Friday, January 25, 2019

A selfish question about FaceBook

I stopped reading FaceBook from the 23 of December until the 7 January. I did this for nostalgic reasons. When I was a kid those days were for close friends and family and for God. We cut out distractions and focused on what matters most.

Anyway, it had an unexpected benefit. I suddenly found myself with a whole lot of free time. I was able to get stuff done. More importantly, I was able to get solitude. Solitude matters a lot to me and I have had a hard time getting it lately. I found myself resenting people I should be caring about because they would seek me out when I was craving solitude. That all disappeared when I stopped being on FB.

The problem social media presents me is that I can never get away from it. I feel like I have to be ready to respond to whatever might come up so I worry about what might be happening when I'm away. So I log on to check and that leads to the second problem. FB is designed so as to make it difficult or impossible to rejoin the conversation you had yesterday. It keeps giving you an endless stream of distractions whole burying the stuff you looked at just an hour ago so deep it takes a long time to find it. That isn't an accident; they've intentionally designed the site to function that way.

When I logged in again on January 7, I did so with enthusiasm. I had a whole lot of notifications, many more than I've ever had before. I looked forward to it figuring here are dozens of things that actually will be of interest to me! Well, not so much. There was not a single thing of actual use to me.

Since then, I've taken to logging in on Friday and Monday only and checking only notifications. I don't scroll the feed. And the selfish question I have is this: What's in this for me? I know, what about others. That was the justification I used in the past. I'd think, okay, most of what's here is of no interest to me but it's a way of staying in touch with people I care about; it will give me opportunities to learn about stuff they're doing and to show support. Unfortunately, that didn't work out. People don't self-reveal on FB. What they do is try to co-opt you into things they care about.

And so up crops the selfish question. What does this service offer me? I've been checking before the weekend in case there are things I want to go to. All I get is a bunch of things other people want me to go to. On Monday, I check to see if anything happened that I may want to look into in the future. So far, nothing.

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