Monday, August 27, 2012

It’s Over,Facebook. For Real This Time

broken heartAbout three years ago, I entered into a relationship with Facebook. It was fun at first. Became an obsession for a while. Then, things began to change. Subtle at first. Things you get used to after a while, and forget why you were so irritated to begin with by the change. But this time, Facebook crossed the line.

I knew it was coming. The signs were everywhere. Other people were talking about it. It’s not like I had no warning at all. But, when I still hadn’t been Timelined, I thought maybe they had forgotten about me. Or, maybe they were afraid of me…as I am not afraid to complain about things I don’t like. Just ask anyone who knows me about my feelings on Mitch Daniels and Daylight Savings Time Dumb Stupid Time. It’s been like six years since that stupid practice was forced down my throat and I still hate it. Loathe it. Detest it. But, that is a rant reserved for for two times a year. The second time is coming in approximately 65 days. Yes, I count the days until we cast off the insanity and resume to normal time keeping. Which is in 69 days, but I usually post something about it a few days ahead.

I digress. Stupidity makes me do that.

There are some people who actually like the new Timeline format. Others don’t care one way or the other. And many, many who hate it. Those who like it accuse those who hate it of just being resistant to change and we should just suck it up and get over it already. These are probably the same people who say we need to be tolerant of other people’s views. Hmpf. Just another example of the bigotry of the Tolerance religion – we must respect other people’s views and beliefs…except when they differ from Ours.

I have good reasons for leaving Facebook – for real, for good – this time. I’ve been trying to break free from the FB habit for some time, but I must admit it has a pull, a certain addictive quality, that makes it difficult to break away. Much like leaving a cult…or a gang. Or trying to kick a $3000 a day cocaine habit. There’s just something about it that makes us feel good.

Is it because we are all incredibly nosey curious? Is it because we are somehow able to feel a sense of connectedness, of community, of family, better over a cold and impersonal internet connection than we can with the people around us who are warm, breathing, bodies of flesh?

Some say that “It's been suggested that people who love Timeline are narcissistic, because Timeline makes it a pleasure to design and curate a digital timeline of your life.” I would also suggest that Facebook in general appeals to the narcissist in all of us. Finally, we have a free forum in which to espouse our many views on life and religion and politics, mostly free from reprisal. We are instantly “published” without the thoughtful work that goes writing a book, or even a quality blog post – spur-of-the-moment status updates can be the equivalent of diarrhea of the mouth. And, if we don’t like what someone says about our obviously superior views, we can delete their comments and unfriend them. Problem solved.

Yes, I’m just as guilty as anyone for spouting off my views on Facebook. And I believe I am right about what I believe…why would I post something I don’t believe to be true? Or morally right? And yes, I have the audacity to disagree with other beliefs and views. I have the audacity to believe they are wrong, at times. That is my view, my belief, and it is just as valid as the opposing views and beliefs, right? According to almighty Tolerance, it should be.  However, anyone with any kind of intelligence and discernment (and a Facebook page) can see that “Tolerance” is rather one-sided.
Again…I digress. Induced by the stupidity of hypocritical “tolerance.”

All of this rambling is to say that I’m just completely over the whole Facebook experience. Facebook doesn’t care about its users, it cares about turning a profit. It does that by selling information that users readily hand over. There is no such thing as privacy on the internet, regardless of “privacy policies”…if you go online, you have to give out information at some point. If you choose to do that, then you can’t whine because someone else does something with it. The world is full of unscrupulous people, greedy people, people with cold hearts that only care about themselves. It’s not a world I want to be a part of, frankly.

Facebook takes up too much time. I’ve had several occasions where I quit logging in (but didn’t deactivate my account) because the dishes weren’t getting done and people were running out of clean underwear. That just really isn’t good. I’m a SAHM, my job is to take care of my family and home. Anything that interferes with that just really has to go.

Sometimes, it takes something drastic to get us to change our bad habits and selfish ways. When Facebook decided that every user would be forcibly switched to the new Timeline, I decided that was it. I will not change voluntarily, and when they do switch me, I’m pulling the plug on my FB account. Surprisingly, it took the better part of a year for them to get around to changing my profile. As providence would have it, it was at the beginning of the month of Elul on the Hebrew calendar. A month dedicated to reflection, repentance, prayer and study. And there is just no room in all of that for the distraction of Facebook.

I will, of course, miss some things. Or, people, rather…as a Marine parent, the support of a Marine Moms group on FB has been amazing, and I’ve met some terrific ladies there. I have family around the country, as well as friends, that I rarely see, but can easily connect with on FB. Why is that not enough to keep me on there? Because real relationships require cultivation and maintenance. They require work. It is much more meaningful to get a real, honest to goodness letter from someone instead of a quick post on their “wall” or a tag in a comment somewhere. It says you care enough about THEM to take time out of your day to make an effort to let them know they are important to you. It’s not easy in this busy, electronic world we live in, true…but I think we need to reclaim some compassionate humanity and let go of cold, electronic indifference.

I can not, of course, end this without addressing another large reason for telling FB to go jump off a cliff. As someone who does not particularly like change all that much, I most definitely do not like it forced on me. My inner child stomps her feet and fumes and pouts and spouts off about it. You can’t make me like or accept something by forcing it on me. And to think that everyone on FB is going to blindly accept whatever you throw at them is just ridiculous. At least for now…the sheeple are coming along, of course. But this woman is no sheeple and I will not be “coming along”.

Not having the ball and chain of Facebook around my ankle has been nice. I’m kind of in a deprogramming mode – I want to log in, to see if anyone misses me, to see what I missed…and yet, I don’t. I thought I’d log in after a week to retrieve some information, like a message I recently received that I want to keep, some email addresses of people I really want to stay in contact with, and tie up some loose ends in a group I created. But, I’m liking not being on Facebook so much, I just might not!

So, for those who think I’m just being silly and resistant to change…well, think what you want. Facebook is not mandatory (yet…have you seen this about a German article? Apparently, people who DON’T have a FB or other social networking account might be “suspicious”. I just might be on a List somewhere now since I don’t have a Facebook…) so I don’t have to have a FB account if I don’t want to. And I have no interest trading my personal information to use a site that forces me into a box of conformity. I would think that for the valuable trade-off of personal information to feed to their  advertisers, Facebook could at least throw its users a bone and allow for some personalization. Give them a choice in the matter, so they don’t feel so…violated. Make them feel like you care and they might not complain so much.

Bottom line is…I have a real life. Sorry, Facebook…it’s you, and you have to go. And don’t ever call me again, I mean it.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The S.O.S. Challenge

S.O.S. can mean several different things...Save Our Schools, HELP!!!, Switched On Schoolhouse. Anything with an S-O-S configuration, really. Right now, for me, it is an acronym for Sick Of Stuff. It's time to get serious about Stuff around here.

As I've gotten older, wiser, and more free of debilitating emotional issues, I have found that I'm somehow a better housekeeper. Do not read I'm A Perfect Housekeeper and My Home Should Be Featured In BHG there, please! I just mean that my home does not look like my bedroom did as a child...most of the time. If the kids have been running amok, well, it might look kind of like that. But, in general, you can see the floor and dont' have to walk on Stuff or shovel a path through Stuff to get around. The OTHER horizontal surfaces around here, however, typically have lots of Stuff on them. And I hate it.

For instance, my kitchen counter is a long L-shape wth a stove at one end. There is a particular corner that I have dubbed The Black Hole. Not sure why, actually - black hole implies that things go in and are never seen again. I guess it's more of the Event Horizon thing...if it gets close to that particular area, it ends up on The Pile. I do usually see it again, when I get sick of the Overflowingness and decided to "declutter" the Black Hole. 

I have wanted Simplify for a long time, but I'm not sure what has held me back...and still does.  When I'm away from our home, say at church for example, I get this overwhelming desire to go home and start Chucking Stuff. I feel up to it, I feel Inspired and Motivated. And, I get home and find that I just can't do it. Even though I haven't touched the papers in a certain file in my file cabinet for at least two years, I can't bring myself to throw them away. It's pathetic. 

Yet I long to be Free Of Stuff. I hate the choking, claustrophobic feel of all these things. Things that gather dust. Things that stare at me and remind me how disorganized I am. Things I am in bondage to, because I can not throw them out or give them away. Things that aren't worth much of anything, really. Sometimes, I think about things like What if there was a Natural Disaster and We Lost Everything. Would I survive? Of course I would. I don't really NEED most of this stuff! 

And so, I have decided to challenge myself to fill up a box or bag every day of Stuff to remove from my home. Whether it goes to the trash can, consignment shop or thrift store doesn't matter. It doesn't even matter what size of box or bag, as long as something goes out of the house every day.  It's just got to go. I'm calling it the SOS Challenge. I'm going to start this September 1, 2012...feel free to join me and share what your're doing! 

I love freecycle, but I can't wait around for people who may or may not show up to collect whatever I'm freecycling....I know myself too well. That may work for you, but it won't for me. There's a Goodwill drop box a few blocks from me, and if I have a small bag, I can also get some exercise and ride my bike down to drop it off. I also go to an area that has a Goodwill store (and I get coupons when I drop off my donations...wait, that would probably work against me!). And if nothing else, I can set it out by the road with a "FREE" sign and it will probably be gone in no time. 

Any challenge needs an outline, rules, goals....I'm going to think on those things and post what I come up with in a few days. For now, I have to work on psyching myself up for this challenge. To get rid of whatever it is that hinders me so I can get rid of all this Stuff that does not make me happy or serve a useful purpose in my life. 

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Integrity is a Lost Virtue, but I Choose to: