About Face… Book

Not real in the real world…

Several years ago, during a dinner discussion that involved the topic of social media, a friend suggested to me that,

“Facebook isn’t the real world”.

Ironically, it was Facebook that had reconnected she and I, and placed us at dinner that evening – after a decade of not seeing one another.   She’s no longer living, though her Facebook page is still quite active.  People post to her memory regularly as though she is actually seeing those posts.  Perhaps she is.  Even if not, maybe this is a modern, more interactive twist on laying flowers at the graveside.

 Changes within…

Several years ago when I realized Facebook had become too large a distraction for my level of discipline, I told another friend I was going to delete my Facebook account.  I had every intention of doing it that night.  When I explained this to her, she responded with,

“Please don’t!  You spice up my feed”.

My ego got the better of me, and that lone comment kept me from deleting my account.  I look back at that decision with regret, and as a pivotal point in my recent life.

That friend and I bantered quite a bit on Facebook early on, but we eventually went our separate ways, and are no longer in communication with one another.  And here I am three years later having invested far too much time into something with far too little return.

It’s all about Roy…

Rather than focus on editing my book, walking my dog, reading, or asking my elderly neighbor to sit by my fire pit and chat, I spend countless hours with my eyes fixed to a 17” window to the world, all for the instant gratification of a like, a comment, or the mindless amusement of a cat playing a xylophone.

When I ask myself why I post things on Facebook, why I comment, or which friend’s posts I choose to comment on, the only honest answer I can give must be reduced to some combination of the following:

–          To impress others

–          To seek the respect of others

–          To be perceived as knowledgeable or intelligent relative to a subject

–          To please others

–          To experience instant gratification during an otherwise tedious moment in my life

–          To demonstrate my senses of humor

–          To share something I feel others might enjoy, or benefit from

There are probably a few more reasons which branch off of these, but I believe these to be primary.  That last one though, to share something I feel others might enjoy, or benefit from, is the only reason that has legitimized Facebook for me.

Friends with benefits…

There are positive reasons to use Facebook.  Among them are connecting with likeminded people I would not otherwise have access to at a given moment.  I love that I can have a conversation with friends around the world about music, philosophy, or whether or not there is such a thing as clutch hitting in professional baseball.  Facebook, in a sense, is a global campfire.

Facebook; like a global campfire..

Facebook; like a global campfire…

It’s hard though, to distill the good conversations, from the bad.  That is where I struggle the most – in facing the relentless political and religious thrusting of opinions and positions at my psyche which is not looking for such information.  I have come to despise those moments for their ability to ruin other moments.  I tend to increasingly begrudge those who force that negativity upon me.  Even the topic of fitness, which is both my passion, and my livelihood, has been bastardized and abused by social media to the point where I have come to hate the ideal of fitness.

Because of this I recently deactivated my Facebook page, with one possible outcome being that I would never return to it.

Where’s Jhciacb…?

When I deactivate my account, roughly 20 people out of the 300 or so friends I have reached out to me by email or by text to find out if I had unfriended them.  It had not occurred to them that maybe I was taking a break, or perhaps unfriending myself from a time bandit with a greater downside than upside.  One at a time, I assured those who were truly concerned that no unfriending was done in the course of my absence.  I simply needed a break.

I’m single, I live alone, and I don’t own a television.  Facebook had become a large part of my social and entertainment life.  Feeling like I was missing something, I thought about bringing Facebook back, but I vowed to disconnect for at least one month.  If you are reading this by way of Facebook, then you know I lasted exactly 3 weeks.  I’m good with that.

What I missed most…

Like any form of entertainment or any tool, what one gets out of something is relative to what one puts into it.  I have always struggled with the blurry lines in life.  I believe the medical term for that is, being Jewish.

Sunday mornings.  Waking up with hot coffee under the cool pacific marine layer.  Sitting on my back porch with my laptop on my lap top, and my dog at my feet.  With the slight electric sound of Cowboy Junkies framing the mood, and with my view to the creek and the egrets in the immediate foreground, I get to share that very scene, some level of fun, and some amusement with 300 or people, many whom I have come to truly appreciate.

Sunday morning on the porch the best part of my week...

Sunday morning on the porch; the best part of my week…

Those Sunday mornings are among the best, most calm moments of my week.  I look forward to them.  I enjoy trading jokes with my brother, and our friends in the Midwest.  I may get to discover some new music.  I see some interesting photographs which might make me smile, or fill me with awe.  For those reasons, and a few others, I won’t turn my back on Facebook – yet.  I will though, use it less, and manipulate out of the picture, anyone willing to spew hatred as a means of pleasuring their own narrow mind.  Be well…  rc

Canyon Lands, Utah.  Photo credit: Lance Jones

Canyon Lands, Utah. Photo credit: Lance Jones


Macadamias, and citrus. Photo credit, DL Heaton

Please check back in 2 weeks to see what happens when I push the “stop” button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from David Lindley, and GE Smith.  Enjoy…

30 responses

  1. Wow Roy. A wonderful Piece. I admit, I miss your touch in the morning routine of writing. I too know that moment of ‘description’ of the behavior of…

    I also enjoy your musings, shadings, and the delight of this journey. Scrambled as it is in each day.

  2. Roy, you’re living in my head. I’ve been struggling with this, as well, as of late. Like you, Facebook has been a wonderful platform for meeting new friends, connecting with old friends and finding others of like mind. It entertains me and educates me. It also pisses me off and sucks far too much of my valuable time. I’m working on a strategy to use it to my benefit, and most certainly, part of that strategy will be spending less time there.
    I AM glad to see you back, though, even if just occasionally to make me think and brighten my day!

    • Thank you Tamara. For the most part, I’m going to stay off of it on the weekdays. Maybe just to check messages once per day, and use it a little more on the weekends when I have more breathing room. Going to have to cut off a lot of people though to nuke that negative energy. BTW: Never cone to San Diego again without finding me 😉

  3. When I first got a profile on Facebook, a friend warned me that people become addicted to it. I was very skeptical. Yet I did eventually become addicted to Facebook. I think I had to go all the way to an addiction to finally come back to center and find balance.

    I like Facebook for an easy way to communicate with friends, to share articles/videos that I think will interest them, to share family pictures with our extended family who lives far away. Lately I’ve been adding links to my favorite newspapers and magazines so that I see new articles on my page right away. I am also member of groups, some about fitness (we motivate each other) and some about translation (great for professional networking). On the other hand, I have been posting less photos and statuses.

    I won’t be leaving Facebook anytime soon, but I will monitor my use of it!

  4. Nice Roy! I so get it. I spend way too many hours on FB, but not to play games on it, mainly to connect as you do, as well as for my business. I think that it’s amazing that you lasted 3 weeks! I think that I would have serious withdrawals way before then! LOL Glad that you’re back on though. I like at least being able to see what’s up with you since I rarely get to see you these days. You are missed! Good thing that your regularly blog. 😉

    • Insert Kelby joke here 🙂 Its definitely a love/hate thing, Shelly, but I’m trying to sift through the hate to get to the love. Work in progress. Would love to see you again. We’re both so darned busy, but maybe we can each make an effort…

  5. Ewa said you would be back! 😉 Hey, you know how little I get to FB. I love my friends that I have met there & some really great & interesting posts & so many of my close virtual friends use it A LOT BUT it really is a time suck. Once I get started, it is an hour later & nothing done for my own goals, my own life – I just had to take a stand for myself & I just get to it when I can & I realize I miss a lot of great stuff but so be it… I am glad you are finding a way to make it work for you!

  6. You have been one of the best things that Facebook has brought to my life, Roy. I met you through…um…I’m not sure I remember, but I think it was some blogging thing we had in common. Then we friended on FB…what, about 4 years ago?

    Anyway, I have completely revamped my FB usage and cut out all family and friends of family. I came to understand that it’s a serious relational platform for these people.

    Funny, I unfriended a friend of my nephew that I had met briefly once and she took serious offense at my cutting her out of my circle. It’s not real, people!

    Though I am glad to have met you and many people through Facebook and other online venues (I met my husband online ;)), I will not continue my familial relations in this way.

    Interestingly enough, I have had 2 phone calls from aunts that I have not heard from in quite some time. Why? Because they didn’t have little birdies telling them my daily happenings from FB. My lifetime friend keeps in touch with phone and text now instead of relying on the aforementioned mode. Let’s get more personal, I say…let’s stop relying on the stupid cat photos and my happy dog-day-pics to connect! Just sayin’!

    I may have lost some serious love with some of my family and friends, but if they know me at all they will keep in touch via other, more intimate methods.

    • I think it’s the writing thing that first connected us, Lisa, a while back for sure. I know I was compelled by Clark’s story, and how you stayed connected to him.

      Blog, Facebook, wherever, we will stay connected for sure. Hopefully if I’m ever that way, Frank can get some wind through my hair — much needed these days.


  7. oh a post after my heart but yes..I am still deactivated from one account. It has been freeing and mine was more about the MIND suck rather than the TIME suck.
    I have a separate account that I kept..it is only family and close off line friends and mainly because I have a ton of family on the other coast and it keeps us connected. and I am now back to blogging again…..with my favorite big girl!
    Slowing down and adding a lot of 15 minute yes’s sprinkled throughout my day has changed my life forever! Who knew ….. oh yeah that was YOU xoxo

    • The change was YOU, not me. 🙂 Been back on to the dreaded Facebook a couple of times, and not nearly as alluring now. Maybe it’s like a smoker who quits, and lights up again — after a while you realize you were better off without it.

      Small puffs going forward. And keep up the good work! xo back at ya!

  8. I could have written this post myself, except that I haven’t taken a break. I admire the hell out of you for having written it (and no I am not trying to feed your ego…I am relating how I feel). And the part about “…why I post things on Facebook, why I comment, or which friend’s posts I choose to comment on…” spot on for me too.

    I have done a lot to reduce my usage and to curate my feed so that it feels good to me. And I am going to do more…it’s funny because a friend of mine said to me the other day, “when I think about moderation, I think of Karen Anderson.” And it’s true…I’ve been one of those people who’s gone partway down many rabbit holes over the years (over spending, over eating, over drinking, over Facebooking…) but have been able to moderate rather than quitting.

    Oh, and I knew you had taken a break. And I also thought of you several times over the past few weeks.

    • You’re a class act KCL, and I always appreciate your feedback, and thoughts.

      Of the hardest parts for me has been releasing “friends” on their own recognizance. I’ve pared off 30 already, and it has been a relief.

      Facebook will largely be a weekend thing for me; Sunday mornings especially. What I miss during the week won’t add up to much.

      Thank you, very much!!

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