Friday, August 9, 2013
My Facebook Breakup
I was starting to feel a little..addicted. My husband says, "but it's not even that compelling!" And often it's not! So then why do I keep checking it? Partly because I work in an office now in front of a computer so I have constant access, not just to Facebook but any number of other media outlets to peruse if I am bored. When the thought came to mind that maybe I should get off the Facebook I felt...resistance. Omg, it must be a sure sign of addiction! So what do we do in Zen? We look at the places we feel resistance. Why wouldn't I want to disengage from this e-world of friends, family and fun? First, I have a mild fear of missing out (F.O.M.O.) I want to see the pictures, hear the gossip, read the shit talking and follow all sorts of threads and links. Second, for a while it seemed cool to get to see what old acquaintances were up to and "reconnect" with old classmates. Third, I wanted to tell people about what I am up to.
But I started asking myself, what am I getting out of this activity I engage in? I am checking in on this site several times a day but what is compelling me to do it? Am I actually missing out on anything? What is the nature of my sharing personal details with my facebook friends? Am I getting some sort of validation every time someone "likes" something of mine or comments or posts on my wall? This TIME magazine article called "The Happiness of Pursuit" has some interesting things to say about what social networking has done to our ability to be happy with what we have. The author argues that not only do we often try to present our best self to everyone who sees it but that we compare ourselves to everything everyone else posts. Without even trying to we are subconsciously comparing ourselves to people we may barely know or to people who lead very different lives and all of a sudden our job promotion or new bike doesn't look as great as your friend from the 5th grade's new Porsche. The article was talking about how happiness can be significantly affected by how/who we compare ourselves to and that in this day in age it is much easier to compare ourselves with people who live very differently lives like celebrities, the top .5% etc, when back in the day we compared ourselves with people who were in our daily world. It also gives this great suggestion of asking yourself "Would you still engage in this experience if you could tell no one about it?"
So it's been almost a week since leaving the Facebook. I'm not sure if I'm happier but it's nice to have one less distraction. And I do think it gives me space to be more involved with my local life and the people that are in it. It is also encouraging me to cultivate my important relationships more deeply. We'll see if I go the distance and delete the account. It does seem to be a nice way to see pictures. Hmph.