The Facebook Diet
©2016 by Ilona Elliott
I decided to go on a diet. I’ve been feeling pretty bottom heavy lately–weighted down you might say. So I deactivated my Facebook account yesterday. I’m on a Facebook Diet.
I can’t tell you how much better I feel today. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even grind my teeth and thrash around in bed all night. I didn’t have any memorable nightmares either. I didn’t lay awake for hours with a clenched jaw and deep trepidation creeping around me in the dark room. It was awesome.
I know plenty of people who can participate in regular Facebook activity and not appear to be negatively affected by it.They manage to resist the pull into political postures and calls to social activism and just post their thoughts on recipes, movies and books, sharing clever little inspirational messages and photos of their pets, food and family. They have figured out how to use the social media tool without being injured by it. Maybe they have access to some kid of OSHA handbook that I’m not privy to? They keep it light and airy and on the surface and seem, at least from a distance, to maintain a healthy attitude. They might occasionally allude to the war zone that is the world around them, but even then it’s as if they are observing things that have about as much affect on them as something they saw in a movie or read in a book.
Sometimes I wish that were me too. I wish I could just skim along the surface of things enjoying the ride and not get bogged down by the man eating sharks lurking slightly below that smooth surface. Some of the people I know who can do this have had to learn the hard way, usually through years of therapy and spiritual work, and others just seem to have been born more buoyant and positive than the rest of us. They’ve spent their entire lives bobbing around life happily like wine corks in a punch bowl full of acid. Amazing.
And then there are the folks who seem to get off on stirring things up and eliciting as much negative response as they possibly can from their Facebook “friends.” Reading their posts and threads is like stepping into the ring with a bunch of heavy weights tasked with fighting it out to the death. But it’s only social media. So nobody gets down for the count. And the fight never stops. It’s pretty exhausting.
I signed up for Facebook as a way to get in touch with family and friends in far away places, which includes pretty much everyone I know, and stay caught up with them. It offered a convenient way to see what everyone was up to. And it started out fine. But for me, the temptations to veer into the meatier territory of social media were great. When it comes to my world view and how I choose to live, I’m an Omnivore. I want it all. My curious nature wants to hear what everyone is saying and chew on stuff and try to extract the truth and formulate my own opinion based on personal values and experience. And of course I want to share my thoughts because I put a lot of energy into them and I think they’re good solid thoughts.
That is a dangerous thing to do on social media. A lot of people don’t like their political observations questioned. A lot of people are not interested in the other side of things for the sake of civil discourse or conversation or debate. We don’t debate politics anymore. We argue them. We have become a partisan over politicized community of name calling adolescents–Rethuglicans and Libtards. Wow! How enlightening.
I signed up for Facebook seeking connection and thoughtful intellectual intercourse. What I found instead is a sense of just how divided and intellectually lazy we have become. Each of the major political parties seems to be suffering from a Jesus complex–“You’re either for us or against us.” And while I resist the temptation to deify the party that best represents my views and demonize the other, I have been guilty of pummeling a candidate or two. And that was never my original intent.
So for the time being I’m on a Facebook Diet. I am not engaging in Facebook activity. At least until after the election. We will see how it goes. Already I feel liberated and lighter. Actually, I’m committed to a very restricted diet of political news and commentary overall.
Who knows, I might just lose a few pounds of attitude.