I'm going to take a break from Facebook for a while...at least, most of it. I'm not sure for how long, but for a while anyway.
I've been on f/book for a couple of years now. At the beginning it was about wanting another connection point with my nephews, who live at a distance from me. But gradually over time I accumulated some 'friends' and joined a number of groups dedicated to adoption, homeschooling, and unschooling. For the most part, f/book for me has been about my nephews, and maintaining a level of currency about issues people are talking about in the circles that I'm interested in. Until the past two or three months, my f/book feed was something I checked out every few days or on the weekend.
But my nephews have largely moved to different forms of social media, so that reason for my being on f/book is no longer particularly relevant. And over the past few months, I have found myself becoming more and more drawn to 'checking' my news feed, to the point where I often go onto f/book a few times per day...a big increase for me. It's rare that my presence there lasts longer than a few minutes, but it began to feel a little obsessive to me recently, and I don't like knowing that time spent on f/book is time spent away from the things right here in my real life.
All of this has been percolating with me for a number of months already.
And then there was the straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back thing that made me realize that I really don't need most of the stuff on f/book filling my mind and creating anxiety in me: It suddenly dawned on me, after several less-than-pleasant occurrences, that I mostly don't like the way people talk to each other on f/book.
Have you ever noticed that when a f/book conversation starts to go downhill, it suddenly snowballs very quickly into an insane battle of insults, name-calling, sarcasm, innuendo, and other shame-inducing tactics? Often in the name of education or research or general know-it-all-ness, commenters feel free to say whatever they want, however they want to say it and it can get just nasty and not at all respectful...it's online bullying...and I really, really don't like it. These comments are also often pedantic, which I find tiresome. There seems to be little tolerance for differing views, at least in some of the circles I move about in on f/book, and how people 'talk' to each other about those differing views is really discouraging.
Would we really say some of these things if we were face to face with these people we purport to be friends with?
I rarely comment on f/book anymore because when I do it's often on a subject that I feel rather strongly about and about which I usually have a differing opinion than the masses...and I am more than a little tired of being trounced upon because of this. It's made me a little gun shy, I guess. I am astounded by how folks take one of my comments and go on to make wild assumptions about my intentions or meaning, and then proceed to 'call me out' based on their apparently-researched-but-really-rather-unoriginal-and-completely-wrong-about-me perspectives.
I sign off of f/book on those occasions thinking "what? How did THAT happen?" My inner responses to these encounters have fluctuated between astonishment, amusement, horror, and puzzlement. I'm a pretty decent communicator, for the most part, and yet I end up leaving those encounters feeling anxious, misunderstood, and resentful...and that does not translate into a rested or happy Ruth around the house here. Just writing these things here makes my blood boil just a little.
When I recently offered a comment that pleaded with people to be more respectful of different views (not even my own views in that case, but I was feeling very badly for others who were being trounced for their views...which I didn't agree with either, incidentally), that didn't go over well either. I found it interesting that, in response to my plea, one commenter asked whether I really thought that we should be respectful back towards people who have already been disrespectful towards us (I forget the precise wording, as the thread of conversation was, appropriately, removed shortly thereafter). The tone of his/her question was incredulous - as if of course we have a right to be rude and disrespectful back to someone who's already treated us in that manner.
I have thought long and hard about that question: Should we be expected to be respectful in how we treat others who have been disrespectful (insulting, even) towards us??
And my answer, in direct contrast to what I've been observing on f/book, is yes. A resounding yes, in fact. Just because someone says something rude or insulting towards me doesn't take away the choice that I have about how I will respond. That commenter's incredulous question reinforced my goal: That I will attempt to be respectful even in the face of those who disagree with me or who are rude towards me. I have a choice about how to conduct myself and, despite my own failures at times, my goal is, yes, to be respectful of others regardless of their treatment of me.
For all of these reasons, I'm going to be mostly off of f/book for the time being, taking a break...maybe a short one, maybe an extended one. There are two h/schooling and u/schooling groups that I continue to find helpful and supportive and so I will likely continue with those periodically, but otherwise, I need to simply stop for a while. It's not what I need to fill my head with, and I have enough stress in my life without being drawn consciously and unnecessarily into additional anxiety-producing issues.