Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kinda Makes Me Want to Play "Free Bird"

Last week I did something drastic, something daring, something a little crazy. I deleted almost every one of my Facebook contacts. I deleted my best girlfriend. I deleted my pastor. I deleted everyone except my husband, my sister, and my mom.

Why? Because I was a Facebook junkie and I seriously needed help. This wasn't some spur-of-the-moment decision either. I wasn't that one person who gets mad because not enough people wished him/her a happy birthday so they "leave Facebook" in a fit of rage only to show back up a few days later with more drama. I have been systematically whittling down my Facebook activity for months. At first I used an app designed to give you more control over what content you see in your timeline. I had also "unfollowed" a large number of people who were clogging up my news feed. Last Tuesday I decided to go full-on Cyberman and delete almost everyone. I don't regret it at all.
"I have not spoken to you since 10th grade. You will be deleted."

I know what you're thinking. Why didn't I just deactivate my Facebook page? Because although that is an option, technically the page doesn't go anywhere. It's always there and I'm always connected to all those people. Facebook is like the "Hotel California" of cyberspace. "You can check out (log out) any time you like, but you can never leave..."

No, if I wanted to be free from endless scrolling, obligatory birthday wishes and invites to try essential oils, weight-loss shakes or monogrammed knapsacks, I had to purge my friends list. In truth, very few of those people were actual friends. Most were casual acquaintances, people I knew in middle school, people I had performed with in shows, etc. But even my true, close friends had to go. I didn't want the temptation.

So how has it been? In a word, unbelievable. I kind of wish I had done it sooner. I no longer spend an hour every morning scrolling through and looking for something to "like."  I see only the few pages I follow, some news and weather sites, some inspirational pages, and of course, all my soccer stuff.
"Don't worry, man. We're safe."

Since I had deleted all my contacts, I took things even further and... *gulp!* I uninstalled Facebook on my phone. I left Messenger so I can still get instant messages, but Facebook is no longer on my phone at all. That's crazy since I pretty much only got a smart phone so I could get on Facebook from anywhere. But here's the deal, I don't miss it! I went out last weekend and had no need to "check in" at the restaurant, or post a photo of my meal to my Facebook page, or scroll through my news feed instead of enjoying my surroundings. My phone stayed in my purse unless I needed to check the time. 

A week in, this is been a mostly positive experience. I sent out a lot of personal messages prior to the purge to let my friends know what was going on. Most of them were very supportive. Of course, a few just did not understand and one even accused me of being selfish and unfair (another good reason to ditch.) However, I'm letting that roll off. I need more in my life than a bunch of contacts. I want real friends and a life that I am fully invested in. I don't want a series of picture-perfect posts. I want to enjoy every day and every moment to the fullest. 

You know it's bad when Jesus face-palms you.

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I do not think I'm better than anyone else, nor do I think Facebook is the problem. Facebook, like gelato, sunbathing, and Celine Dion, is fine in moderation. However, when you are chained to your electronic device in order to stay connected to social media, it becomes a problem. I had a problem. I was all media and no social. Unfortunately, my friends list was the collateral damage in this detox process, but I think all my former contacts will be just fine without my constant stream of owl pictures, Josh Groban videos and soccer updates. Besides, that's one less obligatory birthday wish they have to send out.

"I spent two whole minutes looking for the perfect e-card!"