When’s the last time you had a vacation? Before you start describing your most recent trip to a far off place dotted with palm trees or ancient buildings, let me be more specific… when’s the last time you vacationed from FaceBook? You know, that wonderful destination you hold in your hand that you escape to while on the train, laying on the couch or even dare I say in the bathroom? When’s the last time you dared to disconnect from all the noise, the pictures of friends enjoying dinner without you, the cat videos, the ads for things you’ll never use, the secret data miners collecting analytics designed as clever surveys, and the people you didn’t realize were Trump supporters? Have you ever even thought of it?
I’ve been on Facebook for about a year now, something I decided to do as a way to promote my blog. I didn’t realize it could have the ability to change my life in so many ways. I’ve become more spiritual, learned I was really good at some things previously thought to be only mediocre at best, and met some really incredible and wonderful people. However, as a well known law in physics goes, every action as equal and opposite reaction. Being that I consider myself more sensitive than most (ask my partner Eric), some of these “re-actions” have hurt… lots.
I’m now hyper aware of things I didn’t know even existed. I didn’t know so many people derived so much pleasure in starting an argument just for the sake of doing so, regardless of their actual position. I knew about trolls, having been using online services (even building my own) since I was 14, I just didn’t know how pathological it had become. I didn’t realize that animals and pets were treated so badly, tortured and filmed during the process so that others could be made aware of the activity itself. I didn’t realize that asking people not to traumatize you visually with such videos, would actually invoke an angry response and more visual trauma. I didn’t realize “pimple porn” was a thing and that so many Russian woman had names like John and Mike.
The current political atmosphere doesn’t help much either. You can love and admire someone dearly and the minute you or they state any sort of opinion, whether it be justified or not, the claws come out and you find out exactly what they think of you. Discourse and division are the norms on social media, not the exception. Humans inherently share more bad news and experiences than they do good, it’s part of human nature and the behavior is highlighted in every customer service class you’ve ever been to. So by its very nature, FaceBook is toxic by default.
With that off my chest have to say I think FaceBook is literally re-wiring my brain in a way I’m not comfortable with. So I’m taking a break. I prefer to have a greater degree of control of what I bring into my conscious awareness… my thought processes, emotions and the like. As a standard vacation goes, two weeks sounds about right for now. Where will I go? Well for starters I can still write on my blog and let the magic of API integrations announce new posts, like this one, without the need to even login. I’ll finish a couple of books I’ve been reading, journey into the depths of my imagination and take some time to watch a sunset, a real one, not some “Would you live here?” or “Relax Now” video. So pardon my abscence for the time being, maybe you should consider a vacation yourself. Who knows, we might be neighbors and not even realize until we finally look “up.”