Saturday, May 17, 2014

Reactivation: The Night Before

A few final thoughts as the Facebook fast closes in toward its end...

Honestly, I feel healthier having had a break from Facebook, like he is an unhealthy relationship I needed distance from or time to learn how to only be friends. Sure, I have missed some updates about things (marriages, birth announcements, break-ups, hang-ups, triumphs, and losses), but most of the people who really want me to know something have called me or texted me or invited me into their lives in a more personal way than the public purview of social media. 

I truly think that Facebook is a form of mass behavioral conditioning--a way to socially conform the general population. I mean, we post statuses and receive reinforcement through the number of "likes" and comments. Most of us shy away from posting things that won't receive any "likes" or comments because we all want to be liked or noticed; in fact, negative attention is better than no attention. Some of us don't want to offend, so we keep our real ideas hidden. Some of us want a rapid line of interest fired in our direction so we say anything that will focus the spotlight on our stage. And so we learn to make posts that will make us popular or we learn to make ostentatious statements that will surely turn someone's eyes (and thoughts) our way. It's a public forum for conformity and a need to be noticed at its core. Like high school in techno format. You can "like" the same things as the people you want to be like. You can be "friends" with people you don't even really know. You can seldom ever talk to or see the people you know the very best. You can love from afar. You can bully with biting ferocity. There are even options to "unfollow" or "unfriend" for whatever reason: you only want to be "friends" with the elite "cool kids", you just can't deal with someone anymore...See, like high school with virtual hallways for everyone to witness any sort of worldly public humiliation. We also grow less capable of reading and responding to real people during real human interactions. Our chances of depression increase. Our creativity and imagination is stifled. We take more time to heal from break-ups and other heartaches. It's a culture (whether civilized or uncivilized) complete in itself and we are the citizens of its making.

Then, there are those of us who refuse to participate (at varying degrees). Whether we are selective in our posts and interactions or choose to take small breaks from the world of social media or ditch it all together, whether we make a conscious effort to have real, face to face interactions with people we consider our friends or log-out at meal times and quality times and other in-between times, whether we refuse to let the number of likes we think we'll receive (or not) make us second guess a post that reflects who we really are or let the number of people in our friends list determine some preconceived self-value, some of us still find ourselves seeking interactions that are real and genuine above the binary limits of the virtual plane.

So, even though I'll be reactivating my Facebook account some time tomorrow/today, I'm doing so with more thoughtfulness than I had before.

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