I created my first Facebook account in 2004 when I was a freshman at the University of Connecticut. I remember my friend Erica telling me about this website where you could be “friends” with students at other colleges in Connecticut. Facebook was a this new social network that had started at one university and was rapidly spreading to other schools – connecting students to one another with the touch of a button. UConn had just become a member of the network, so I was intrigued, excited, and quickly jumped on the bandwagon.
Back then, Facebook didn’t have as many features. You could upload photos, send messages, and see other people’s profiles. I started communicating with my now best friend Kara for the first time through Facebook messenger. I kept up with my Uconn friends when I transferred to Tennessee with Facebook. I let my friends know what I was eating for dinner, when I was showering, and how I felt about everything.
Over the last 11 years, Facebook has been the source of more drama in my life than I would ever like to admit.
Who knew social media could start arguments between my husband and me? It is a blessing he was never a member of the network because our college years would have been horrible. I swear people intentionally posted photos and ambiguous statuses to make other people mad.
The question still remains: How can a social network create rifts between friends or hurt my feelings? EASY. It’s so easy. I’ll never figure out why I ever let something so intangible become a big part of my life, but it has been part of my daily routine for years.
I use Facebook to post my blog links, to share photos of my daughter with my loved ones all over the East Coast. The platform is how I communicate with family and friends. Facebook is a network for the small business I have created with this blog. I check Facebook multiple times a day to see what my friends are doing or if anyone has commented on my latest blog post. It’s obsessive compulsive. Sometimes I don’t even realize I am touching the app on my phone and absentmindedly scrolling.
Lately, I cannot stand half of the nonsense that comes up on my Newsfeed.
I am constantly unfollowing my friends after they post a picture of something I find offensive or spout off disagreeable thoughts. Many people use social media as their soapbox to bash religion, politics, education, or even each other. Unfortunately, I am even guilty of standing on my Facebook Status Soapbox and publicly spouting my thoughts to the world.
Those that are my friends were subjected to these posts, unless they hit the Unfollow button at the top of my profile page. I’ve recently stopped posting my business. If anyone wants to read it, they can come here (if it’s posted). The difference between this blog and Facebook is that people have a choice if they want to read it or not.
People create labels for themselves with what they post on Facebook. Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes it is accidental. Democrat, Republican, Liberal, Christian, Bigot, Atheist, Fascist, the list goes on and on. Why do people want to be labeled? Human beings are complex and not one of us fits neatly into the little peg hole that so many try to shove themselves into. Those that present him or herself as something and then act or speak hypocritically are just making fools of themselves. Why pretend to be something that your not?
So why do I want to delete Facebook?
Why do I want to get rid of a social network that allows me to share photos and stories with my family and friends? Who would delete a connection to friends who don’t like talking on the phone? Does it make sense to delete thousands of photos I’ve taken over the last 11 years? In mind mind, it does. I am tired of reading the hatred and nonsense some people should keep inside their heads.
Let’s be honest here, I won’t delete my account. Not now. Not anytime soon.
I’ll just continue to unfollow those whose words seem to poison my vision. I cannot unfriend someone every time they post something offensive, because un-friending someone on Facebook is as bad as telling them they don’t matter to you anymore. And people care – they care that much. I don’t care. Not anymore. If someone deletes me I will not feed into their tactics by doing the same. I will not allow the hurt from that to define me. I refuse to base the status of my relationships off of Facebook interactions, because they are virtual networks – nothing you can actually touch. Real relationships are built on trust, love, and tangible memories made in person.