Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Brain Dump that Facebook Missed

I'm taking a break from Facebook right now for several reasons: The noise of all those voices and notifications. (As of now, I've got 71 waiting for me when I get back next Monday.) The politics and fractious sharing of religious opinions. The pull to look again and again to see if anyone has written anything new. And oh yeah, the life envy. I admit to shoving down a bit of life envy from time to time. (The week before my birthday a friend posted about how sweet her littles were being whispering and planning surprises to delight her for her birthday. I got bubkis. A little twinge of covetousness.)

But more than that I found myself turning again and again to my online community of friends whenever I needed support, not to my family, not to God,  but to Facebook. It was all well and good in moderation, but I'm not that great at moderation. I realized the face I wanted to see was God's face, metaphorically, of course. So I decided to stop immersing myself in my virtual community, seek out real-life interaction with people I love, and try out some of those "Sunday school answers" in real life. (Q: How do you feel the Spirit? SSA: By fasting, praying, attending your meetings and the temple, service, etc.) So here are a few of my insights a week in.

1. I miss it. I miss the noise and the arguments and the announcements. My nephew and his wife just announced a pregnancy, and my SIL had a huge proud mommy moment. My husband says it's "weird" when I tell him to tell them I said congratulations. My daughters agree with him, so I'm tapping my foot, trying to keep my weirdo commitment to not facebook for two weeks. 

2, I have a backlog of thoughts I want to share with the wide, wide world. I want to write, Hence the blog post.

3. I have logged way more hours on my spiritual and intellectual pursuits than I normally do. I've been cleaning up other people's messes in Family Search. (Honestly, doesn't anyone else notice the thirty kids, and six Janes and six Joes and six of everything? Then I have to go research and see which Jane, Joe et al are the real ones and merge a bunch of people which messes with their kids . . . but I digress.) I've also done a lot more reading out loud to Caroline.

4. I am no more physically able to do other kinds of things, like cleaning, exercising, moving things, gardening than I was prior to this fb-fast. So I have a fair amount of sitting around thinking, "Hm, I can't really move: what should I do now?" Luckily, I live in my very own library, filled with my very favorite kind of books. Also, I have six million Kindle books. (OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit on the Kindle.) And a laptop. (Did I mention how hard it's been to NOT go to Facebook?)

5. I kind of hate Facebook, because Facebook destroyed casual blogging. Our easy likes, and short quips and one-stop shopping (all of our friends in one spot) was easy enough, but our status updates have been ridiculously easy. A sentence here, a paragraph there. I wrote when I blogged, and I made new friends through blogging. I miss it. But I love Facebook for all the reasons I hate it. I'm fickle like that. 

6, There have been new Doctor Who episodes and I've been staying away from Twitter and Facebook, so after I watch the new episode, my husband asks, "How was it?" And I respond, "SO GOOD!" and that's the end of it. No speculation about Missy's clever idea or chuckling over the clever lines or fist-shaking over Davros' evil plans or cheering over the Doctor choosing mercy and still winning the day. Nope. Nada. Silencio. However, point 3 sort of makes it worth it. I can squee with my online friends later. 

7. People know that I've written on my blog primarily though me posting a link on Facebook, so very few people will see this. Which is fine, I guess. It's the point, I guess. To talk to real people, not virtual ones. The problem is that some of my very favorite people in the world are ones I only have on-line contact with. I won't name names, but I'm fairly certain, they know who they are. 

So, given that maybe seven or eight people will read this, I'm not feeling all that motivated to put a big ribbon of a concluding paragraph onto this mess of thoughts, but please know I DO appreciate you reading it. 

The end. (Of this post. Sheesh. Don't get all dramatic on me.)


Thora said...

This is really funny to read for me right now. I deactivated my facebook account a week ago, because it has been a time suck for me, plus the whole "fear of missing out" that keeps me checking it, instead of getting other stuff done, and I feel like I end up feeling more negative about others after being on it, not more positive (and these are my friends - I want to be positive about them). But I admit, I still miss it. I took a six week break earlier this year, and after the first couple of weeks I readjusted my life, so I didn't miss it, and the positives were much more accentuated. But right now I am still in the missing it phase. I miss the connectivity - but then I have to remind myself that I as often as not felt more disconnected from people after being on facebook, not less.

I miss blogging too - and when I have rarely blogged nowadays, almost no one saw it unless I posted it on facebook. I think what I really want it real, sincere connection - ideally in real life, but I enjoy real online connection too. And facebook didn't really provide that (for me), but I often had the illusion that it would.

Which is all to say, that this post really resonated with me right now.....

Jami said...

Thora! I'm so happy to see you here. Promise me when you come back to Facebook, I'll be among your friends. I enjoy you and your insights so very much!

My birthday was filled with a lot of in person interactions, one on one, just like I like them, and I realized I need that real person, real hug to be a part of my life regularly. On the other hand, people like you, who I adore, but cannot hug, are important to me too. I really am going to have to master this balance thing at some point.

Julia said...

So are you going to install a "like" gadget on your blog? Lol.

Jami said...

Julia, I'm fairly certain that's what the Google+ button was intended to be originally. Poor Google+.

Heidi said...

Happy to have my theory about the death of blogs through Facebook from a superior mind. I wonder what will be the death of FB? Something faster, no doubt. I enjoyed reading this. And it was fun to see Thora's face, too!

Heidi said...

The Facebook envy thing--yes. Me, too. It doesn't matter how much good there is in your life, there is always those who have something gooder. That's why comparing is so not a good idea. But it is hard when it's right there in your face.

Unknown said...

I can relate to every one of your points, and have spent a fair amount of time turning them over in my mind, too.

I think the most detrimental effect of FB has been the destruction of actual, real writing. A one-off status update is so much easier and then kills them impetus to actually contemplate the situation and distill my thoughts. I've been trying to be careful about that. The fact is, my posts link to on Fb get about 100x the traffic of the posts I don't link to.

Jami said...

Unknown, I name thee TRACY.

I agree with you. If the thing that is brewing in my mind can be haphazardly spewed out on Facebook, what motivates me to nurture it into a real piece of writing? Not much. Generally just life-changing things.

Ardis said...

I'm happy to be one of the 8 (surely there will be more!) who find this ... largely because of your FB link.

I have almost no in-person friends, and certainly no family. In fact, I sometimes go from the end of Church meetings one week to the beginning of Church meetings the next week without seeing or speaking to a real person, unless it's to discuss paper or plastic at the grocery store. FB has become a real lifeline to me in that isolation, and for that reason I'm desperately grateful for it. But I'm certainly not pleased with what it's done to the blogs. I miss the community that used to center on blogs. FB is immediate and personal and democratic, but it's too shallow and easy and foamy and sometimes mean.

Happy belated birthday.

Jami said...

Blogger tells me we're up to twenty-four now, Ardis. I agree with you about the lifeline. Grown ups in my life. YAY! But I think it might be contributing to my social anxiety in real life situations though. Talking is so immediate. I have to think of something to say right after they say something. Then again and again. And babbling non-stop (my nervous twitch) is frowned upon in real life. Oh well. Must come up with some kind of balance.

Heffalump said...

I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook for many of the same reasons. It often keeps me from more meaningful connections with people in my local circle of friends, because we just Facebook instead of actually talking to each other. However, it is also where some of my favorite people are that live far away.
I love this post, and I support your reasons for being away, but it was sure lovely to see you back on Facebook today.

Diane said...

I read it... and I love ya!

shenna said...

love all of this...and love you!

mindyluwho said...

I am number nine...who commented that is. :) I miss blogging. I have a dozen in my mind but they have yet to make it to the computer because one liners are so much easier. Not that I ever post much on fab (fb I mean...spell check called it fab, not me... silly spellcheck, fb is not all that fab) but I do get caught up in scrolling endlessly and clicking on meaningless cat videos and such. I love your blog, you are delightful to read and therefore you should take more breaks from fb so you can blog more often! (But please post the link to fb so we can all know when you blogged :))