What keeps you shackled to Facebook?

Many people now find themselves struggling over whether or not this social media empire is worth the time, irritation and risks that accompany it.

From a personal standpoint, my reasoning revolved around the need to know what’s going on with people — at all times. Often this translates into what they’re eating for lunch, though sometimes you discover milestone life events of others that you may not have learned about without the help of it.

Years ago I could hardly fathom any person not being plugged into the social media network. It was revolutionary, it helped you reconnect with lost friends and acquaintances, it was your daily dose of humor and a chance to learn about events that interested you.

Over time I have accrued a list of Facebook friends so large that I’m unable to give you an answer as to how I know all of them or where I met them — if at all.

We’ve all experienced moments of wishing we weren’t so drawn to it — being flooded with heartbreaking stories that you otherwise wouldn’t be subjected to. Getting into arguments resulting in irreparable friendships. Even seeing an ex you’re still fighting to get over. We allow it to sacrifice time we could spend interacting with others in real-life, in a meaningful, genuine way.

Last night was a wake up moment for me. What comes as a blessing and a curse is my ability to befriend people from all walks of life, who have different belief systems and are generally people you would never want in the same room together. I’ve always been this way and I’ve learned how to handle it. Last night I posted an article in relation to Anonymous leaking a list of KKK members. While I have no control over what comes from posting something — I had no intention (or capacity to believe) it would turn into something with over 100 replies — with a few even defending those in the leaked list (those friends aren’t necessarily racists — but they love to argue). While I could have swallowed the rather animated thread of differing opinions, what got to me was how quickly it escalated into name-calling and downright hatred between friends who would otherwise never dream of speaking to each other.

As the post went on, I found myself desperately rushing to respond to friends and family not involved in the conversation who were “liking” my responses. I couldn’t help but apologize for them having seen it.

After much thought I find myself wanting to rid myself of it once and for all. Why do we need it?

My current justifications aren’t much different from what they were at the beginning. Staying in touch and reconnecting with old friends, learning what others have been up to. But is it worth it?

I have not deleted my profile. This will take some thinking and strategizing on my part — but I plan to do something. Perhaps I will find a way to separate personal (and sometimes inappropriate) from what an employer or family is able to see. An alias perhaps. Maybe I’ll delete it altogether (gulp). What I do know is that negativity from others on a daily basis does serious harm to your psyche and outlook on life. It isn’t worth it. If a person cares enough to want your friendship, they will reach out by other means.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and how you may have tackled this issue. And for those of you without accounts — I salute you, don’t get sucked in by creating one now.

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