Lately, when it’s come to Facebook, I’ve been drifting away. I stick to a couple of groups I’m in, and that’s about it. It makes me sad, but it’s also been pretty freeing.
I’ve always had a hate-love relationship with Facebook. Not a love-hate relationship, because that implies that I loved it more than I hated it, or at least loved and hated it equally. That’s never been the case, or at least not since I first joined some ten years ago. For the last… I’ll say eight years, I’ve definitely hated Facebook more than I’ve loved it.
Still, for as big of a cesspool as I found it to be, it had its high points. It allowed me to keep in touch with friends I otherwise would have lost contact with. That was enough for me to not completely abandon ship.
Not so, anymore.
Despite Facebook’s pitiful attempts at “getting back to… friends,” I still see less of my friends’ personal posts in my feeds than ever.
And maybe I’m not being fair, because this isn’t really Facebook’s fault. At least, not anymore. I might argue that Facebook created the culture of spam and fake news it will never be able to come back from. I might argue that, and I would be right.
The thing is, Facebook doesn’t create that stuff anymore. The users do.
I could see personal posts from my friends in my feed. I could see pictures and status updates and funny videos from their niece’s 6th birthday party. I could see those things, but I don’t.
I don’t see them because no one actually posts them, anymore.
We now live in a world where the political is deeply, deeply personal. Even when maybe it’s not. I mean, maybe people really do care so much that it’s all they can talk about. But, I’ve been around the internet long enough to know that are least some of these people are being vocal because they’ve been conditioned to believe they’re bad people if they aren’t.
And it’s exhausting. Allen asked me a question for my Q&A video I’ll be posting in February. He asked me how I deal with the onslaught of horrible things happening in the world. I go into depth in my video answer, but a part of it is that I’ve just stopped trying to keep up with it all. I just don’t have the energy to even know everything that’s happening, anymore.
A handful of people on my Facebook feed have made it their mission to make sure I know everything that’s happening in the world. People barely post about what’s going on in their lives, with their families and friends, anymore. They just want to share something someone else wrote about some topic that enraged them. It’s not even something they wrote, but some article from some back-woods website about some obscure piece of horrible news that they feel like everyone should be aware of, because everything is of equal horror and importance. I just can’t abide that. Human beings are not emotionally equipped to deal with so much bad news on a daily basis.
And logistically speaking, not everything can be the worst thing going on. Sometimes, you have to pick and choose what you’re going to care about today. No one can fight every battle. I would much rather fight one battle with all my strength than give 0.0002% to every battle that comes my way.
That completely ignores the fact that a lot of these “news” pieces (from both the right and the left, by the way–this is not a partisan issue) don’t hold up to fact checking. I’ve had to comment “This didn’t really happen” on so many of one friend’s shared posts that I finally just blocked her from my feed. Fake news, indeed.
“But, Adie,” I can hear no one saying. “What about add-ons and browser extensions to clean up your feed? F.B. Purity is a Godsend!”
It is. I installed F.B. Purity in 2014, when my feed exploded with political vitriol due to the 2016 presidential election. I originally used it to filter out specific words, but about a year ago, I messed around with the settings to block all the things I don’t care about:
- So-And-So is friends with Whatsherface posts
- That Dude commented on a post from This Dumb Page
- Game and app posts
- Posts, pictures, status updates shared from other people/pages
With only a handful of people I know who don’t share post after post after post of nightmarish news (and “news”) articles added to my whitelist, so none of their posts are hidden. I clicked to hide everything–everything–that caused me stress when I checked my feed, while making sure that people who shared things I actually liked could still get through. On paper, it sounds incredible.
Do you know what happened?
The only things I ever saw in my feed were posts from pages and business I follow, and the occasional shared post from those whitelisted individuals. Nothing else. After I added my sister-in-law, I saw occasional pictures of my nieces and nephews. I can think of two people who regularly post about their personal lives.
Two people. That’s it.
I understand that everyone’s angry. I get it. But that’s not why I’m friends with you. There is so much more to you than some journalist’s polarizing opinion piece. You are smart and funny and creative, and goddamn it I miss seeing that from you! But those aren’t the things people want to talk about, anymore–not even once in a while.
So, why am I bothering with Facebook when I won’t see the things I want to see from my friends? I get more of the social interaction I want to get from those people by just texting them or messaging them and asking them, “Hey, how’ve you been?”
It’s hard, because starting conversations is hard. But, it’s better than never knowing because Facebook isn’t a place to be social and keep up with friends, anymore. It’s just another place for people to yell about their uninformed political opinions.
And if I wanted to deal with that, I’d just stay on Twitter.
I love you all.
HEY! HEY! HEY! I WANT TO RECORD A Q&A! I’ve become enraptured with the idea of posting a video Q&A. With my actual, honest to goodness face and voice. Here’s the thing: I need questions! If there’s anything you want to know about me, ask it in the comments below and it will probably be included in the video. You have until January 26th (that’s tomorrow!!) to get your questions in!
Are you awesome? Do you like awesome things? Then stop by my Zazzle shop to pick up a t-shirt or mug and let the world know how awesome you are (but not in a braggy way)!
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