It’s been nearly two full months since I stopped checking Facebook. It’s also been about that long that my brog’s been down, keeping me anxious and feeling voiceless when it comes to routine and a simple enjoyment, but that’s a different story.
I’ve learned that Facebook notifications caps at 99, based on the periodic emails I get letting me know that I’ve got 99 notifications since the last time I’ve been on Facebook, and the number is no longer climbing.
In that time, I’ve more or less lost touch with people, as I don’t know what exciting or mundane things that are going on in the lives of the 140+ internet personas that Facebook deems as friends. Birthdays have come and gone, and the odd random “so-and-so has posted” emails keep me in the loop that people are in fact gabbing away.
There are a few group conversations going on that I’m aware are happening because Facebook notifies me that they’re happening over email, but out of not wanting to break my chain, not because I’m (entirely) antisocial, I’m blind to them. I haven’t seen any photos or any posts that have me tagged, because I’m a hipster and obtuse.
The thing is, I’ve been mulling over in my head when it is that I want to come back. I’m enjoying the freedom of ambivalence, and the time I’m not wasting both literally and the time spent thinking about the things people post, because I’m not checking Facebook repeatedly. I’ve read lots of books, watched some television and movies, did a lot of writing for a brog that I have no idea when will ever be back up and been on two trips so far. I’m not saying that none of those things would’ve have happened if I’d still been engaged on Facebook, but I did have the luxury of being fairly clear-minded and undistracted by potential distractions.
However, I’m also getting to the point where I’m becoming an island of a man again. Just because I’m choosing to disconnect doesn’t mean that I expect everyone else to, and there are lots of people who aren’t hipsters who insist on doing unorthodox things like denying themselves a mundane platform. People talk about things, gossip, memes, jokes, or stories that I’ve been blind to because I’m not checking Facebook. They’re also having conversations through Messenger that I’m being too obtuse to check, and it’s not the responsibility of anyone other than myself to tune in than being filled in.
Thankfully there haven’t been any substantial invites or events that have happened or are going to happen that I’m unaware of, because of my brindness.
I’ve thought about different times when I was just going to let go of the reigns and come back, but then something always happens that makes me reconsider. I realize that I’m kind of sensitive to the “feel” of a large mass of people, and it admittedly messes with my head when it just feels like everyone is pissed, or in most of the time, I feel like people are being disingenuous and are posting shit for the sake of trying to appear on top of things.
Like right before the tragic Pulse Orlando shooting occurred, was one of those times when I figured eh, let’s see what’s on the old theFacebook. But then after the shooting occurred, I only fathomed the amount of outcry, so slacktivism and all the people who were posing all sorts of words that stated the same things but in different tones and inflections; I didn’t want to see any of it. I agree it was tragic, and I have my own thoughts and opinions about how much it sucked, how particular American policies suck and other things, but I didn’t want to be swimming in an internet battlefield of people with conflicting opinions.
And that’s the thing, I want an internet landscape of calm and relaxing and funny and sometimes ironic, but such thing is nigh impossible. Since Orlando, there’s been all sorts of shitty national or worldly stories that make me reluctant to see what’s going on social media. The Stanford rapist getting a six month sentence, Brexit and the horrifying deconstruction of English society, and whenever anyone talks about Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton or even Bernie Sanders; these are all prevalent topics among others that light fires under most of the people I know, and I see sides of people that I admittedly don’t always want to see.
An internet landscape of calm and relaxing and funny and sometimes ironic is not possible when the vast majority of the news and stories that are posted in prevalent places are all with a generally downtrodden intonation to them. You know it’s bad when “good news” has its own section on news outlets, because the implication is that only the bad is worth talking about.
As it was once said to me at my first graphic design job, which was at a newspaper, “if it bleeds, it leads.” I chuckled, because I thought it was irony, but little did I realize then just how pinpoint accurate such a statement really is.
When my options are really to continue to hope that society will someday magically lighten up or toughen up for the world is a shitty place, it’s sadly going to be the latter that really has to happen in order for me to eventually get off my pedestal and just see what’s going on in the worlds of the people I know.