I joined way back when it was The Facebook. Only students at approved colleges and universities could join. Everyone on my “Friends” list was an actual person that I had met, and generally someone I had spoken face-to-face with at least once a month. We could draw doodles on each other’s walls and I had three virtual babies named after poets. It was a different time.
Much has changed with Facebook, and for a long time, I rolled fairly seamlessly with the punches. But within the last year and a half, I’ve found myself distancing myself more and more from Facebook for various reasons. But the biggest?
It brings a lot of anger into my life.
When I let myself stay too long on my Newsfeed, I start to scowl. My heart rate goes up. I find myself annoyed, sad, bothered and bummed by what I come across there. I start caring about fights my Friends are involved in that absolutely do not involve me. I see missives that are made thoughtlessly (and often callously) in haste. I read “advice” that is not at all thought out and wrong wrong wrong no bad ew STOP.
I’ve tried unfollowing people who tend to be the worst offenders, but The Algorithm™ still seems to think I want to see all the really irritating, bothersome, annoying, bad, wrong things people Like and Comment on. I would delete my Facebook altogether, but I actually have to have it to operate my work Page, and SOME PEOPLE get really offended if you don’t add them (my Cover Photo is actually a graphic I made explaining that I just don’t add most people on Facebook, but that doesn’t stop SOME PEOPLE from trying.)
… and also? There are people who I like and actually want to socialize with through my social media. Believe it or not.
So instead of just seething, I’ve taken an active role in ensuring that Facebook doesn’t bring all that negativity up in my vibe.
- Unfollow, Unlike, Filter Posts – I try my best to work the Facebook system to ensure I have as much control as any one User can over what gets displayed. In turn, I filter my posts so I’m sure it’s only seen by people who I want to see and comment on it.
- Call it a Google-it generator – I browse Facebook with the intent to get the headlines, then Google them for myself.
- Get in and get out – The best way to combat the Facebook Machine? Don’t play the game. They want you to scroll endlessly, mindlessly for hours. Don’t. Go directly to your best friend’s page. Check on your work. Then close your browser or app.
- Acknowledge the grr – See the thing that is bothering you for what it is: a post on the internet. Practice mindfulness. You are angry. But you are safe. You can hide the post or unfriend the person. You have control over whether this post is a part of your life. And if it’s a bigger thing? A thing that’s inescapable and real and needs to be looked directly at?
- Take action – Take real, meaningful action. Give to a non-profit that matters. Buy lunch for a friend who could use it. Call someone who needs your focus. Report the page. Email your representative.