Recently, my church put out a statement that has created some uproar. When I heard about it, my first thought was, I'm so glad I don't look at Facebook any more so I don't have to see everyone's opinions about this.
I joined Facebook to reconnect with a college roommate I hadn't seen in years. I had no other way to get a hold of her. A friend suggested Facebook, so I finally caved and joined. At first, I enjoyed it. I read about the lives of people I rarely or never get to see. I was able to share events in my life easily (too easily??) to lots of people.
Slowly, my news feed contained less pictures, stories, and life events and more articles that "perfectly expressed" the opinion of the person who shared it. Articles about politics, religion, parenting, lifestyle choices; not all negative but certainly not all positive either. The negative ones always left a black hole in my gut, especially when shared by someone I really care about. And almost every article had its share of negative comments that disagreed with the contents, and sometimes, the commenters became quite nasty and mean.
I unfollowed people. I thought about unfollowing more...like almost everyone but really close friends and family. Turns out, that may not have been an option. My friend started unfollowing a huge amount of her friends. FB issued her several warnings that she was abusing the "unfollow privilege". She ignored them and was eventually blocked from unfollowing anyone!!
I chose to quit FB.
There is a sense of peace that comes to me from not having other people's opinions bombarding me on a "news feed" continually. I get my news from fairly credible news sources (I say "fairly" because I'm not 100% convinced of the media's ability to be impartial or unbiased) so it's not like I'm an ostrich with its head in the sand and having no clue what's happening around it. The difference is that I get the news without all the commentary and opinions and arguments from every Tom, Dick, and Jane. There is so much negativity in the world without me welcoming it into my life by the negative views that routinely showed up on my FB.
Now, I have to reach out to people to find out what's happening in their worlds, to make a little effort instead of just pushing the FB app button on my phone. I email, text, call, and even write the occasional letter to connect with my loved ones. When was the last time you received an email from someone?? An email that was just them telling you about their lives and asking about yours? I bet you can't even remember when someone sent you a letter. I can because I have a wonderful mother-in-law that sends us handmade, hand-written cards once a month. They are lovely to receive. I can't remember the last email I received that wasn't from a business, school, city, or a comment on my blog.
It is sometimes said about science, "just because they can, doesn't mean they should".
Nowadays, everyone has a voice, an outlet to express their opinions about every little thing in this world. It's not a bad thing. Heck, I have a blog partly to express my opinions, to have a voice. It's empowering and special. The problem is that people haven't learned to shut up. There are some things that don't need to be said, especially to everyone on FB. Just because you can, doesn't mean you always should. And so, since there is too much chatter and too little restraint, I choose to be a lot more selective.
I don't foresee going back to FB any time soon, but if I do it will be with a very short friends list.
Thank you for putting up with my FB rant. I promise to be more carefree and happy in my next post.