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We’ll Always Have Messenger #MondayBlogs #ILoatheFacebook

A few days ago I took a Texas chainsaw to my Facebook friend list. I was teetering on a tipping point, the same tipping point that I’ve been balancing myself on for a few years now. I’ve come to loathe Facebook. Yet I still use it. Every time I decide that now is the time to delete my account and be done with it, someone I really really like sends me a Friend Request. And I simply can’t refuse.

But there are friends and there are … “friends.” For a long time the majority of my Facebook friends were family members, mostly cousins. Now, the thing about my cousins is that we are quite diverse, not just geographically but politically. Yeah, you know where this is going.

Shortly after Trump was elected I witnessed emotionally charged arguments on Facebook between cousins, people who were otherwise close and affectionate with each other. For some reason, people just had to weigh in if a cousin shared a news story or a meme that they didn’t like. Rather than just move on and leave the bickering to others, they would jump in with both feet. Being fairly thin-skinned myself, I was shocked and saddened by what I read (and, yes, I often made the mistake of participating). We had all been on Facebook for years and yet everyone, including myself, seemed surprised at how quickly these “disagreements” could escalate. Eventually everyone settled down, went back to their silos, probably turning off the “Follow” button so they could still be Facebook friends but not view whatever was going on in their friends’ or cousins’ lives.

Let’s fast-forward a little bit. There was the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Plenty of evidence all around that Facebook was in the business of making money first and protecting users’ data … like never. We all got through that.

The political roller-coaster that our country is in continued, with motion-sickness pills being passed around and people slowly becoming numbed and adding insulation to their silos.

Then Kavanaugh. Need I say more?

All along I’ve been hating Facebook. I try to make it work for me but it never does. I follow and unfollow people, frustrated that I might miss some important family news when I don’t follow and then being inundated with memes and news items when I do follow. (By the way, I don’t get my news from Facebook. Just sayin’.) I’m constantly manipulating my so-called news feed so it doesn’t keep showing me the same darn post over and over again because once I’ve pretty much unfollowed everyone, all that is left are … knitting ads.

Back to Kavanaugh. I started losing my balance on the tipping point when a couple of cousins noted that they didn’t believe Dr. Ford. Fine, but who cares? Well, I care. Bigly. And the element of snickering snarkiness in the comments decided it for me. My life is simply too short for this kitty poop. So, you say, simply unfollow the person who made the post and the people who commented on it. Not so easy, because you see, I am my own worst enemy when it comes to Facebook. As another cousin described it, Facebook is like driving by the scene of an accident. You really shouldn’t look but you can’t help yourself.

I totally lost my balance when I saw this article in the Washington Post:

Interestingly, the Facebook account of another relative of mine was hacked into a few weeks ago. He wasn’t the only victim. Many people associated with his account got a message presumedly from him, only it wasn’t. I was one of those people. What might affect 50 million users directly exponentially affects a thousand times more.

With that, I revved my Texas chainsaw and unfollowed every one of my cousins. I didn’t want to play favorites. I didn’t want someone coming after me one day and saying “I always knew you liked so-and-so better.” And I love my cousins, really I do. I just don’t want to be Facebook friends anymore. We were cousins long before Facebook, long before Mark Zuckerberg himself was born. We’re still cousins. We’re still family. We don’t need Facebook.

I haven’t deleted my account. I belong to a couple of writing organizations that are pretty active on Facebook so I want to stay in for a while, at least to see if being involved in those groups is worth my time.

But if any of my cousins happens to read this, just remember, we will always have Messenger. And if you want my phone number, you can always call my mom.

Categories: Facebook

Tagged as:

Marie A Bailey

Writer, blogger, knitter, cat lover, and introvert.

24 replies

  1. I didn’t have your courage – I couldn’t unfriend my family members (and they were all family members when I did some thinning) – but I certainly unfollowed them. All for the same reasons – when I kept seeing things about Dr. Ford lying I knew I couldn’t do this any more. Facebook and I have a love/hate relationship – it’s how I keep in touch with some old friends – I wish I had the courage to just delete my account completely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am still FB friends with a sister and her three sons. I’m not ready to go cold turkey 😉. I do think more people would unfriend FB friends if they thought they could do it without repercussions. That’s one of the things I hate about FB: the platform is designed to guilt you into keeping your account. That’s why I still have one 🙃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. FB is a scourge, really. I ‘unfriended’ a couple of US blog-friends due to incompatible political views (this was in the pre-Trump days). It is a big move to prune heavily, but hopefully good for your inner compass. Well done. Now if only – as Pamela B says above – we all had the gumption to delete our accounts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Scourge is the right word. I also like the idea that I “pruned heavily.” That really captures how I felt. And, yes, I feel better for it. One cousin already reached out to me, asking that I just don’t lose her phone number. See — we don’t need FB 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s interesting. I got on FB 10 years ago when my oldest son turned 13 and got an account. Primarily just to see what this thing was all about. Over the years, it has been an interesting way to keep in touch with family members who I don’t see that often, and friends as well. But over the last year or two it has become pretty meaningless. My FB “friends” don’t do much political stuff on FB and the few that did, I either just ignore or I’ve unfriended — in the case of the ones who are members of the crazy right.
    I check FB every day, but there is rarely anything of interest there anymore. Just stupid videos and memes and occasional pictures from the memory gallery. It is the most meaningless social media site I still check in on.
    I think of ending my FB adventure, but why bother. It’s there if I need it, but I hardly spend any time there.
    Twitter has replaced FB for me — and it’s funny. Most of the people I follow on Twitter and who I engage in a conversation with are true “social media” friends. They are not people I met outside of social media.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I started about 10 years ago too when a nephew’s wife started posting family photos there. I was hesitant but really wanted to see those photos. At first it was fun connecting with other family members. Not any more. And you’re right, there really isn’t anything useful on FB. No matter how many pages I like, the same four or five posts keep coming up. So I have make the effort to go directly to a page (say, an author’s page) if I want to see their latest posts. I can’t seem to control my FB news feed, so I spend less time there and am more frustrated when I do go there 😬

      Liked by 1 person

  4. WOW! good for you for doing something so “major” and fair, too!! I totally understand about Facebook. It gives me a lot of anxiety. I can’t deal with constant politics anyway as it is a real trigger for anxiety and my need to hibernate. But to see people being mean to each other, etc. It’s all too much. Plus there are lots of other anxieties about FB. Why am I still on it? It’s the only way to keep in contact with so many, and then there is the writing aspect and the animal rescue aspect. YIKES. What a catch-22 it is!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Good for you, Marie! I’ve come to loathe Facebook as well. I have thought about deleting my account too. Instead I decided to limit my usage of it to 5 minutes a few times a week–always on the PC and never on my phone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I have an author page too, which keeps me tied to FB. I like Twitter a lot. Of course, I’m not connected to any of my family members on Twitter 😉


  6. I’m quite like you. I’m not fond of Facebook, and very seldom post anything on it but, taking yourself as an example, I have connected with quite a number of people through blogging and having them as FB friends just seems to add a little more depth colour and reality to the connection or friendship and I genuinely value that, so I just hang in there as best I can.

    Funnily enough, through my blog, I have come across people with political opinions at such odds to my own or those I meet in daily life, that I have been shocked but it goes to show that people can still be nice and kind yet think differently to you. That’s what I tell myself anyway !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most of my FB friends now are also my blogging friends which I’m comfortable with. Maybe in a blogging environment people are more civil? It just seems that on FB disagreements get ugly fast. I know it can happen on blogs too. I was invited to share a political on a new platform a few years ago. Thinking it would be like WordPress, I agreed. It was pretty awful. I removed my post and account as soon as I could. People can disagree and still be civil and respectful of other points of view. Just not so much on FB 😏

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, John. It has been a disappointment. I can’t blame it all on FB. People don’t have to have virtual fistfights but FB does make it too easy for them to do that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Facebook has made those painful, but short, family get-togethers an everyday thing. There’s disagreeing with cousin Pete over stuffing and turkey and then there’s having to deal with it during your lunch break! I hope you’re able to find a balance, Marie. I quit social media for about six months a while back and while it was wonderful, I came back on board because it really is an easy way to reach people and keep in contact.

    But I’m with most folks here–prefer Twitter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, Phillip! Maybe part of the problem is people are too connected too much of the time. Eventually we get on each other’s nerves 😉 I like the idea of taking a hiatus. When I went on vacation, some of my friends were disappointed when I said I wasn’t going to share photos on FB real time. I was like, what part of vacation don’t you understand?


  8. I don’t mind Facebook, but I have mine totally locked down. It won’t even show up in search engines, and only friends of friends can send me friend requests. I’ve culled my friendships a good number of times and hover at 230 friends right now. However, I’ve taken to unfollowing people rather than unfriending them now that my numbers are back down. I was friends with a lot of former students, but at the end of the day, I’m just not that interested in daily lives. I have also indicated whose posts I want to see first in my feed, so that helps keep content relevant as well. I’d never tell my brother-in-law I unfollowed him, but he by far had the most ridiculous conservative posts ever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have little willpower. I had unfollowed all my cousins but still went to their pages to see what was new. Since I couldn’t control my voyeurism, I decided on the chainsaw. Absence might make the heart grow fonder but I won’t accept any friend requests if they pop up. My news feed is pretty useless. I’ve unfollowed or unliked so many pages I don’t think FB knows what to do with me 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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