Disclaimer: Rant Ahead
I’m not sure if anyone else reads this blog anymore, but I thought that this may be an opportunity to share my thoughts about Facebook and my personal experience with it off of facebook where I could write more about it.
Last quarter was particularly difficult, with 4 classes and 16 credit hours. With 2 weeks to go in the quarter, due to stress, avoiding distractions, and other reasons, I logged out of facebook and installed a site blocker to prevent myself from going to it.
I was amazed how I was not looking at my phone all the time, not looking for likes on my posts, not looking for likes on my pictures. I could actually spend time with people and really connect with them and not be glued to my screen. I didn’t need the validation from people. I wasn’t sitting on my computer worrying about if people were online and if they were going to contact me, or be tempted to start an online conversation that would last a long time.
I’ve become more and more private since I joined Facebook 11 years ago. When I was in Burkina, I did not have internet access, and only posted pictures and things that I thought would be relevant to my friends and family. I didn’t post things like “OMG this is horrible and i’m stuck in my latrine all day and all I can eat is To with okra sauce”
When I got married, I only posted a smattering of wedding pictures because I felt weird about some creeper or friends of friends or family looking at our pictures. This is not meant to be a criticism about thepeople who post all of their wedding photos, but it was not right for me and my husband.
I also feel like sometimes the features of Facebook get misused by people. I have people tag me in posts that I don’t want to be tagged in, calling me out about something to get my attention or something they need. Sometimes the tagging feature is useful for job offers or people looking to connect over shared experiences, but I’m really frustrated with it. I have also had host country nationals from Burkina friend me and then tag me in every single photo they are in (but I am not), and then ask me to send them a computer.
I’ve un-followed and blocked people, and looking at my news feed just makes me sad, so I don’t really do that anymore. The new algorithm made few of my posts actually seen, and contributed to that lack of validation feeling because people were just not seeing my posts.
The other issue is that I got a notification from Facebook that not me, but some of my friends, used the app that helped mine data for Cambridge Analytica, which may have given out some of my public information. Geez, that doesn’t help me at all. I’m not sure who did it, and I don’t really care who, but my data got stolen.
I commute on a weekly basis but I don’t post my airport location or where I am at any given time. If you want to find out if I am in town, you can text me.
The only real reason I keep my Facebook around is to keep in touch with my Peace Corps friends, and my international friends. One of the greatest axioms of Peace Corps is, the people who really want to be in contact with you will still be in contact with you, and the people who do not want to be in contact with you will not.
Instagram is the only social media I regularly check, as it has things that make me happy, like drag queens, food pictures, makeup pictures, cat pictures, and others.
Disconnecting from my phone has been a godsend in some cases and has led me to be more connected and to pay more attention to the people around me. It’s also increased my battery life, and helped decrease my stress.
If you need to get a hold of me, you know how, and social media is not the happy shiny place it used to be.