That time I nearly quit Facebook


Quitting Facebook seems to be the thing to do to make a statement these days.  Tired of the drama?  Pull yourself out of it by deleting your Facebook account.  The truth is, I know very few people who don’t have a Facebook account, and I can’t say I ever handle it gracefully when I find out.

The conversation usually goes pretty much exactly like this:

Me:  I’ll be in touch.  I’ll add you on Facebook and then just send you a message.
My Conversation Partner (CP):  I don’t have Facebook
Me:  *stunned silence* You don’t… have Facebook??  Why not??
CP:  It’s a big waste of time and I just don’t like dealing with all the drama.

(or something fairly similar to that)

I think that the reason it always shocks me so much is that I absolutely love Facebook.  To be honest, I spend an inordinately large amount of time on Facebook, and while the drama has gotten to me from time to time, I find I can usually solve the problem by unfollowing something or taking a break.  I have never wanted to quit before.

Until about two weeks ago.

I couldn’t bring myself to actually cut the cord, because the reasons I love Facebook are that I can keep up with family and friends that I don’t see regularly, and the idea that I wouldn’t be able to see what those peeps were up to broke me a little bit.  But those same reasons that I love it are also the reasons I was hating it.

I’m mostly an extrovert.  For the past 6 years, my entire summer has been spent at Camp, surrounded by people, and at most times with not enough alone time.  I’ve got a few introverted tendencies that pop out when I’ve just spent too much time surrounded by people, but I just need a couple hours to myself (usually with a book), and then I’m good to go again!  I would hands down consider myself an extrovert.  This summer though, I came home early.  I wasn’t working very hard and I missed my friends, so a week and a half before the end of the ministry season, I packed my car up and made the trek back South.  The first two days of unpacking, cleaning, and organizing while getting ready for another school year to start were amazing.  They were what my tired body and soul needed, even though it was exhausting.  I’ve never gone into a school year all unpacked with a clean house before…. likely because I tend to get home from Camp at 11:30 pm on Labour Day, and have to get up 7.5 hours later and go back to work.  I was loving every moment of my solitude, and I wasn’t spending a lot of time on Facebook OR Netflix (which was precisely what I told everyone I was going home to do).

Then I got lonely.  So, so lonely.  I had nothing really to do once I was unpacked and my basement was clean and organized, so I collapsed onto my couch with a bag of chips and logged into Netflix.  While binge watching Being Erica, I scrolled mindlessly through Facebook to catch up on things I’d missed from having limited and unreliable Internet access for 8 weeks.

But it made me sad!  Facebook isn’t supposed to make me sad, but I found that while I sat by myself, after more than enough alone time for an extrovert, I started looking at the cool things my friends were doing, and instead of being happy for them and enjoying the adventures of the people I care about, I got jealous.  And sad.  And lonely.

After a day or two of mindless scrolling, getting sadder and sadder and more and more lonely, I came to the fed-up conclusion that I needed to take a break from Facebook.  I needed to quit.  I needed to walk away from it, and even though I’d be sad not to see updates, it would better for my mental health.

Except I made it only a few hours before I wanted to share a picture.  And then I made it only another half an hour before someone commented on the picture and I wanted to see what they said… and so on.

What I discovered was that I didn’t need a break from Facebook.  Sure, I probably needed to not spend hours at a time just scrolling through my feed while I binge-watched Netflix…. I did go play my violin, play with my dog, write for a bit, organize more things, and get my back to school shopping done… because that much screen time isn’t helpful or healthy no matter what the circumstances… but I didn’t quit Facebook.  I discovered that it was my attitude toward the information I was receiving that I needed to change.

While I was scrolling, I came across this post from Blog Her written by a woman apologizing to a friend for unfollowing her on Facebook because she was jealous of the great life she appeared to have.  When I read it, I remembered some of the statistics I’ve read while looking into the effects of Social Media on my students.  Apparently I’m vulnerable to the effects myself….

If we compare ourselves to others, regardless of the circumstances, we will never be satisfied with what we have.  And how can we be happy and content when we’re constantly jealous of what others have?  But what I have to remember is that while I’m sitting on my couch and I’m sad because I’m bored and lonely, I’m comparing myself to the version of reality everyone else is posting.  Their best faces go forward on Facebook, just like mine does, and that’s what I think is one of the biggest dangers to the comparison game.

I stumbled across this yesterday, which is also apt here.


Image Source

The reality is that somewhere, someone may be scrolling through their feed and wishing their life was as cool as mine, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok for me to compare my life to anyone else’s.

My life is great.  I have fantastic friends, and an exciting new job adventure starting on Tuesday, and so I don’t need to read what my friends, family, and acquaintances are up to and be sad.  I instead can praise God for the great things they have going for them, and I can be thrilled for their successes.

It’s when I stop being able to do that that it may genuinely be time to get off Facebook… because otherwise what’s the point?

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Old School Blogging: Holiday Edition


Credit for this Old School Blogging idea once again goes to the lovely Olive To Run, as this appeared in my inbox yesterday I believe.  Well, her version did… To read her answers and check out her fantastic blog, click HERE!

First things first: 1 Holy Night or 8 Crazy Ones? (Do you Celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, both?) One Holy Night.

Peppermint or Chocolate? Gosh can I have them together?  Always?  PLEASE!?

Sing us into the Holiday Season, what is your favorite Carol this time of year? Carol of the Bells always has been my favourite.  The words aren’t over the top, but the melody is sooo beautiful, it just sounds like Christmas to me.  Especially when done by string instruments.  Check this out by the Cellist from The Piano Guys.  Phenomenal.  The medley with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen just gives me shivers.

Tell us about a Favorite Family or Personal Holiday Tradition. I love it when my Mom comes down and we get to put up and decorate my Christmas tree together.  We used to do it together every year while watching the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.  Now that we aren’t together on that day anymore, we just pick a time when she’ll be at my place close to Christmas (happened to be November 30th this year) and watch a Christmas movie while we decorate.  I looove it.

C’mon you remember your favorite  (Christmas, Hanukkah) gift, tell us all about it: Honestly gifts aren’t a huge deal to me, but something that stands out is a couple years ago my Dad and step-Mom got me a couple more Wii controllers and games for Christmas and I had brought the Wii system with me to Grandma’s, and I played with them and my brother and it was a lot of fun.  It was nice to have the people who gave me the gift be able to enjoy the gift WITH me!

That magical moment? (Your favorite scene from a Holiday movie…it’s okay if you have 2)    When Clay (Randy Travis) and Carolyn (Connie Sellecca) have a snowball fight out in a field and remember why they fell in love with each other in the first place in A Holiday To Remember (1995).

Kissing under the mistletoe?  Who do you hope is standing underneath (We know it’s normally your spouse, if it did not have to be, who would you choose?)  If it did not have to be my spouse, which it doesn’t, cuz I don’t have one…. and the other person did not have a spouse… if spouses were not in the picture… lol this is getting awkward.  Luke Bryan.

Swans a swimming, lords a leaping, golden rings; which gift of the 12 days of Christmas would you like most? I feel like absolutely none of those gifts have any practical application to me.  I guess I could sell the golden rings?

Play Secret Santa, what inappropriate gift would you love to give this year? Coal.

Martha Stewart or the Grinch? What is your decorating style? SNOWMEN!

What is ONE WORD that defines the holiday season for you? (Examples: Believe/Wonder/Bah Humbug?) Christ

If Santa could assure its delivery, what’s the first thing on your holiday wish LIST?  Real love to everyone.  Not preachy hypocrisy in the name of Jesus… REAL LOVE.

Blog Back Sunday and Prompt: Love to Love You


Remember when Facebook put Notes out for the very first time and shortly thereafter came the explosion of quizzes/surveys that were especially useful whenever I was trying to write a paper or do some research or something… you know, the things in my life that were completely unimportant but only led to a degree… or two… or something like that 😉

Before blogging was really cool… or a thing, even… there were surveys that you copied and pasted into a Note, changed the answers to your own, and then tagged all your friends in hopes that they would do the same.

Well, I found one today in a blog post from Olive to Run

Here goes… here are my answers.

Your cell phone? Is never very far away from me.  When I can’t find it, I panic a bit… and I experience separation anxiety when I can’t have it right with me… like… during movies or whatever when I have to put it on silent and it’s not OK to have it constantly on me.  It’s a problem.  Legit.
Your significant other? Doesn’t exist.  Well, he probably exists, but I don’t currently have one.
Your hair? Is amazing.  It’s so long, I’m thinking about renting a tower….
Your mother?  Is my best friend in the entire universe.  Unbelievable woman. 
Your father?
has to be awesome cuz I’m a lot like him.
Your favorite thing? Laughing til it hurts
Your dream last night? One of the teachers at my school died over the weekend and they put me in charge of telling everyone in the entire school all at once.  CRAZY.
Your favorite drink? Cream Soda and Egg Nog… not together.
Your dream/goal? Publish all my ramblings into a collection of famous ramblings.
The room you are in? my rec room
Your fear? #foreveralone
Where do you want to be in six years? Ideally married, maybe a kid or two… but… in the absence of that because I’ve been saying it for years, I’d like to be loving life at whatever I’m doing.  More than likely teaching…
Where were you last night? on the couch watching a movie with a friend.  It was great fun.
What are you not? emotionally open, lol, unless I’m writing.
Muffins? pumpkin spiiiiice with the icing in the middle.  Gosh.
One of your wish list items? a new couch to replace this horrid futon, haha
Where you grew up? A tiny farm town in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada.
The last thing you did?  Tied everything outside that could blow away down (in preparation for the coming storm), and changed a load of laundry.
What are you wearing? sweats.  Ahhhh Sunday afternoon.
Your TV?  When In Rome is now playing on the flat screen.
Your pets? The pooch is curled up upstairs, sleeping on the couch.  Spoiled rotten that dog is.
Your computer?  13″ MacBook Pro.  With Mario stickers on the back.  Almost equal to my phone in importance.  I’m a bit of a technology junkie.
Your life? Is pretty great.
Your mood? Content
Missing someone? A few people.
Your Car? Is dependable and functional and cute and I love it.
Something you are not wearing? anything remotely attractive.  See above where I say I’m wearing sweats.
Favorite store?  I don’t know, really… um…. probably Target or Wal Mart
Your summer? spent all summer blogging for Camp, loved it.  Amazing.
Like someone? yup.
Your favorite color? Lime Green and/or turquoise.
When was the last time you laughed? very recently.  When in Rome is funny.  Also — I laugh A LOT!
Last time you cried? I don’t remember, honestly.
What is one thing on your To-Do list?  Write an article for the camp newsletter — inspiration for which is NOT arriving.Also — now that you’ve learned a little about me, I feel like I should also do WordPress’s Prompt, because it’s somewhat related.

 

WordPress asked us today to talk about one thing we love about ourselves, and what we love most about our favourite person, and how that connects us.
What I love most about myself is my sense of humour and my ability to find enjoyment in simple things that some people may call childish.  I prefer to call it child-like, and there IS a difference.
I love the very same quality in my mother, whom I love dearly.  It usually results in us both giggling/laughing in unison until we can’t breathe, which, as you learned above, is one of my favourite things.
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You Might be Insufferable on Facebook if….


Confession:  I’m a social media junkie.  I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook, on blogs, on Pinterest, and some time on Twitter, though I tend to prefer to hash tag in person lately…. read this post about my Color Me Rad race weekend for the story on that…

I recently read an article on The Huffington Post that someone posted on their Facebook page.  I find that normally, I find The Huffington Post to be rather interesting, and I usually share the opinions of whoever’s writing — at least to the point where I can close whatever I’ve read going “huh, interesting” if not “yeah!  right!?” …. but not this time.  This time, I read right to the bottom… a rarity for me… and grew increasingly annoyed the more I read.  The article is called “7 ways to be Insufferable on Facebook.”

I have never considered myself to be insufferable before.  Sure, I get that sometimes I do things or say things that can be obnoxious, or I post mundane, useless crap on the Internet — but I am not alone there.

Please allow me to rant my way through the 7 ways suggested by the author of this Huffington Post piece, if only to make myself feel better.  I waited almost a week after reading it before I tried to blog this, for fear I’d rant uncontrollably and with no filter.

The article starts off with this supposed Facebook status that a friend sent to the author.  While I agree that this status is definitely an over-share, I think the anger that follows is completely unjustified, and I’ll tell you why.

2012 was a biggg year for me. I left my amazing job at NBC to move back to Chicago. I started dating my angel, Jaime Holland. I started yoga (thanks Jake & Jonah). I wrote an album with Matthew. Wrote another album I’m proud of. I got to hang with Owen Wilson, and worked with Will Ferrell on an amazing project. Had a conversation about Barack Obama with David. Danced. Joined a kickball team. Won a couple awards. Helped my sister plan her summer trip. Swam a lot. Golfed a little. Cried more than you would think. Read The World According to Garp. Saw Apocolypse Now. Went to Miami for the NBA Finals. Drank the best orange juice I’ve ever had with Davey Welch. Tweeted. Went to amazing weddings in Upstate New York. Drank a ridiculous amount of milk. Learned how to make sand art. Saw a great light show. Saw the Angels and Lakers. Fell in love with Jawbone Up. Cooked with Jaime. Gardened with Jaime. Watched Homeland with Jaime. Wrestled with Jaime. Laughed for hours with Jaime. Fell in love with Jaime’s family. Worked on a play. Played World of Warcraft. Did some improv. Played a ton of the guitar. Really just had a wild, amazing year. What a world.

My biggest issue with this entire post is this… and I’ll come back to this over and over…

The point of Social Media is to share.  And it being your account, and your life, you get to be the author and decider of what gets shared, when, and how much of it.  In my opinion (and I realize fully that it probably isn’t shared by everyone), having to filter your own thoughts and posts based on some standard of Facebook (or whatever other site) for fear of being judged by the etiquette police is absurd.

And I quote:  A Facebook status is annoying if it primarily serves the author and does nothing positive for anyone reading it.

I’m sorry… MY updates about MY life need to do something positive for everyone who reads it ever, or it’s annoying?  If I have anyone in my friend lists on any social media platform who feels this way, feel free to delete me and thus end our social media friendship.  I am friends with those I’m friends with on these sites because somewhere along the way, we crossed paths and felt we needed to continue crossing paths in the future.

The author goes on to harp about how all annoying posts consist of one or more of the following five traits:  Image Crafting, Narcissism, Attention Craving, Jealousy Inducing, or Loneliness.

Insufferable Post # 1 — The Brag

Apparently, if something great has happened in your life, and you share it in a Facebook status, you’re bragging, and are therefore Image Crafting and trying to induce jealousy in all of your followers.

I’m not sure about the author’s friend list, but I know mine consists of a few of the following types of people:  friends I don’t see often anymore but still love to keep up with, grandparents, parents, cousins, aunts and uncles, former colleagues I love, and current very close friends, all of whom are usually fairly interested with my posts about achievements.  Likewise, when someone posts something like “Guess who just graduated!!!” I love to celebrate with them, because I care about them.  Many of these people, I would otherwise have fallen completely out of touch with.

Included here was the Undercover Brag

Examples:

Apparently they now give PhDs to frauds and drunks. What a time to be alive!

I’ll be traveling for the summer if anyone knows someone looking to sublease a Soho apartment in July and August.

On my walk home from work, I was whistled at twice, honked at twice, and one car almost caused an accident slowing down to stare at me. Sometimes I really hate men.

The second one got me…. because I understand 1 and 3… though I still think if they want to post those things, they being the authors of their own accounts, they have every right to do so…. The second one makes me angry, because I don’t think asking if anyone knows anyone looking to sublet an apartment is bragging.  If I posted that without the “I’ll be traveling for the summer” part, I’d very quickly amass a pile of comments back on the post going “where are you going?!”  Sometimes these social media sites can be the best networking resources, and then you may be able to say, avoid subletting to a total stranger because you posted on Kijiji or Craig’s List for fear of breaking a Facebook etiquette standard.

Insufferable Post # 2 – The Cryptic Cliffhanger

Description: A post that makes it clear that something good or bad is happening in your life without disclosing any details.

Reason for posting:  Attention Craving.

I have nothing to say here, because, while guilty of this myself, I completely agree.  I know I’ve never written one of those posts without fishing for responses to it.

Insufferable Post # 3 – The Literal Status Update

Description: An actual status update on someone’s mundane day.

GUILTY!!!  And I’ve been called out on it.  But here’s that point that I’m gonna keep going back to — my Facebook, my content.  If I want to tell you that I ate a banana, I’m going to tell you that I ate a banana.  I don’t care if you don’t care, because I’m sure at some point, you’ve posted something that I couldn’t have cared less about, and now we’re even.

Insufferable Post # 4 — Inexplicably Public Private post

I have nothing to say about this that I haven’t already said, though I agree that if it’s an inside joke or something to say to just one person, it can probably be done in a message.

Insufferable Post # 5 — The Out-of-Nowhere Oscar Acceptance Speech

Description: An outpouring of love for no clear reason and aimed at no one in particular

Example: I just want to say how thankful I am for all of you who have touched my life. Your support means everything and I couldn’t have gotten through a lot of things in the last year without you!

Core reasons for posting: Attention Craving

I refuse to believe that everyone who expresses something they’re truly thankful for is craving attention.  REFUSE.

And this made my blood boil.

“And isn’t that a little needy of you? You’re not feeling loving when you write this post — you’re feeling the need to feel loved.”

I started to feel, at this point, like the author either needed a hug and never gets them, or needed to go have some rum, or something… whoever wrote this is seriously cynical and questioning of all motives… and I don’t think that I could function if I always saw these kinds of motives behind the actions of everyone I know.  I think we MIGHT be reading too much into the Facebook statuses of others here… maybe.

Insufferable Post # 6 — The Incredibly Obvious Opinion

Examples of this included when a tragedy strikes, and you send out your thoughts and prayers, your thoughts on a war-like conflict, and feelings about the outcome of an election.

My blood boiled again when I read this author accusing those who post like this of being narcissistic and of crafting their images, mostly I think because his reasoning for this being insufferable is that you’re not saying anything remotely interesting or original on the topic.

…. who cares?

Insufferable Post # 7 — The Step Toward Enlightenment

Description: An unsolicited nugget of wisdom.

Examples:

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~Buddha

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

I don’t see what the big deal is about new years and people claiming how different they are going to be next year. If you want to better yourself it shouldn’t matter what day of the year it is… Me? Im going to be the same person I am today tomorrow.

Core reasons for posting: Image Crafting; Narcissism

Is it not possible that someone read something (a quote, a verse, a section of a book) or had a thought about life, found it interesting, and wanted to share?  Isn’t that what this author was accusing us of NOT doing at the beginning?  If the post isn’t of any value to the reader, we shouldn’t post it… but then if we post something that we truly believe will have value for some readers, we’re clearly crafting our image and being narcissistic.

I think what kills me about this post is the self centeredness of it all.  What the author is saying, or at least, so it sounds to me… in this entire article is “if I can’t be gratified in some way by what you say or post, you shouldn’t say or post it.  Your Facebook account isn’t about you, it’s about me.”

In conclusion:  I simply refuse to filter and censor my Facebook posts because someone else may not find what I said relevant or interesting.  Many of the things listed in here… I’ve done them.  And I don’t care.  Because I’m the one who logs into my Facebook account, and I’m the one who decides what goes on there.  The neat thing about some of Facbeook’s recent changes, is that I can also choose whose posts I get to see.  I mentioned above that I have many close friends and relatives as Facebook contacts, and I enjoy being able to keep up with them and they enjoy reading my stuff as well.  There are also several people in my friend list that I don’t really know that well, and their posts aren’t usually very relevant to me — well you know what?  You can now go into the settings for each individual friend and decide whether you even see their stuff in your newsfeed or not.  There could be a handful of friends on your account that are there only in spirit, essentially — you’re associated on Facebook for whatever reason, but you’ve stopped receiving what they were posting in your news feed because it was annoying.

There are ways to hide and filter out things and people you don’t want to see.  If you’re not doing it, you have no right to complain about things others post, because you could easily hide it if it bugs you.  You also have no right to complain because it isn’t your feed.  If you don’t like it, get rid of it.  Especially if it’s stuff on my feeds.  If you have THIS big of an issue with something I’ve posted, feel free to hide some or all of what I post, or… if you’re this picky, feel free to delete me.  We probably don’t get along that well anyway, because you clearly don’t understand my adoration of all things social media.