Pondering, Photographing, and Writing about Wild Places

Why I Did Not Miss Facebook One Bit, and Why I Went Back in Just a Few Hours Anyway

It took one day. That is all it took. In fact it was really just a few hours before I realized that I do not miss it one stinking little bit. I awoke this morning, started my grits, poured a glass of milk, checked my email, took a shower, and never even thought about it.
During my breakfast, I did not miss the How Well Do You Know Beatles Lyrics? and Which Christian Denomination Should You join? quizzes.
As I loaded my recycling in the back of the truck for a trip to town, I did not miss 4,584 videos of people dumping buckets of ice water on their heads.
At Crabtree Farms while teaching 6th grade girls about honey bees, I did not miss all the irrefutable proof positive that Barack Obama is still an anti-American, Kenyan, Muslim, fascist, nazi, socialist commy, bent on bringing down the greatest country in the world.
While hosing down my left foot after stepping in a fire ant nest in my Chacos, I did not miss seventeen daily posts about how Scott Walker is destroying Wisconsin. (Sorry, Tom.)
As I wrestled two goats released by aforementioned 6th graders back into their pen, I did not miss a single cat video, or Rick Perry’s mug shot.
Bottom line: I did not, I do not miss Facebook!

I made the decision a week ago, and to make sure I stuck to my guns, I immediately announced on my Facebook wall that in a week, I would be ending it. Enough! I shouted. I do not need this!
Believe me, I put a lot of thought into this before making the decision. I weighed the cons of leaving: There are some friends I only hear from via FB… but I have their phone numbers, their email addresses, and for some of them even their mailing addresses. I can still be in touch. I will miss out on so many invitations to concerts, events, parties… But I don’t go out that much anyway. No big deal. I will miss out on the opportunity to market my storytelling events and plays… This one hit a little closer to home. After all, this is my livelihood… But, hey, the vast majority of my gigs are out of town these days, while the majority of my FB friends are in or around Chattanooga. Plus, the job of marketing should fall on the folks who hire me, right?
And I weighed the pros: Facebook is a time- and attention-sucking vampire. I say I am just checking in, and next thing you know… remember the 4,584 ice bucket videos? Yeah, that’s what happens. From my list of pros and cons, it certainly appears as though the cons of leaving FB far outweigh the pros, and certainly in quantity they do, but in quality? The time wasted simply cannot be outweighed, I thought.
The vortex that is the Facebook rabbit hole can be a tough one to escape. I can drink a beer, and not need another one, but my history suggests that perhaps I cannot watch just one pointless, mindless, trivial video on Facebook.

So, last night, before going to bed I clicked: deactivate. You know the story from there…until lunch time.
I had lunch today with my friend, and play director Trish who asked how the Kickstarter campaign was going.
“Well,” I said, “I started off okay last night. By morning, I had almost $300, but in the several hours since then, there has been no increase.”
“That’s okay, she said, you just need to hit it hard now. You have two weeks to make it work.”
I stared at her blankly, both of us knowing exactly what I was thinking.
Every Kickstarter campaign I have ever supported, I discovered on Facebook. Yes, last night I sent out an email to my list, and in a few days I plan on sending another one, but that will go to the same list as the first one. Even if as many more contribute as already have, that still only doubles my total, and gets me just a little more than a quarter of the way to my goal.
If I want to make this campaign go… I need Facebook. And… if I want to be productive during the day, I need to stay off Facebook.
On its surface, that sounds like a bit of a dilemma. I need exactly that which I need to avoid… or do I?

As I pondered this, I quickly realized the same thing you realized in the first six paragraphs of this essay: the problem is not Facebook. The problem is me.
I have a friend who is an alcoholic. He still comes to my house where he knows there will be liquor in the cabinet and beer in the fridge. He does not drink it, because he knows he has a problem and is committed to not going there. Yet, he still comes to the house.
Of course, there is a big difference. For the alcoholic (arguably, for all of us) there is no redeeming quality in alcohol, but there are redeeming qualities in Facebook. The question is: Can I resist the rabbit hole?
The answer is: If am to successfully promote my campaign, I have to. I don’t know another way, but I do not want to go back to the mindless distractions that Facebook delivers.
I thought about what sucks me in when I visit Facebook. It isn’t checking my messages. It isn’t accepting friend requests. It isn’t following up on comments to my posts or responding to invitations. What sucks me in… is scrolling.
It is when I scroll down the page to see what others are posting that the vortex spins, the rabbit hole opens, ice buckets fall, cats leap, and I join Alice in the rabbit hole.
So, I have made a decision. I will face the ridicule of those who shout, “I told you so!” I will admit my error to those who warned, and I will return. But, in returning, I will change my behavior.
If others can give up cigarettes, stop drinking, quit watching porn (okay, I don’t know if they really give that up, or not, but for the sake of my argument I need to assume they do) then I can stop scrolling. Let the I-told-you-sos begin, and with any luck, some of those same folks who told me so, will consider making a small contribution to my campaign in honor of just how right they were!


Add Yours →

What do you think?