Facebook feels like a popularity contest that I'm losing
The other day, I went on Facebook after writing my blog post about how I am done apologizing for the collective shadow, and the first thing I saw was a link posted by an old friend to an online magazine who had done some sort of exposé on his fancy country house. He had received a ton of comments and likes, everyone complimenting his house. One part of me sees that there is nothing wrong with this. This is normal behavior, acceptable behavior. But another part of me felt envious, and underneath that, angry. Not at any person, just at the way Facebook makes me feel. Then I realized it. Facebook is a place where we re-confirm what The Culture says is acceptable about us, and where we continue to hide our shadow, which grows bigger and bigger, underground. For me, it exacerbates the ego's need to confirm itself over and over, but then I am left feeling empty. I rarely find authenticity in the realm of Facebook, most especially not in myself. And yet, since I live in the desert, in Mexico, and I am far away from much of my friends and family, Facebook has sadly become the main way of keeping in touch with people in my life. It is a very paltry way of communicating with people you care about. Nearly every time I go on Facebook, I leave feeling wounded, inadequate, ashamed, disconnected & profoundly disappointed. For a long time I have wanted to share more of what I really think and feel on Facebook, but I have been afraid to tell the truth. How could I not be afraid of being myself in front of (what feels like) an unpredictably random assortment of 500 people I know or used to know, including: grade school best friends, people I've never met, dead relatives, clients, bosses, co-workers, ex's, therapists, teachers. On Facebook, in front of almost everyone we've ever known, our social connection is reduced to momentary reactions to fleeting images of people with whom we've had every kind of relationship imaginable. People's behavior has been reduced to the simplest gestures and statements that fall in the category of that which can be commented on in a few words, clicked in less than a second or more often, ignored. On Facebook I have the feeling that I need to express myself as generically as possible because I have no idea who I am actually communicating with. This feels like the fear of being judged in middle school and high school when we were first developing an identity. I don't want to go back to that trapped-in-silence feeling again.
I typed the above statement last night into my computer and it felt just right. I decided I am going to leave Facebook and see how it changes my life. I am moving my comments to Twitter (which is new to me) & Somewhere and maybe I'll discover a new social platform that feels more welcoming of my full self. But of course, most of comments will be here at the zoëlab HQ. I am always available by phone and email. Those older technologies seem so warm now with Facebook out of the way.
I might give myself a little time to adjust to this new idea. I am still contemplating whether or not I want to leave up my Art For Life page or leave Facebook all together. Right now I feel like slipping out the back door. Tomorrow I may feel a need to make a slightly louder exit.
This idea feels a little thrilling, strangely. Writing this post certainly has been thrilling, and I almost didn't post it. Almost.
(I confess this blog post took longer than 15 minutes. But I had a lot of fun, so it's okay.)