Lately I’ve found myself doing a lot of “unfollowing” on Facebook. Maybe I just feel overwhelmed with social media right now. Maybe I just don’t need to know everywhere you go or what you had for dinner. Maybe I’m starting to feel more and more like a voyeur and I just don’t like it. I’m not sure the exact reason, but I appreciate the option to remain “friends” with someone without having to “view” or “like” everything they post.
I started thinking about this recently because my 20th high school reunion is coming up this fall. (First of all, what?! Secondly, how?! I will need to process this more fully another time!) I wondered what we’d talk about because the typical questions I suspect one asks at a reunion I already have the answers to. I know how many kids you have and what their names are and how they did in last week’s baseball tourney. I know you recently got divorced and it appears you might be dating someone new. I know you changed jobs and you are in a band and you just bought a new house. So, what’s left to talk about?
Maybe if I don’t see everything you post, we’ll have a more interesting time together in a few months. Maybe if I “unfollow” you I can be legitimately interested when you tell me about what your kids are up to or how your parents are doing. Maybe if I’m not reading about your day-to-day life every day I can be surprised when I see your face in real life and be truly engaged in whatever conversation we muster up.
Then I started thinking about people I’m loosely acquainted with and how I really don’t need to know about what concert they went to last weekend and where they get their haircut and how that group always hangs out together on the weekends. Do I really need to stay up-to-date with my husband’s friend’s wife? Not particularly. Do I really need to know what every single past youth group member is up to these days? Not really.
I initially started unfollowing people last fall when we found out about my infertility and people were posting baby announcements. I just couldn’t with that so I unfollowed. Then I noticed some people’s posts were filling up my feed more than I wanted so I unfollowed. Then I noticed I was paying too much attention to some people’s lives – things that really weren’t any of my business, things that maybe made me feel a bit jealous, things that were causing me to be nosey – so I unfollowed. It’s just too much… I’ve got enough in my own life to manage – I don’t need to keep track of anyone else’s drama either!
I love Facebook for staying connected to my family – siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, pictures of second cousins and nieces and nephews. I love Facebook for staying connected to old friends that I rarely see but want to know how they’re doing. I love Facebook for event invitations and business updates. I love Facebook for my quilting business and the advertising it provides. However, beyond that, I’m really over it.
Social media has this way of playing on our desires and wants, our teenage insecurities, our doubts and fears. And that’s why I’ve had to start taking a few steps back. I’m definitely on it too much – I find it’s my go to place when I’m not sure what to do or when I have a few minutes to spare. I want that to stop. I want to look around at the place I’m in, I want to talk to people near me, I want to just sit and experience boredom. I don’t want social media to be my “go to” anymore. But, like any addiction, it will take time. And, I do really love all the quilty pictures on Instagram 🙂
I’m hoping with a few more “unfollows” and a little less time on my phone, my reunion in a few months might be interesting! I might learn some things about my former classmates. I might walk in knowing what everyone looks like 20 years later, but maybe I won’t be up-to-date on their latest vacations and date nights.
Ok, time to go post this on Facebook…