth is Facebook and the like are self serving.. These connections are economical for you, right? The goal is to generate revenue for itself. And we willingly bare our details of our lives to you as we interact with “friends.”
A couple of years ago I thought that I could make it work. I even formed a group of like-minded intelligent individuals on your platform. I was hoping to encourage them to not automatically react but to think and to respond differently. But alas, we were all already overwhelmingly caught up in this unhealthy one-way pattern, and I, personally couldn't let go of my expectations of how I wanted this to work.
I know now it is my unfulfilled expectation that has caused me frustration and disappointment. At the end of the day, I wanted more than you could deliver.
Yes, you reminded me of many good times, anniversaries, birthdays, and such, asking me to share those memories with others. You even created games to entertain me and to keep me coming back. And you kept suggesting “friends” you thought might make me happy. I do appreciate your effort but it's not enough to keep this dysfunctional connection going, because you did those things not for my benefit but to mine my personal data to enrich yourself.
Indeed, I see who you are. Who you have always Our expectations no longer align. I've enjoyed my time with you, because you were filling my needs but unfortunately, I never felt completely fulfilled. Something was always missing. Your algorithm has completely underestimated my deep desire for a real connection, which you couldn’t provide me.
|My sisters late Liz, Dora, Mary, Annie, Me|
|We always have fun in person|