Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

Facebook/Off

on September 6, 2012

I recently stepped away from Facebook.  Why the hiatus?

Two Mondays ago, I was flipping through my news feed.  The local paper posted a picture of my town’s Latinos for Obama rally.  I clicked on the picture to read the caption.  Unfortunately, that meant I also read the comments that were slowly, but steadily, accumulating.  I was appalled and horrified at the comments plastered there.  It’s one thing to BE a racist, but to post racist comments for all to see?  It disgusted me.  More than that, it embarrassed me.  I was ashamed that my hometown included people who would deride and insult the Latino population based on preconceived (and inaccurate) stereotypical notions.

For hours, the racist comments on the picture bothered me.  Moral outrage coursed through my body.  How could people say things like that?  Heck, how could people THINK things like that?  As anger continued to boil up inside me, I clung to one hope – maybe there were good, non-racist people out there.  Maybe those people just weren’t commenting on the picture.  Maybe the only people commenting were the jackasses.

So, I took to Facebook and wrote a post.  I asked my friends to look at the picture and comment about how racism would not be tolerated.

I have over 700 Facebook friends.  I imagined scores of comments calling out the racists and putting them in their places, all while showing the Latino community in my county that their neighbors weren’t all jerkwads.

Only a handful of my friends posted.

A little while later, I posted another status.  This one asked whether people gave their first or last names to the host at a restaurant.  That post got over two dozen responses.

The Facebook I suddenly saw sitting before me sickened me.   I no longer saw friends loving on each other and on the world.  Instead I saw people posting inflammatory memes, arguing with each other, mocking people who looked like thumbs.  How do we have time for all that hate but not time to stand up for what is right and good and sound?

So I decided I was done with Facebook for a little.  And I signed off.  My plan was to do it for the workweek.  Then the weekend crept up, and I decided to stay off for the weekend, too.  Then the next week arrived, and I still didn’t return.  Something in me had shifted.  Being away from Facehate felt good.

I’m no stranger to giving up Facebook.  I’ve done it twice for Lent.  But those times weren’t like now.  Maybe election season is bringing out the worst in us.  Perhaps the blue moon made us all crazy.  Whatever the reason, I needed the break to rejuvenate.  I feel better.

My hiatus won’t last forever.  In fact, I plan to post a link to this blog.  Really, though, I’ll go back because I have too many friends who live in far-flung places like Minnesota  (I’m looking at you, Lepsch).

—–

I learned a few things when I gave up Facebeast, and I’d like to share those with you, my faithful reader.

  1. The longer you’re out of people’s news feeds, the less they care about you.  I allowed one Facebook exception – birthdays.  Every morning I’d log on and wish people “Happy Birthday.”  This allowed me to see how many notifications I had.  The first day I received 25.  By the second day it had almost doubled to 48.  The third day saw things drop off, with only 17 more added.  Then I hit 11 new notices.  And then one.  And then one. And then none.  People stopped giving me Facebook love.  Apparently, absence does not make the heart grow fonder.
  2. People are Facebook-self-absorbed.  Two people noticed that I was not on Facebook.  My demented friend Nikki (I say demented because I know she’ll see it as a compliment), and my kind friend, Christina.  That’s it.  Or at least those are the only people who asked me where I’d been.  I can’t be upset about this, because when I use Facebook, I mainly read what’s in my newsfeed and what people say about my statuses.  Is Facebook our current form of narcissism?
  3. Facebook is good for something.  Birthdays are important.  Before I had Facebook, I only wished a few close friends well on their b-days.  This wasn’t because I didn’t care about other people’s birthdays, but instead because I didn’t have a good way to find out those days and keep them.  I’m glad Facebook does this for me.
  4. Even though Facebook is by far the biggest time waster ever, there are other smaller ones that will sap your productivity, too.  Namely the new Simpsons game called Tapped Out.  It’s free from the Apple store.  Get it.  Hey, don’t knock it – I need something to do during 3 AM feeding sessions!
  5. You can learn the really important things in life by noticing what things you wish you could post on Facebook.  What did I miss posting?  Not my political memes (though I would have enjoyed chiming in on “Eastwooding” – especially since Hubby mistakenly looked up “Chairing” on Urban Dictionary.  Word to the wise – don’t do that).  What did I miss posting?  Stuff about Bud.  I kept wanting to post pictures of him.  I wanted everyone to see what a great little baby I have.  See point #2.
  6. Even though you’re not logging on to Facebook, your spouse will still tell you the important – make that ridiculous – status updates people post.  Apparently a lot of people are falling for satiric articles these days.  Like this faux article about breastmilk curing homosexuality.
  7. Everyone should use Facebook Messenger.  I did not give up using this iPhone app because it’s replaced text messaging for me.  You can set up Messenger so that it pops up on your phone just like a text message, and it’s free.  I love texting with my CCC peeps.  If I used real text messaging, I’d have to up my 200 text plan to an unlimited one.  Messenger saves me roughly 200 bucks a year.
  8. Life’s a lot less aggravating when you’re away from politically biased hate-talk.  Would my life have been better if I hadn’t ever seen the comments on the Latinos for Obama post?  Yes.  Ignorance really is bliss.

One last thing.  Since I couldn’t post the 100 cute photos I snapped while on hiatus, here’s one —

Bud’s Four-Month-Old Hands

***Update — within minutes of posting this blog on Facebook, several friends commented that they noticed my absence and either thought I was busy with mommy stuff or worried that something personal happened and was keeping me away.  So, I learned one more thing —

  1. There are people out there who care but know how to be sensitive and thoughtful of their friends’ lives.  XO
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8 responses to “Facebook/Off

  1. Tania says:

    This is probably one of the best blog entries I have ever read. Truth coming down on us. Love it!

    Truth be told, most long posts are totally tl;dr these days. Articles posted by others? Forget it. I have no time. I’d rather escape life by playing song pop or tapped out. It’s sad but that’s where I am. I make no excuses for anyone else though.

  2. Matt says:

    Your problem is that you think the Internet can make people better. You’re wrong. It only makes people worse. Or maybe it’s just Facebook, post-Timeline. What reason do people have to even try to be civilized on there anymore?

  3. fourtuitous says:

    Election time is making me very nervous about Facebook. Already the hateful sentiments are bubbling to the surface, and it makes me sad and scared and unsettled. But then I see the lovely things those same people (who just posted something vile) say to others. Then I see a picture of a flower they took on an early-morning walk or a birthday wish to a “friend”. And I remember, people are people–all of us wrapped in imperfection. I’m sad you left FB for a little while. I noticed, and I thought motherhood and work and being a student again had left you no time–and that would make perfect sense. But please don’t leave because you have lost hope in people. I don’t think the selfishness is new. The hate certainly isn’t. But FB is today’s locker collage. More people get to see it, but that makes even more room for people to make an impression to the contrary…people like you.

  4. Jennifer DZ says:

    How glad am I that I posted about the Latino rally? 🙂 I didn’t notice you were gone, but that’s because I’ve been sporadic as well because my thesis is burying me alive. But I thought I did see you a couple times on there recently. Maybe not,though. I LOVE the pictures of Bud’s hands. I absolutely adore baby’s hands! I have a picture of Brooke’s hand, and her handprint from about that age in a frame in my dining room. I really wish this election were over. Then we could get back to pics of babies and vacations. I posted one of my daughter today. You’re right…it was much more satisfying than any political meme. Except maybe the one that said both candidates resembled Jar Jar Binks. That one was funny to both sides. I hope.

  5. Ms M says:

    I saw the posts to which you refer. I had no idea what to say about the photo of the Latino rally. I was not happy, t be sure. I talked to several people including a County Commissioner and the newspaper editor. Did I experience the same emotions as you? Definitely yes. So I signed up two more people to work with me on the Obama campaign to help empower voters.
    Over the past few months, I have seen a great deal of vehemence from people opposed to our President and in favor of the Republican candidate. I don’t personally agree with them and I told them, but I believe it is their right to speak. I never challenged them using disparaging monikers or harsh words as respect for our friendships and rights. I quickly learned that they did not share the same respect. Since then, my posts have taken a decided shift (more light) while I deliberate my plan as the election approaches. In fact, I have to re-evaluate our ‘friendships’.
    I am reminded of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Jem cried when he heard the pronouncement of guilty for Tom Robinson. Why? Because he thought he knew the people in his town and county. He thought they shared the same moral attitudes. He was stunned and disappointed to learn they did not. It was an epiphany for Jem. A difficult, painful lesson.
    Matt makes a valid point. While I don’t like it, I think there is validity. I have always felt I was different from many around me. There are times I am dramatically reminded. That Saturday was one of them.
    I appreciate your candor and your tolerance. Good for you. M.

  6. LEPSCH says:

    I have gone weeks myself without posting because it feels like such a waste of energy. Then I realize I DO have good friends on there (they all live in PA for the most part. Jerks) and I also realize I can’t get rid of Facebook because of them. I don’t post anything inflammatory nor do I comment on other people’s inflammatory or thought poking (read yours) comments often. I don’t want the baggage that goes with it.

    Anyway, I agree with everything you said. It’s why you keep me around. Message me later, k? ❤

  7. Mea says:

    Good thing you posted the update, because I noticed right away as well!

    As far as the picture – why would I respond to such comments? People who write horrible things are just looking for a reaction. I refuse to fuel their fire!

  8. One thing I learned from FB is that people would rather read happy things. It sounds obvious but it took me about a year for it to click that when I post about traffic jams, people scroll. When I post about rainbows and unicorns, people like. I am trying to apply that lesson to my verbal conversations as well!

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