I broke up with Facebook (FB). The relationship had become unhealthy.
These simple two sentences hold big truth. My guess is as readers for some: it may seem puzzling, troubling, silly, indifferent or hit a nerve.
I’ve shared in this space (multiple times) I am a true believer in the positive effects of social media. I recognize the harm in it as well and that’s not restricted to the ‘younger’ use. Truthfully there are just as many ‘adults’ who use it in a passive, aggressive manner bringing harm to others or certain groups.
It is very honestly an interesting forum for study on human behavior. Individuals sharing their distaste/disdain for the practice of verbal bullying or cliquish behavior among young people, only to then offer a passive-aggressive thought on another.
It’s disturbing and such a trend that more and more people seem to struggle with taking words at face value.
As a society, we spend a lot of time looking down. We monitor these hand held devices on a moment by moment basis. Now don’t misunderstand, they are indeed ‘Smartphones’ and mine offers me a freedom which I am grateful for.
‘Freedom’ in the sense of being able to work, while not physically sitting behind a desk. Ability to network and schedule life and all that requires to keep the wheel moving.
This however is about my Facebook break up; my ‘Smartphone’ and I are still in a very healthy relationship.
Early this month I lived an act I had shared on my FB page multiple times, I looked up. Yes, that simple … I took a day and stopped looking at my phone, most specifically FB.
I recognized it had become an addiction. I’m still shaking my head at this acknowledgement, but it had.
I’m a social person by nature. I love keeping up with friends via this medium, seeing family photos, travels to fun places and the like. It’s really a harmless forum, until it becomes addiction.
How do I know this was the case? Simple. Earlier in the year, I tried to avoid FB for a few days. I took a friend on as a buddy and told her of my goal, to focus on other things, ‘real’ life as it was happening, and not making it the world’s business. Needless to say I failed. I just wanted to ‘see’ … how so and so was doing with (insert random act here) or check a group page or two. Everything is fine and healthy in moderation; the key word here is moderation.
Just like the unhealthy relationship I once had with food, I recognized with the social media source. It gave me license and freedom to just ‘check-out’ too often I’m afraid.
So when a friend shared she had deactivated her account to take a break, I thought brilliant. I will try this too. Then I made myself accountable and told a few close friends.
Confession: It was hard and still is a bit. Hence the addiction realization or some might say habit. Either way it was a habit which needed to be broken. It was time to remember what it felt like to live life and connect in the more traditional way.
Granted there is a lot of life happening currently that I am totally unaware of and that’s okay. Oddly in the past two weeks I have found myself engrossed in some great conversations with my kids and a few great phone calls (yes, I talk into my Smartphone).
As days pass it gets easier. A few friends have reached out or decided to check in and make sure all is well. It’s both a sweet and an eye-opening gesture. Living life does not always have to be a public social media affair. I’ve always held some things private in the way of Social Media, but do I need to see or read about everyone’s cough, parking ticket or what they ate for dinner? No.
Ultimately it comes down to the challenge it has offered me and clearing the hurdle. Habits are hard to break, be it smoking, eating, coffee or a bad relationship. Sticking it out is often the easier road traveled with long term consequence.
And yes, I do plan to return to my deserted FB page at some point, but until then I’m simply enjoying life’s views.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.