Tuesday, May 03, 2011

[Stepping Away From Facebook For Now: An Explanation and a Plea to Stay in Touch]

As I sit here in my cluttered living room, carefully pondering my words, my head is throbbing and my stomach is churning. The events that have transpired over the past 27 hours and my friends' varied reactions to the news have sent my emotions on the longest, fastest, and most unpredictable roller coaster ride ever. The worst for me, admittedly, have been seeing friends slamming President Obama for having explained his part in completing the mission (and, semantics though it may be, he did have a significant role, in that he worked with diplomacy to get the information, worked with special forces to decide on a plan that would hopefully result in the fewest deaths possible, and signed off on the operations that succeeded; yes, Bush started it, but let's face it, he got a bit sidetracked by the Iraq war as the war with Al Qaeda got shunted to the side... but that's not my point, and this is why I don't often discuss politics on my blog even though I have very definite stances that make perfect sense to me). It just seems that so many people are determined to label him as a menace to society that even when he helps to accomplish what they'd been hoping and praying for to happen for the better part of a decade that they still have to find something to scream at him about.

I'm not going to ask them to stop [ahem... again]. It'd be a waste of breath, for one thing, and for another, I hate arguments. I appreciate diverse and friendly discourse that avoids the "I'm right, you're wrong" mentality, but what I'm talking about is not dialog--it's vitriol, and it's disgusting. And because I'm the personality type that I am (Myers-Brigg INFP/J, with a very strong Feeling classification (80%, consistently)), I take it all to heart and end up sick over it. This is not healthy or beneficial to anyone.

So, effective come tomorrow morning, with the exception of blog notifications and sharing links (neither of which requires actively logging on and seeing the NewsFeed), I'm at least temporarily off of Facebook. It may be permanent, but I'm not making a decision yet. I do know that while the insta-response environment is positive in many ways (such as spreading news and gaining support for good causes), it's also extremely detrimental in its absence of taking time to digest the information before reacting. Some reactions have already caused me to lose a lot of respect for people of whom I think highly. This may come across as judgmental on my part, but those words have enormous power, and when you say something, people are going to read and form opinions based on your word choice, and I'm only human in how well I can see your true person.

This is not an easy choice for me. I've been FBing since Facebook was a year old--back when it was for college students only, before "likes," before fan pages, before newsfeed, before status updates, before apps... heck, before albums! It's the one time I got on the bandwagon before it was one. And while those additions have had their good points, in recent months, it's seemed to spiral out of control. Some courteous dialog has come out of it, but more prevalently I've watched division increase, particularly among those with whom I share a faith (whether or not we agree on politics or even every point of doctrine). I'm in serious danger of becoming an angry cynic and sinking into depression (I have a bit of a tendency toward it to begin with, so it's a conscious effort to maintain my sense of wonder and joy in life).

I'm not deleting my account. I'll still read and respond to private messages, and as before, my posts will automatically appear on my wall, along with links I found interesting. I'm not logging in, though.  So, my friends, please keep in contact with me. Keep reading this blog (you can subscribe to the RSS feed, for example) for news and thoughts, email me occasionally when something happens in your life (if you're on my list, you should be able to see my email address), and feel free to text me (email me if you don't have my number; I do have unlimited data and messaging with my plan). Doing this is hard, because I've "refound" a lot of old friends and long-separated family members, and I dread losing contact with you. Please comment on the blog (not on FB, please... use the comments on the actual blog; I'd really appreciate it) when you have a response, even if it's just to say, "Hi, I'm still here reading and keeping in touch!"

For me, this is my effort to "restore unity" (a movement started this week by Rachel Held Evans, and about which I'll blog at least once in more depth). I'm stepping away from a source of frustration and snap judgments so that I can keep from dwelling on differences that divide (think partisanship and rigid theology with no room to simply share).

Good night, darling readers. I hope to hear from you soon.


LinzyMom24 said...

Nikki, I hate that I won't get to read your interesting fb posts anymore. I do agree that, regardless of our political points of view, this is definitely a time for unity. I don't think we should be rejoicing in someone's death, but celebrating justice being served. I look forward to reading your blog. : ) Take care!!

Meg B. said...

I understand your decision. You are not the first friend that has ended facebook for that very reason. I hope to keep in contact. I still think of you every day when I turn on Gilmore Girls at 4:00. :) Hugs to you, dear friend.

hippie_mama said...

The only news you're missing out on in my world is that Ryvre has started his own blog: http://ryvresblog.blogspot.com/ He would be thrilled if you followed him :)

SS said...

Love it!

I think you're on to something here. Facebook has become such a controversial and viral social disease. I, too, am giving serious thought to giving it up. I've seen people literally lose their jobs over spontaneous and destructive facebook posts. Some employers are requesting the user names and passwords of new applicants!

I suppose I take a different stance, however. It seems to me that the freedom of speech we once enjoyed on facebook--in its youthful, not-so-profitable college years-- has been transformed into a overbearing and over-exposed business tool. Additionally, I've noticed that users post less and are more politically correct in their posts, and I think such is out of fear of a backlash in their social and work lives.

I might add, however, that there is far lesser backlash in the status quo--trashing Obama--when one lives in such a political state.

Good luck with your blog.