Sunday, February 3, 2013

Kicking the Facebook Habit

I realize it’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything on this blog.  If this blog even had any followers, I imagine they are probably long gone.  The truth is, it just seemed like such a hassle to upload photos and commentary on here when I could so easily post pictures to facebook with just a touch of my iphone.  Ah…yes…..Facebook.  How you've changed my life…..and not for the better.   You’d think that having instant access to hundreds of my “friends” would be wonderful.  And yet, it totally sucks.  This past week, I deactivated my account (which isn’t saying a whole lot since you can pretty much re-activate it whenever you want.)  Hopefully, this will help me to stop wasting so much time and do a better job of keeping up with our family blog.  Of course, judging by the single post in 2012, you can see that my track record isn’t very good - so I make no promises. 

When you are deactivating your account, Facebook shows you pictures of all your friends and asks “Are you sure you want to leave?  Susan will miss you.  Jonathan will miss you. Etc.”  It reminded me of the episode of Friends where Chandler tries desperately to quit the gym but keeps getting roped back in by all the hot girls!  The whole experience had a strange, cult-like feeling about it, as if they were saying “No, don’t leave.  We want you.  We love you.  We'll even save your information in case you change your mind.”  Before you leave, Facebook  asks you to provide your reason for leaving in the commentary box.  I wrote “Because Facebook makes me hate all of my friends.” That may sound harsh, but it is 100% true.  I realize I am guilty of some the following offenses, but it’s my blog, so I’ll do the complaining here.   I recently read an article 20 Things YourMost Annoying Friends Do on Facebook.  I've been thinking a lot about my own list of things-that-bug-the-crap-outta-me.  So here goes:

Facebook - How do I Hate Thee….Let Me Count the Ways:

1. Mom’s who post things like this: “Oh I just can’t imagine how I’d ever survive without my AMAZING housekeeper!  I’m off to my mani/pedi and then to do some retail therapy!”  I am so happy for you that you can afford not to work, all while being able to afford help for your amazing house and maintain your well-kept appearance.  I am lucky if I put on a bra in the morning, much less fingernail polish.  Of course, why bother with the nail polish since it would only come off from washing the dishes about 20 times a day.  Perhaps now you can see how reading about your expensive daily excursions really kind of pisses me off. 
2. The overshare: “Poor Benjamin hasn’t pooped all day.  When he finally went, he pooped through his diaper and all over the crib! Who knew corn looks the same coming out as it does going in! Hee hee!”  Nope.  We have enough poop in our home thank-you-very-much.   Yes, your kids may be darling, but no one cares what they ate for breakfast or when they napped, or when they made a poopy.  I don't go around telling folks the details of my last dump, so why do we feel it is ok to share so much information about our children's bodily functions? Spare us the details.
3. People who post political rants: “I just can’t believe there are IDIOTS out there who voted for THAT guy!  When will the other side realize how stupid they are?  We should line em' all up and run em' over!" Did it ever occur to you that you actually may have friends who didn't vote for the same person?  And when you insult a specific group of people, you are actually insulting those people as well.  I make no secret of my political beliefs.  But I don’t call others stupid for disagreeing with me.  While I’m at it, when you disagree with someone, you can’t just call them Hitler and leave the conversation.  Learn some other historical figures for pete’s sake! 
4. The sympathy card: “Ya’ll, please pray for me.  My best friends’, husband’s, sister-in law’s son MIGHT have cancer!  I’m just beside myself!”  Let me be clear - I’m really not cold and heartless.  I do actually pray for sick people.  But too often it feels as if folks just really really want you to feel sorry for them.  I’m not saying these people are lying, but it seems to me that most people who are in serious need of prayer are the ones who will never post their problems for all the world to see.  No more pity parties!  
5. Conspiracy theories:  “OMG!  I heard that Obama installed an electric chair in the White House! What do ya’ll think he does with that?!”  Seriously folks, if it sounds too ridiculous to be true, it probably is.  The fact that so many of my facebook friends continue to believe myths that have been disproved multiple times leads me to seriously question their intelligence.  Not only do you really seem to believe that Elvis might be alive or that the moon landing never happened or that the Sandy Hook Massacre was an elaborate hoax, you have now chosen to share your suspicions with a few hundred people who now know just how nuts you really are. 
6. Reposts:  “If you love your mom, copy and re-paste.”  Of course I love my mom, but I detest spam.  Seriously – just stop.
7. Swooning over all the amazing things your “hubby” does for you:   Let it be known that I also hate the word “hubby” or “the hubs.”  My husband would kill me if I ever referred to him as either.  He doesn’t send me flowers because we both agree it is a bad investment since they die so quickly.  Yes – I know this is totally un-romantic, but I’m married to a CPA.  When he does decide to surprise me with something, it is usually food – which I totally prefer.  (At least it is the gift that keeps on giving right?)  I have made the mistake of talking about my husband in facebook posts in the past, and it really bothered him.  Not because he ever logged on to read what I wrote, but because so many people approached him in person about the said post.  He was like "Why did you tell everyone I don't like biscuits and gravy?!  People keep asking me what  the hell is wrong with me!"  Lesson learned.
8. #imnotcoolenoughtoknowwhatthehellthismeans
9. Evasive posts: “We are going to have some big news coming soon!”  Really?  You really just announced that you are going to be making an announcement?  Are you pregnant? Are you moving?  Damn you!  The anticipation is killing me!!!
10.  The self portrait.  Did you really have to take this photo of yourself in the mirror? You  have pretty much just announced to the world that you have no friends since not a single creature with opposable thumbs likes you well enough to take your picture!

These all seem like pretty harsh criticisms, but the worst thing about facebook is actually a criticism of myself.  Here is total honesty: Despite all the aforementioned reasons for hating social media, I hate myself even more for my obsession with it.  It was like I had to log on just to see what ridiculous things my friends were posting that day.  I just had to know what so-and-so did or what so-and –so thought.  It got to the point where I was wasting entirely too much time caring about the day-to-day first world problems and concerns of all my friends – who, let’s be honest, are mostly mere acquaintances anyway.   I realized that it completely tarnished whatever good opinion I had once held of the people that had come into my life.  I had always thought that if I ever happened to bump into someone from my past, I would want to remember that person the way they were the last time I saw them.  Instead, now when I run into a former Facebook friend in the middle of the grocery store, I fear I’ll only be thinking “This person once “shared” a picture of a sweet potato in the shape of a penis.  How can I be friends with this person?!”

And yet, I couldn’t stop checking my newsfeed.     Like an addiction to smoking, I had my favorite times of  the day to indulge…after breakfast, during the girls' naptime, after lunch, before bed.  Eventually, it begged the question “Why do I care?  What does it say about me if I can't go a single day without knowing what all my few hundred friends are doing?” So you see, the problem was really mine to begin with.  I am totally prone to addictions.  I always joke with Brent that it’s a good thing we don’t gamble because I would be in a lot of trouble! (I can’t even control myself at the arcade at Chuck E Cheese)  Having so much information at the tips of my fingers is a huge responsibility.  Just because I have the opportunity to know something about someone doesn’t mean I should!  Finding a balance between social media, and other online distractions is really really hard.  If it’s this hard for me as an adult, I can’t imagine how hard it will be for my kids.  I’m not looking forward to fighting that battle with them. 

Now before you start telling me how judgmental I am, (a fault to which I already freely admit) I do realize that I have not always been a model Facebok user myself.   And please know that I do actually like keeping up with my family and friends.  I just don’t care to know what my cousin-twice-removed had for lunch, much less see a photo of the kidney stone she just passed.  And so it is that I return to the family blog to keep in touch.  Most that read this are family anyway, so you know pretty much all there is to know about me, warts and all.  I hope this will be a place where we can continue to post photos of our family and be able to see some of yours.  We have a pretty great life here in Texas.  It's time to start enjoying it to the fullest instead of trying to keep up with the minute day-to-day details of a few hundred acquaintances.  Love you all!


amber malmberg said...

That was an absolutely FABULOUS blog post…I'm the wife to your husbands former missionary companion by the way…hahahhahha!…But it was candid and completely true. You should blog more! You're good at it!

Laura said...

Thank you, Amber! And I totally know who you guys are. We check in on your blog from time to time to keep up with your family. When Brent talks about his mission, he always talks about how much fun he had with your husband. :)

Brynn said...

Completely agree with number 8.

David said...

You're back! This is the best thing of my monday morning by far.

As far as your analysis of FB and the whole FB culture goes, I completely agree. Quite frequently I scroll through reading people's stupid/pointless updates and I ask myself, "why would anyone post that on fb?!" Then the follow-up question: "and who reads this crap, anyway?" oh wait... I just did.

Keep writing, I always enjoy reading your work.

Shelley said...

I LOVE YOU!!! You made my day! And coming from the same family you know that I have the same tendencies to addiction :) Maybe I should deactivate. And to think, just when Ryan has actually caved.
I can't stand the effects that facebook can have on our youth! The way that they post pictures to get comments praising their beauty. Drives me crazy and just creates a world of comparisons which is so damaging to young girls. So don't look forward to the day Emma asks.

Mandy Burton said...

This had me cracking up. People really do these things. I see it (correction: saw it) in my newsfeed everyday. It burns me that I've wasted so much time caring about such nonsense. You couldn't have said it better. And I LOVE the feedback you gave fb: it makes me hate all of my "friends" Ain't that the truth.

Amber said...

Can I post this link on FB? So everyone can know how annoying they are ;) hahaha, jk! But really, very well put, I always enjoy reading your wisdom. And can agree 100% with your list. Every day I have something new and annoying to tell Dave that I read, and he always tells me he's going to go through and block all those people so I can no longer be annoyed. But then what will I read, all my smart friends are deactivating their accounts ;)

Laura said...

Thanks, guys! Been wanting to get that off my chest for a while. It's nice to have a place to unload. And Amber, that's fine by long as we didn't have too many of the same friends. That could be awkward ;)

Britt said...

I am so glad your back! Your post made me laugh. Can you believe I've never been on Facebook? By the time I contemplated joining (after watching "The Social Network"), I realized that I would likely be showing late to a really lame party, rather than showing up fashionably late to an awesome one. I took a poll on my blog too: Facebook vs. blog because I did not want to do both. All my family said blog because it's more intimate. I miss you!!!

Britt said...

Oh man, I just noticed a typo and it's driving me crazy. "You're back."

Laura said...

Good to hear from you Brittany! It's been a long time. Would love to read your blog if you guys have one :)

Billings said...

Laura, you are funny! And, keep the posts coming!

Naomi Young said...

Mel told me I had to read this! And I'm so glad I did! That was so well written. I have quit fb a couple of times and was always glad when I did and it empowered me a lot. I basically deleted any friend that was slightly annoying :) and I'm only friends with people I actually like.

P.S. I'm so glad you hate the word "hubby" too, I thought I was the only one.

Laura said...

Thanks, Naomi! It's so good to hear from you. Totally agree that it has been an empowering experience. In the beginning, I thought I wouldn't be able to give it up, but after a while, it got a lot easier, and I realized I actually can live without it. It has gotten me thinking that maybe I can do other hard things, too. :) Hope you are doing well!

Layla said...

I've been wondering about you for awhile and I am so glad that I made the effort to find your blog. This post was so awesome! I was laughing so hard and nodding in approval. BTW I hate nicknames for significant others. I loath "hubs" and "hubby" so much, that it makes my skin crawl!

I wish that we lived closer, we would be good friends.