My Facebook Semi-Retirement:

Andrea Toole
Jan 7, 2019 · 9 min read

The synchronicity of WTF?

Image credit: TeroVesalainen, Pixabay

On January 3 I published this story:

In the last five days or so I’ve assessed how I feel about Facebook and its use. It’s an ongoing assessment. I’ve collected some observations. I considered updating Less Facebook, More Personal Connection with new thoughts but on January 5 chose to begin a journal-style update to be drafted over several weeks.

As I began, I looked back on the previous days. I shared an experience that I’d had earlier that day that validated the feelings I’d shared about social media, and Facebook in particular.

And I typed, and I typed, and… I realized that the section had outgrown that Story. So, here it is, in its own post with images and what started as “a few more” words. It’s an excellent followup to start with.

Here’s a little tangent about me and podcasts:

I like educational podcasts. I like entertainment podcasts. I rarely listen to the educational ones because I tend to listen to podcasts while I’m out walking the dog or doing other things away from my computer. Educational podcasts often make me want to stop to take notes, which is not so convenient when I’m not at my computer. Still, I sometimes do it.

This was the case yesterday as I listened to the Highest Self Podcast: Modern Spirituality + Ayurveda hosted by Sahara Rose while I was setting up the restaurant to open.

As Sahara spoke about the Vata Dosha and why multitasking is a bad idea I realized that I was multitasking. Every time she said something I wanted to note I paused what I was doing to scribble in a notepad on the bar. So, I took Sahara’s advice. I closed her podcast.

For my after-work walk, I opened Marc’s latest WTF episode because the format of his podcasts is an opening monologue followed by an interview. Podcast listening happens mostly on walks for me.

I like interview podcasts because I don’t have to give them 100% of my attention. I don’t feel the need to take notes.

Except for this time.

I often skip over Marc‘s monologues or fast forward through them. His musings are often observations about his life, and sometimes they don’t interest me. Sometimes they do. Fair enough, right?

The musings that Marc recorded to go with his interview with Seth MacFarlane were about why he left social media. This monologue is relevant to my life right now.

I took a few notes on my phone but there so much that I connected with, that I couldn’t quickly capture it all. It needed more listens. I turned this one off too so I could play it again later with undivided attention.

When I got home, I downloaded a transcription app and transcribed the part of Marc’s monologue in which he explains why he has distanced himself from social media. I tweeted this.

As promised in that tweet, here are some parts of the transcription along with my comments. I’ve slightly edited it to remove filler words and stuttering and added emphasis where appropriate.

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash
  1. On the emotional need to disconnect from social media

The main problem with me and that stuff is that I don’t have the wiring. I don’t have the organic personal boundary technology within my machine that enables me to not be affected on some level by, you know, garbage and bullshit dumped into my Twitter feed.

I’d like to be over it. I’d like to be able to just roll with it, but maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe I don’t need to be numb that way.

YES! The good and the bad and the bullshit. The arguing rather than debating. The narrow-mindedness. The fact that on social media, people are telling each other what they should be offended by and shaming those who don’t take offence. The shaming in general. There’s a lack of harmony. People who claim to be against bullying act like bullies. There’s so much lack of acceptance. There’s so much, “I disagree with you, you’re wrong. I’m going to ‘unfriend’ you”, which I don’t see as a real threat. If you have fundamental disagreements with someone that makes them not want to associate with you, fine. Unless you’re a terrible person, it’s probably their loss anyway, and you don’t need someone like that in your life. Except that this is Facebook, and so most of the people aren’t really in your life, which is a whole other issue altogether.

Also, the comparison. Comparing your life to the lives of those you see online is garbage and bullshit too. There is so. much. bullshit. There is so much good stuff too (if you’re not following Jameela Jamil on Twitter, you should be) but there is so much time-sucking bullshit.

Facebook — and all other social media channels — can be emotionally draining. Things that happen on Facebook give me more to rant about. True, they inspire articles like these (everyone and everything can be a teacher), but I need to take back my energy.

I don’t think that I have the wiring either.

Oh, and I do have The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck on deck in my library e-books. I don’t know how that one’s different from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, which has been on my radar for years.

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

2. On choosing where to spend time, on slowing down

Closely connected to that is the need to take back my time:

Maybe that’s it. I’m going to try to figure out what we do with real time. Time, time. Just time away from that engagement with the speed of technology, just pummeling our brains all the time — is what I’ve been thinking about.

YES! I want to slow down. I want to absorb information. I want to take back my time. As I said in the original post, my time away from Facebook has been the most productive. Instead of reading Facebook on my phone, I write and I read books. I recently rediscovered that you can borrow library books to read online. Visit the app store for your device and search for OverDrive or Libby. They’re both by OverDrive but Libby has a different interface and slightly different features, including the ability to pause holds.

Now, I probably sometimes use Facebook to procrastinate, but even when I’m not specifically procrastinating, that time is often better spent elsewhere. We all choose what we prioritize. The excuse, “I don’t have time” often means, “It’s not a priority”.

Every day we’re faced with a shit-ton of stimuli and several potential triggers. Leaving social media, or minimizing use, mitigates that and their effects.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

3. On living life on your own terms, not technology’s, and the potentially impersonal nature of maintaining interpersonal relationships online.

Immediately following that, he launches into this great stuff, which nails what I said about wanting real connection in my previous post:

This is some of the stuff I want to do in New Year’s: Spend more time with human beings; spend more time with my own thoughts; process things at a regular pace, not at the pace demanded of me by how fast it comes in through my phone or my computer. Think about shit at my own speed. I don’t even know if my brain can do that anymore. Yeah, my life is good, things are okay, but do I have any friends? Where have all my friends gone? Have I talked to anybody recently? Is texting talking? Is seeing somebody on Twitter, knowing what they’re up to, is that talking? Have I sat down with people?

So much this.

As I said above about Facebook, most of the people following you on social media aren’t really in your life.

Then Marc says that most of his social life outside of his personal life happens when he’s creating his podcast.

So, it’s work-social time, which isn’t the same thing.

Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

4. Real relationships take effort.

And then it takes effort. Gotta start inviting people over for dinner. I just want to get back to flesh and blood relationships with human beings. And then you got to plan that stuff.

He tells a story about starting a text message conversation with his friend David Cross after looking at the list of contacts in his phone. He ends that story with this:

So now that was me, you know, talking to my old friend, but that might be all I talk to him for maybe six months to a year, and I just started thinking, and this is part of the resolution thing, you know, where are they? Who are they?

And then it takes effort. Gotta start inviting people over for dinner. I just want to get back to flesh and blood relationships with human beings. And then you got to plan that stuff.

And then it takes effort.
Flesh and blood relationships with human beings.
You got to plan that stuff.

And this is a crucial part of my resolution for spending more quality time with those I care about. One thing I’ve noticed in the last few pieces of writing I’ve done: The theme of connection — real, authentic connection — has come up a lot. I didn’t choose a theme for 2019, but clearly, one chose me. I’ll address this again in a subsequent article.

Who do I want in my life? Who do I want to connect with? Whom do I miss? Who are some of my favourite people that I’ve socialized with in the past? Are there acquaintances I want to be closer to? Are there friendships that have naturally lapsed that I want to get back? Maybe I need to make a list. I’ll certainly be cutting down my Facebook “friends” list.

Pruning my list will allow me to focus more energy on where I want it focused.

If I were to continue using Facebook as a method to stay up-to-date on people’s lives, I’d need to either one, prune my list so that I can spend my energy on those that can thrive, rather than the dead relationships (or those that never really were); or two, completely unfollow anyone who wasn’t a friend but whom I stay connected to for business and networking reasons. They’d all have to go on a limited profile list.

A combination thereof is a likely scenario, but I’ll report back on that.

And that’s pretty much it. His monologue about social media does continue, but it talks about the expectation that people have of him to offer an opinion about things he doesn’t want to comment on and the dumb-ass questions (“dumb-ass” is my word) people ask.

I’m just a regular person and not a celebrity, but I can somewhat relate to that part:

I want to choose whom I spend time with and when. I don’t want people I barely know, or strangers, to think they have access to me that friends do. It’s why I have several “Friend Lists” on Facebook.

This is what bothered me about someone I’ve met very few times but know nothing about coming to see me at the wrong time to ask me about my coaching program.

I can’t imagine the responsibility that people have once they reach a degree of popularity. I sympathize. Some of my favourite people have been navigating through this for years. I know well-known people. Not Maron level of notoriety, but well known. I realize that it’s a risk you take for doing what you love and being successful. I suppose that the expectations and pressures drive some people into a dangerous place. (Because I’ve listened to the monologue several times, I’m thinking in his cadence as I type.)

So — That was six minutes of good shit that I distilled down to nearly 700 words (+ my commentary).

Andrea Toole

Written by

Digital Marketing Manager | Freelance Writer | Available for hire. I mostly separate my ‘Jew’ from ‘Woo’.

Andrea Toole

Written by

Digital Marketing Manager | Freelance Writer | Available for hire. I mostly separate my ‘Jew’ from ‘Woo’.

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