As the months passed and I was abstinent from the sometimes obsessive habit of Facebook, I came to realize some important knowings about myself and Facebook. The light and dark side to it all.
After leaving Facebook with a final post of heartfelt devastation and hopelessness, I found myself standing alone. Very few people reached out, very few people even raised a care of my heartfelt call for the need of support.. Others made attempts to cover it with a band-aid solution, that typically only left me feeling worse about myself and the endless hopelessness in my personal situation.
Others, whom I would have expected to say something, and quite frankly should have, DIDN’T! Simply because they have known me for years, know my struggles and know that when I am that upset, and cry out for support, that I mean it. Only to be severely disappointed by the lack of care and understanding.
In the beginning, as time passed, without Facebook, I felt even more alone and more isolated then I did on the day of the post. What was wrong here? Were my expectations too much? Was my friends meter over calculated? No one gave a care whether you are there or not. It didn’t matter! All those posts, all those moments of authenticity, all those connections. Was it all a waste of my time and energy?! How could I have been so fooled by it all?!
I was taken back and realized there is truly only one person that you can count on —YOURSELF! If your lucky, a loved one or two.
I was done! FED UP with FACEBOOK!
No posts for 7 months. Occasional visit to Facebook, to message people (business related), retrieve my ‘memories’ and posts, and then left. I no longer viewed the timelines, or spent mindless moments on there. After awhile I was beginning to enjoy the abstinence of it all.
As time passed, a person or two would reach out to me. Where are you? Are you Ok? I haven’t seen you on FB. More time passed, and more people asked where I was. I shared my reasoning for being absent, and thanked them for caring enough to recognize I was gone. So, despite my animosity towards FB, my connection to others had created an impact in other’s lives. I had not been forgotten, I had been remembered in ways I had not realized. And it was in that absence, I realized that my life mattered too. That it too had value, even amongst the busy, loud and countless millions of others on there. It can be so easy for one to feel so insignificant to the world, when using the measurment of Facebook and the friends that have joined you. Especially, when you walk away and no one is following.
Here is what I learned from my Facebook abstinence:
Even when it seems that you stand alone, when you have walked away and turn to see who is following and no is there as you walk away, wondering where you are…. It is untrue. Each person has made an impact to many others in their lifetime. Each person, no matter how small, or large their presence on FB, has imported a memory into my life, and their life into others.
I learned how I live my life with Facebook and what I place as importance, is not what others will. I know that I always make a point of checking my friends list from time to time. And when I see that someone has not been posting, I send a message to check to see how they are. It can sometimes take weeks or months, before people realize you are gone, because there are hundreds of friends, many of us have. It takes time for it to catch up. (Im speaking of those that are active on FB). I don’t pay much attention to those that are not active. I don’t know your there, if you don’t participate. You have to join in, for me to know your there. 🙂
The next lesson that continues to repeat itself throughout my life, no stranger to many of us.
Those that you thought cared, and should of cared, DID NOT. Those you never would have guessed would have cared at all, DID CARE. Then there were those that cared all along and were true supporters and in the sense of Facebook friends, were truly friends before, and after Facebook.
Things have changed on Facebook, from previous years. It has become more of a news feed then a place to go to connect with others. We are bombarded by advertisements, tragic news media stories, rants and raves of different organizations or groups to join, tragedy after tragedy with attached causes to join. Copy and paste this and I will be your true friend, stupid chain letter’s (absolutely hate these!), and endless chants about how we need to be more positive and change our thinking or the ongoing religious ways of how we need to know and pray as god says we should. Lets not forget the political ranting and raving that went on during the presidential election (2016). That was a true turning point for me.
Facebook and most on there are as fake as fake can be. Many trying to be someone they are not, to ‘look good’. Get more likes, get more friends, followers, etc. It’s just one big fake news feed filled with expectations from so many, in so many directions. Each person arrives on Facebook with a different agenda.
We post tragedies of animals starving, or kids dying in Syria, or the most recent cause in the limelight. Reaching out to our fellow FB friends and followers in hopes to get others to march with our cause and our belief system. Meanwhile, when a fellow Facebook friend (used lightly) is in real need. Desperate need for someone to listen, for someone to be a true friend, to be there because of a life tragedy, then they leave quicker then a flock of birds to the sound of a gunshot!
There is enough hardship, tragedy, and cause sitting right next to us. Our neighbor, our church fellowship, our co-workers, our family and our friends. The reason we are on Facebook and in this world is to connect with others. To gather a sense of community, that seems to be slipping away faster then we can save it. It is your choice whether it is with your church going group, or the animal rights group, or with your real friends and family. That is the beauty of Facebook. It allows us that connection, that so many of us need to sustain. To breathe. To live. Because our lives are so busy, that we don’t even have the time to spend with a friend, over a cup of coffee anymore, so we need to connect by social media, texting and emails. It is the reality of this world.
Facebook is a friendly place, where we can connect with so many others, from so many places. Places we would never be able to visit and meet those wonderful people. Sister souls, mentoring souls, advocate souls, shared interest souls, etc. This is the beauty of Facebook.
Facebook is not a place to air your troubles. No one has the skill, interest or know how to deal with anything but ‘happy’. Another sad fact. Now bloggers! Now they are some people that are REAL people, dealing with REAL problems! They put their heart and soul into their blogs, revealing the most unveiling truths of their lives. Putting it out there for many to see, with many there to support whatever they have chosen to share. That is what I call TRUE long distance friendships. Those that WILL reach out to someone when they are down and out. Those that support, not judge another by their words and life happenings.
We ‘like’ the latest tragedy. ‘Like’ the page that has a cause to help those kids starving in Africa, or to help those with the latest Mother Earth tragedy. But when there are real life problems with people on our Facebook page. Then the crickets sing a song, and your as isolated as being dumped in the desert. It’s all so noble and gallant to rescue from afar. To donate, to say I know this person who runs this rescue(prestigious connection), blah, blah, blah! But, when it lands on our doorstep, whose really ready to step up to the plate?! You won’t need a counter for this one.
What are real life problems. Losing a job, health issues, divorce, losing a child, facing homelessness, foreclosure on your home, continued poverty, unable to get a job, death, car accidents, etc. These are real life, modern day, problems of people who live in the United States! We don’t live in Syria, or Africa, we live in the U.S., and if we don’t start connecting to our communities and to each other, then we too will be in such devastation as these countries!!!
Ok. So, lets look at that. Why not help a Facebook friend that needs a job? Or needs support during a divorce. I know I have! Countless times supported many Facebook friends, with their call for help, from life tragedies, and life challenges. I have given many free consultations to help people with their animals, and have offered countless others in assisting them in many different situations. (*Note I speak of helping others from person to person, not a business to a person. Business is business and needs to make a profit, and even so there are times when we need to set aside the bottom line and just give to those in need who truly seek improvement of their life).
Granted there are times when we all have enough on our own plates, to not be able to take on anybody else’s problems. Life is a never ending challenge of pursuits, blockers, losses and responsibilities. Who has time to help another, right?! At times it is just too overwhelming for any one of us, even those with the biggest and most selfless giving hearts.
Most people don’t have the know how, skill, guts or stomach to deal with people’s problems. These are what I call ‘sunshine friends’. Never report anything going bad in your life. Always be happy. Never vent to them about life. Just pretend to be someone you are not, and put a smile on your face and pretend to be happy, while your with them. But hang out a listening ear to all their troubles! Cause they will dish it out, all too often, being a friend to them with their troubles, but heaven forbid if you come to them with your troubles. Facebook is all too often a sunshine friend, which offers it’s pluses and minuses.
Facebook is predictable. Be happy. Post happy things. Post triumphs, accolades, winnings, new houses, new cars, boyfriends, marriage, kids, pets, vacations, graduations, new jobs, etc. Anything that marks the happiest milestones of life.
The one exception to the usual celebrations that are warmly accepted on FB by the majority rule, is death, grief & loss, illness, accidents and Mother Nature tragedies. These are the only accepted tragedies of life that FB friends and followers will embrace and pour out their support to those that care to share it.
I also realized Facebook is a timeline of my life, and of those whom we share our FB page with. In those pictures, we see their life, as well as ours. As the ’shared memories’ appear in my timeline I realized it was a journal of my life. With it’s marked dates I could recall that time in my life and what was going on. Reminisce through the moments past….. How I had endured it, celebrated it, grieved it, or triumphed over it! It was a reminder of who I was, what I had done and where I had been. Who was important, who was not. I realized how important that was.
Once upon a time we had photo albums that we scrolled through to embrace our life. Today, we scroll through the pictures on our phones, Facebook and other social media to view the moments in life. I then realized that without it, it became an even more lonely life, and that I had lost a valuable connection to others and the world. For those reasons alone, I knew I had to return.
Then there is the sweetness of Facebook. Connecting with people who were once of your past, and are now a part of your present. There is a lot of joy in knowing that people once again are thinking of you and remember you and want to be a part of your life again.
The other delights of Facebook are the connections to the world. To witness the creative innovations that make this world a better place, the entertainment of those that share their gifted talents; from artists to dancers, singers, actors and more. It opens your world to a much larger space, larger then yourself. That in itself opens doors, ideas, creations and your mind to the world and all it’s beauty.
From the funny quips, to the beautiful pictures, to the profound words of wisdom, there is much to find on Facebook, that will keep you coming back for more.
To the many support groups where you will get the hunger of your needs met, by so many that pour out their hearts to assist others in the cause that have inspired them. To share the knowledge, the testimony, the rapture of transformation it bestowed upon their life, offering it to all those that seek to experience the same.
Let’s not forget what FB does for business. How important a tool it is grow a business. The exponential growth that can be a part of your business, with your effort and willingness to pursue it. It is your’s for the grabbing, all it takes is connecting with others, And those connecting with them, and them connecting with others, etc. The endless opportunity that can come from a FB business page is limitless!
It is all about the connection, the love and the beauty of this space we call life. We can either jump on board, or skip the ride. But to expand that connection we must stay in tune with the latest and greatest ways of connecting, and that involves social media. It’s still a choice, but it is one I keep coming back to, even after a period of abstinence, it still reigns in my heart as a place to stay connected!
By Diana Wanamaker
Copyright Apritl 3, 2017
All Rights Reserved