I have been in the midst of a Facebreak. I didn’t delete or hide my account. I just took the app off my phone.
It wasn’t a Lenten practice, but a bid to rediscover my own personal, emotional, political, and spiritual baselines. These are easy to lose in an echo chamber, and hard to recover without stepping away.
Something I read right after the Cambridge Analytica story has stuck with me: what if our species is not meant to be connected in this way? We’re certainly meant to share connections, but what if social media, along with the good it can do, also amplifies our anxieties and passive aggression? What if it really does take us out of our everyday moments? What if it really does affect our moods? Our habits? Our appetites?
I have been listening to “When Doves Cry” an awful lot. That’s probably not germane, but it might be. Dig, if you will, this picture: in 2018, the lyrics are about the metrics of not being dug. No likes on your latest clever status? How could your friends leave you standing/alone in a world so cold? Maybe you’re just too demanding, maybe you’re just like your @Father/ too bold? Maybe you’re just like your @Mother/she’s never satisfied…
We now know that there’s never really such a thing as enough likes. We know the feeling of validation and the primal act of gathering approval are both psychologically addictive. We fret about who liked a post instead of loving it. We vow to do better next time.
“It’s just exhausting,” Melvin Udall said, “talking like this.” He was referring to inane conversation in person. I can’t even image what he’d do with Facebook.