Today, when I awoke, I felt like something horrible had happened. There have been a few times in my life where I have woke up feeling dead inside. One recent example was when my beloved pet died a few years back. I was distraught and it was a very painful experience for me. There have been other times where I was a child or teenager, realizing that I had done something horrible.
However, when I woke up this morning, I just knew something awful had happened yesterday. For the first few seconds there is a type of waking peace and then, like a Peterbilt pulling a Boydstun stinger trailer, it hits you. It hits you hard. What happened? I searched in my mind, knowing that something sinister had happened. Oh yeah, I was on Facebook.
I relapsed in a way. I had permanently deleted my Facebook a month and a half ago, but my wife had only deactivated hers (which means she can log in and reactivate at any time). She has many of the same friends and family members on her Facebook that I had. Recently she was talking to her mother on the phone and her mom told her that her sister was finding some really interesting genealogy pictures on the internet. The only problem; this girl does not do anything outside of Facebook. So, in order to actually see the pictures that my wife's sister posted, my wife would have to log back onto Facebook. Now you are starting to understand the dilemma.
Well, she told me about it, and I understood. After all, if my wife wants to use Facebook, she is perfectly free to do so. And how could I not understand her want to? It was the only way she would get to see the genealogy pictures. So, last night she logged on and went to look for the pictures. Well, I look over to see she's on Facebook and right there in the middle is something my mother said. I don't know what Sigmund Freud would say about this, but I rushed to the screen, and clicked frantically on my mother's picture/profile. I just had to see everything that this person -- my mother -- was doing lately. I scanned through her profile, reading every word she had typed, furiously wondering what I had missed. I was like a crack fiend grabbing at my next fix. Facebook truly is an addiction, and I seriously question anyone who says that it isn't or can not be.
Well, feeling quite dirty, and somewhat embarassed, I let my wife look at the pictures of her family's past. She found it mildly entertaining that I rushed to see what my mother had been up to. She said I should post about it, so here I am, confessing to the world of my dirty deed. Giving up Facebook is no easy task. I am constantly reminded about how society seems to want everyone on the site. You are told that you are missing out on the lives of other people if you are not on the site. Looking at my mother's profile, I honestly felt like I have dropped off the face of the planet. Neither my wife nor I are mentioned in anyone's posts. We are pretty much removed from everyone's lives. In fact, my wife was upset that her sister was recently passed by New York City(she lives in the state of Washington) the other day and didn't even call to tell her that she was in the area. Had the tables been turned, my wife would have been on the receiving end of a very hateful phone call and possible family feud would have erupted. Further, my wife knows deep down inside that had she been on Facebook she might have got a visit. If you are not on Facebook, it truly seems like you are forgotten or passed over. It truly is sad.
In the end, I was glad I was not on Facebook. I felt so nasty just for looking at the site. I am always perplexed at how people feel the need to share every small part of their life. I don't need to see my sister-in-law say over and over again "I am going to start being real. I am going to start being myself and not care what anyone else thinks". I don't need to feel 'connected' to the world via the internet. Again, I want to reiterate that it is not a real connection. Why would I want to be involved online with someone who ignores my existence when I am offline?
I asked my wife if she missed being on Facebook. She said she misses the idea of what it could be, but realizes it is different than how she would like to imagine it. It's a bragging contest where everyone is, in the end, only bragging to themselves. In all honesty, I am reminded at how glad I am to have left the site, and I am reminded how easy it is to be pulled back. Good riddance.