Facebook fasting – experiment one

I’m on Facebook more than most people. I’ve made and lost friends there, rekindled long-lost friendships. Near the beginning of the year I decided that Facebook’s value may mainly be limited to both meeting up with and at the very least getting on the phone with people….and that there was something about the public “wall” dynamic that perhaps I did not like…and there was certainly something about a little red number telling me that I needed to respond in some way…that the little number in my email at work and my Facebook account containing some little slice of some of my nearest and dearest were merging…at this point maybe burned out, I launched this larger experiment at approximately 7PM Tuesday…to avoid FB until Friday AM – for about 50 hours.

So many other things that I wanted to do – reading Thomas Pynchon’s V, studying for an IT test, calling an old friend I had not seen since 1993 – so many thing fragmented and left on the side of a road – a road that only seemed to be about multitasking other people…when multitasking itself seems more and more a fiction of self-promotion and not an actual thing that can be done. …and then the deeper reality – my goals of health, career, love, happiness, art all may be affected as well.

Art – I originally came to FB to share my art, photos, music. What a terrible way to short-circuit my creativity by falling victim to being a feedback or attention sponge … These are very natural things to be sure but I believe that my growth as an artist and a human has been affected. I’m convinced that even this rambling post is a result of such distraction.

…and how can I multitask people…? I want to know them, love them…I’m not sure that there is an electronic substitute for what I’m calling “the eyebrow” – long knowing that I’ve hated long phone calls, now I also know that I need to see people’s eyebrows move to know and love them, for real. I love each and every one of my FB friends as much as is possible within that medium but it sure is a lonely world…what a lonely medium. I’ve lost touch with “the eyebrow.”

How can I avoid all the editing I’ve ever done in my head if I use a medium that allows me to perfectly edit my thoughts and send them? How can I grow? And how can I fully believe in what only amounts to edited slices of other people’s lives – is this worse than not knowing them on FB?

Experiment one today was to simply smile at everyone on the subway and while waiting at Penn Station – no one smiled back, many were on their phones – that’s all OK, I’m not trying to rack up numbers like so many Facebook friends…I’ll keep on trying.

I love my Facebook friends but I do hope that can understand that I need to do this for myself…and I do hope that if they really don’t notice that I can handle that too…

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