A Funny Thing Happened on the Way off Facebook

This past October, Dear Reader, I wrote a short post on the Facebook page my husband and I share.  I stated that I would be taking a FB break, would check back in during my Christmas vacation in December, and then reevaluate my decision.

I assured people I wasn’t going away mad.  I was simply going off social media for awhile.  

Naturally, I received a few passive/aggressive comments to my face, probably to be expected. I would guess some folks couldn’t help but take my departure as an indictment against their Facebook presence, which I assure you,  was far from my intent. If I actually had the ability to persuade large masses of people to stop doing something which would make this world a better place, exiting Facebook wouldn’t even make the list.

This past December when I checked in, I realized one person wanted to know the rationale behind my decision.  So in no particular order, here are a few of the reasons I decided exiting social media for large chunks of time would be beneficial to my life:

1. Going back to teaching has really cut down on any free time I have.  It will get better, I know. I’ve played this game before. And I’m certainly not complaining, as I knew exactly what I was getting into when I agreed to go back into teaching.  But the reality is if I’m going to do my best to maintain a twenty-four hour turn around with assessing work and entering grades in the computer, something had to give. OK, many things had to give, and one of the easiest things to let go of was Facebook.

2. In the last three months I have not been exposed to any political rants (from one side or the other) from any Facebook “friends.”  Dear Reader, that’s nice!

3. By removing myself from the expectations, I could finally meet the expectations.  Our Facebook page changed drastically after the wreck. I could not keep up with the few Facebook friends we had prior, let alone the thousand plus people now.  It’s too much. And people would get mad at me. “What do you mean you don’t know? I put it on Facebook!” Well you see, even though you did put it on Facebook, I don’t know because I don’t have the time or energy to shift through posts from over 1,200 people daily.  And some people post multiple times per day! I’m interested in real life events of importance. It’s difficult to shift through what people had for dinner and the details of their toddler throwing up to find the obituaries and surgeries. It overwhelms me. So if I just acknowledge, “I’m a Facebook loser and don’t keep up with it,” then everyone acknowledges such and their expectations of me drop.

4. Getting off Facebook helps me control my anger.  Let’s be real, people post some pretty stupid things with limited perspective.  There’s always one post from shortly after the wreck, which sticks in my mind. Someone wrote, “Today has been the worst day of my life!”  I leaned in because I, too, have had a “worst day of my life” and I was ready to begin prayer for this gal . . . until I read the following.  “Today has been the worst day of my life. I went to Wal-Mart and someone had left their gum on the cart. I got gum all over my hand and it was terrible and . . .”  I stopped reading.  Could putting my hand on previously chewed gum be the worst experience of my life?  Wow.

5. Getting off Facebook helps me control my jealousy.  Let’s be real, I too want the pretty, normal family pictures.  I, too, want everyone to be standing on a beach or in the woods, or let’s be real, just standing!  For my family, standing is out, beaches are out, and normal is out. Let me tell you how exciting looking at prom pictures was for me when my daughter was in high school.  Deep sigh. I know my limits, and in order to stay grateful and not move into jealousy, getting off Facebook helps.

6. And finally, and this is the best part, people who truly want me to be part of their lives now contact me personally!  They’ve gone old school with me which I love since I am old and love school! “I know you are not on Facebook and I want you to know about my new grandchild!”  I had the distinct pleasure of three mothers telling me to my face that their child was engaged. You don’t get that kind of reaction online. You don’t hear real squeals.  You don’t feel real hugs. You don’t see genuine happiness in another person’s eyes.

Is Facebook horrible?  Goodness no; it can be used for much good in this world.  But as for me, I will continue to take long breaks from it. I plan to check in four times a year or so unless my daughter miraculously walks again, and well, then, I just may have to break my own self-imposed rule!

And who knows?  Maybe someone will post this blog on my Facebook page.  Ha!

Until next Wednesday, if the Lord allows.  As always, all past blogs may be accessed for free at www.squirrelchat.com  Happy New Year, Dear Reader.