On February 17th 2016 I posted on my social media that I cut off much of my hair… and haven’t posted a single thing since. Today it is exactly 2 months since that publication and is the end of my self-imposed absence. See, unlike most of my generation I am a natural introvert. I don’t yearn for fame nor noteworthiness, and could go a lifetime without ever posting on facebook again. As a means of keeping my livelihood however, I understand having a social presence on the inter-webs is a bit of a necessity and have therefore fully embraced it as such. Still, I quit for 2 months and called it a “staycation” as I didn’t physically, really go anywhere. I felt over extended and with a fulltime writing schedule and my fulltime business, something had to give which meant in turn, the multiday posts across 4 platforms had to temporarily at least, go.
Still, there were some things I learned about social networking in my time away, which I feel pertinent to share with you today. No, you don’t need to quit, but I suggest you too take a break as doing such can re-teach you something great, something about your life.
Why Facebook is a thing
Apparently there is a movie, which no one is surprised I haven’t seen, but the origins of facebook in particular fall in a need for intellectual connection. When I was in high-school MySpace with still the “thing”, and only the fancy older kids were on this new platform that was said to be ultra private and secure. From my perspective, it was meant to be used as a means of connecting with people which one wished to stay in touch with, kids from one university to another, old colleges etc..
The next thing I knew however, everyone was on it and the site evolved into what it is today, a second or almost alternative life for many people. No longer just a profile, a Facebook page is a representation, even manifestation of ones personal ideal and with a daily timeline, where the personal lives of those once connected with at a party is displayed. Sure that’s cool, but it can mess with your mind also.
The nature of man
For one of my writing projects, I researched the puritans when they first settled land in the Americas. Their lives were simplistic, mainly consisting of farming and agriculture, going to church, and intermixing with those in their communities. Boys were raised by men- fathers, uncles, mentors, each bestowing a responsibility to make said boys better by teaching trades to insure they became exemplary parts of society. The women instructed girls on how to be proper young ladies, teaching them honor and grace, mentoring their development into womanhood. There was face-to-face single mined interaction with purpose, with no phones or running water; they had no choice but to be in the present, with those who were really there.
Have you ever seen the video of the sorority girls at the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game? It can be found with a google search and is essentially of announcers commentating observations of a group pretty young girls all sitting in the crowd being corney and taking selifes, then giggling at their own highly posed-for pictures. They looked ridiculous and never once actually noticed the game going on in front of them. Their full attention was placed in how the appeared to be living, while ignoring who and what was actually there. Yet as easy as it is to make fun, I do not believe it to be their fault.
The nature of man is fickle. If you give an ape a mirror he will too stare at himself till the sun goes down. Take the mirror away and he will climb trees and play and wrestle with his family- he will morph back to the being he was before he saw himself in a brand new way. Back to his organic self.
Social sites are pretty neat, but it is easy to get wrapped up without realizing it. It is not normal to see the baby of a classmate you sat next to for 12 weeks of 9th grade algebra. It’s not normal to be able to look through ex-girlfriends or boyfriends vacation photos. Your natural self should only know, see, and be affected by what is physically in front of you. That’s the way the puritans did it, that’s how your parents did it, and that’s what my “Staycation” taught me I should continually strive for.
I urge you to take a break! Not a long one, maybe a week or two, don’t even delete your account. Just distance yourself and refocus on those actually in your life. If that is too drastic of a change, try unfollowing those you haven’t seen in the last 6 months. If you have no reason to keep in touch with them, your psyche doesn’t need to know the intimate details of their lives. I am back on social media, but have placed myself under restraints of getting too involved. You will see my work predominantly displayed, but i’ll leave my misguided selfies somewhere else.