Did you know you can deactivate your Facebook account in the morning, return the next day, sign in, and resume reading and writing on the "wall" as usual? It's like Facebook knows its users can't be serious. Go ahead, click out anytime you want, but can you ever leave?
I reluctantly joined Facebook five years ago after one of several family functions where it was touted as the ultimate kumbaya-fest. And that was true, but as it was said in The Lost World: Jurassic Park: "Oooh, ahhh, that's how it always starts. Then later there's running and screaming."
When I first joined, my Facebook family was small enough to feel intimate. Sisters, cousins and close friends shared photographs of our children, grandchildren, special events and random images, like a sunrise behind an American flag as it waved over a quaint porch. As far as I know, we were all happy for each other whenever somebody went on vacation or took a "happy picture."
As each "friend" added to his or her connections, our Facebook Family grew. We then experienced the introduction of block quotes (like the ones I've shared here.) Some touched the heart, others made us laugh. Then, when passwords were forgotten for other internet services, Facebook accounts were used to sign in, which permitted access to gawd knows what. Advertising for everything from wrinkle cream to fat-burning pills appeared on our "walls," which included the image of five pounds of yellow body fat, always nice with morning coffee. There were political speeches, rants and biased "jokes", as well as judgmental religious commentary, which was usually about Christians, and mostly Catholics. (Yes, Catholics are Christians.)
Within two minutes of reading posts, like a meteorologist, one knows it's time to exit and run for cover. Facebook Weather Report: noisy and raucous, with a slight chance of kindness or fun. When I’m in the thick of my own dysfunctional role, I'm checking comments, rolling my eyes at posts similar to "My child is an honor student at…” And I'm one of those people who, no doubt, post too many “happy” photographs.
By the end of summer, there was an enormous collection of photographs posted of everybody's summer vacation destinations and family gatherings. More than one person, who was experiencing a personal struggle, said that it was painful to look at all the perfect family and couple's photographs. I said, wow, but what’s left when that’s gone? Block quotes and rants do not cut it for me. But a return to the early, more intimate Facebook experience can be like trying to hear birds chirp at a heavy metal concert.
In a writing class I attended over ten years ago, each student brought a childhood family photograph and it's story to class. We ooo'd and ahhh'd at each other's perfect black-and-white portraits. Then we learned the sad, funny, and even tragic realities. (However, enjoying miserable stories about another person's life is a warning. Houston, we have a problem!)
There's nothing to compare all this social media saturation with (except maybe the iconic Jurassic Park movie). But if your mood's sinking, check your Facebook engagement. Last week, I read this post, written by a former work associate, who is young, beautiful and in her twenties:
“I wonder what my life could be like if I got proper sleep, and had zero stress. I’m pretty envious of people that can afford to do that and take selfies of their beautiful, rested, stress free faces all day… instead of barely sleeping and dealing with people who either hate you, or take advantage of you every day of your life --- : ( feeling broken
For all my friends, I've done some homework and arranged a little survival kit.
Regardless of how often you jump on Facebook, where there are people, there will be occasional drama, and for that, I located this valuable article: 10 Ways to Avoid Facebook Drama.
It's been said, if you want to find out how good your life is, just turn off the news. And that rings true of Facebook. Here's an article in Psychology Today: Quitting Facebook Could Make You Happier.
Far be it from me to tell anybody what to do, especially since today I'm still on Facebook. But if you plan to sign off, check out this article and find more on Wikipedia. I intend to keep it handy in case I decide to pack it in: Six Things to Do Before You Delete Your Facebook Account.