How many times have you decided to quit Facebook? How often have you found yourself caught up in drama on Facebook? It has nearly become synonymous, Facebook and drama. We’ve all been there—either you’re watching it unfold as a bystander or worse, you’re actively participating. I found myself in one of those situations recently. Up until then, I’d restrained myself and never got involved in those conversations because let’s face it… it’s truly fruitless.
How often do you tell yourself you want to quit Facebook?
In this case, I couldn’t sit idly by as someone was sharing an inaccurate, inappropriate and uneducated mommy shaming meme. (A photo of a mother taken out of context with an unrelated quote about technology ruining humanity). My activist instinct took over and I let loose (respectfully). I shared facts, my educated opinion, supporting information and of course a link. I went about my day and soon forgot about that interaction until I logged back onto Facebook. Lo and behold, I had a very nasty response waiting in the reply. To paraphrase, “I don’t give a sh*t about your fact checking, technology is ruining humanity and our children.”
I’m sure you see the irony in this statement too. Is technology ruining humanity? What about the lack of compassion, respect, and empathy? What about the fact that you blatantly judged a woman based on a photo taken entirely out of context. Not to mention, the quote on the meme was completely made up and misquoted as Albert Einstein. Facebook seems to give us this sense of entitlement to judge others, make assumptions and sit on our pedestal while we bitch and moan. I think ignorance, entitlement, bigotry and your blatant disregard for human decency are far more compelling reasons why humanity is at risk.
I could feel the anger rising out of my stomach and into my throat.
As I started banging away at the keyboard to post my response, I could feel the anger rising out of my stomach and into my throat. At that moment, I stopped… I took a moment to be still and silent. I sat there and started to think about a video I had watched a few months ago called, Why Facts Can’t Convince People (and what you can do about it), and my anger changed to sadness and pity. “Fighting ignorance with facts is like fighting a grease fire with water, it seems like it should work but it actually makes the whole thing worse.” Nothing I could write would ever change this person’s mind. But worse than that, the time I was spending writing a response and researching facts was essentially going to be for nothing. How much of my time have I been wasting on such meaningless interaction?
I had a moment of clarity and awareness because I was paying attention to the emotions stirring in my body.
In the whole scheme of life, a few minutes wasted on Facebook may not seem like a very big deal. Unfortunately, for modern Americans, it’s not just a few minutes here and there. Nearly 75% of users (68% of U.S. adults are now Facebook users) log onto Facebook daily and considering most Americans spend almost an hour a day on Facebook, it’s kind of scary. Time is our most precious commodity and we are throwing it away on things that drain us emotionally and bring no value to society.
Facebook dehumanizes us and makes it easier to lash out emotionally.
Pew Research shows that we even agree that political discussions on Facebook are less respectful, less informative and angrier (than compared to other places a political discussion might be had). Yet, we continue to do it. Why? Because Facebook is an addiction. We are caught in a game of cat and mouse willingly. Facebook made over $40 BILLION in 2017, that doesn’t happen without a considerable psychological initiative. Let that sink in…. seriously. We should all be questing the effect Facebook is having on our lives.
When I decided at the moment to deactivate my account, I quickly wanted to pull the trigger before I could change my mind. Do you really think it would be that easy? Ignorantly, I did. So many things are tied* into my Facebook page that it took me a couple days to deactivate. My life has become so entwined with Facebook that until I took a step back, I didn’t even fully understand it.
This moment of awareness brought a lot of clarity to my use of Facebook.
I was able to step back out of my addiction (keep in mind I only logged on for about 15 minutes a day, I’m far below the average). I realized that I have to break the habit. I’m making a conscious choice to do something productive and valuable with my time; Instead of continuing to participate in meaningless and frustrating banter. This brought me to another idea… what if I began using the time I used to spend on Facebook doing some good in the world? I will tell you one thing, I sure do feel better about myself. I don’t miss the negativity, the drama or the political debates.
I encourage you to take a deep, thoughtful look at how Facebook and social media shows up in your life.
If you are reading this blog, it’s because you’ve experienced some of these things yourself. Are you neglecting important parts of your life (on auto-pilot) because you’re too caught up in the world of Facebook drama? I’d encourage you to consider quitting Facebook too. Put the phone down, step away from the computer and start a new habit. Just like any addiction, it’ll be difficult but you’ll be much better off.
*My career has been in social media marketing for almost 10 years; I have several Business Pages, Ad Accounts and a Developer Account attached to my personal page.