Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How do you solve a problem like Facebook?

If I haven't complained enough about it yet: I gave up Facebook for Lent. The first week was no big deal. The last couple of weeks have been a painful separation. If Facebook was heroin I would have fallen into a corner drooling and shaking and seeing a baby crawl across a ceiling. But this week the shakes have passed and now I have a bit of perspective on my use/need/desire for Facebook. Some things about FB I love! Some absolutely bring me down. Some are self-inflicted. Come Easter morn, when The Easter bunny fills my basket with Facebook and Cadbury cream eggs, I've decided to follow up on my likes, dislikes, and personal problems and radically change the way I interact with Facebook.

Here is how I've taken stock:

What I don't miss:
The overload of inspirational quotations my feed had turned into. 1 person posting them o.k but 10 gets too much.
Dubious historical quotations to support a political viewpoint
Political posts (guilty)
Anyone who quotes Michelle Bachmann, et al.
Anyone who says a knife can do just as much damage as an assault weapon
Open ended self-pity posts that make others respond, "Are you o.k.?" (possibly guilty?)
Zynga invites -
Quiz invites
Sign my petition invites (guilty)
The constant notifications of what companies my friends like. I got it Facebook everyone but me likes Wal-Mart!!

What I do miss:
Seeing what my actual friends are doing (especially since I live so far away)
Finding interesting news articles

I've really enjoyed not getting angry all the time over politics or checking on loose acquaintances or frenemies and having that horrible feeling rise up - you know the one - the painful tooth you can't stop wiggling - what is that feeling? jealousy? resentment? anger? frenemy hate? Whatever it is it makes me feel like an awful person.

The obvious solution is to just quit Facebook full stop. But I don't want to do that. I have my (long neglected) business page and there are those 3 things I like. So what to do?

I think I might just have to get brutal:

1) Delete people I don't really know or like. What a relief it must have been 30 years ago when you left high school and actually left it! Same goes for old jobs, elementary school, junior high, and those two weeks at summer camp. Facebook has become a bunch of people cans tied around my neck that clatter with me wherever I go. I honestly now worry about people who are having tough times that I haven't seen since I was 12! Empathy is wonderful but when your social circle opens up to 700+ people its gets stressful. It also gets stressful trying not to offend everyone when you started your life off in red red Alabama and are currently hanging out in a deep blue sea.

2) I plan to use the blocking function so that I can't see posts I don't want to see and people can't see my posts either. Head in the sand? You betcha! But it's my life, by golly, and I have a right to filter the information for my own happiness.

3) Finally, the toughest one, controlling myself. Not checking in all day every day, mostly cause I'm bored. I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to wiggling the tooth. Why do we like making ourselves anxious over what anyone else is doing? On purpose! For me It used to be marriage and baby. Now, of course, its career. O! fickle Daisy. So I will not check on people who I know make my blood boil or make the anxious pain worse. I will stop wiggling the tooth and imagine the best life for everyone and move on.

I think this all boils down to a new and tough 2013 resolution: Getting over my incessant desire to please everyone and make everyone like me. Because obviously that's not going to happen even if I was Reese Witherspoon and Hugh Jackman rolled into one (see? Two very lovely people that some of you probably harbor unfounded animosity for) This need gets even sillier when you consider the virtual aspect of Facebook. Some of these people I so desperately need to like me I haven't actually seen in years (in some instances decades).

So there. That's how I'm going to catch a cloud and pin it down. How I'm going to hold a moonbeam in my hand. Hopefully this will be the first step toward my new resolution goal.

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