Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Another Day, Another Big Decision Made in an Attempt to Wrest Control Back From the Cosmos Which, I Know, is Actually Futile, But One Has to Try, at Least

A couple of days ago, I took the relatively drastic step of deactivating my Facebook account. If you're not aware, that's not the same as deleting it. I can wake it up any time I want, but for now it's not usable. First off, it's a pretty strange process to deactivate your account. As well as many 'are you sure?' questions, and text outlining in too much detail what you're about to do, there was also a page with selected friends on it which said, and I paraphrase, "x will miss you! Maybe send them a message to explain why you're leaving." I found it odd because of its emotive connotations, as if I was breaking up some happy 'real-world' home, rather than just becoming slightly less contactable. It was also weird in the way that it was seemingly putting words into my friends' mouths. If they're going to miss me (not in a higher existential sense, just on Facebook...), they can text or call me to say so. They don't need a social media site to tell me that on their behalf. It was just a bit creepy is all I'm saying.

So quite a few people have asked me why I decided to do this. The reasons, as always, are many an varying, but at the very least it was nice that people were concerned (I don't mind admitting that). One big reason is that I've been driving myself slightly mad with going over old memories. This is following another big loss in my life, and I need to take action as soon as I can, otherwise I worry where I'm going to end up. As a secondary factor, I'm seeing it as a little adventure (hopefully!). How long now have I been saying how awful Facebook is, a time-hungry machine that is probably one of a government's favourite tools for letting people to harmlessly rant, and let all that angst and energy dissipate digitally, rather than have people actually mobilise and do something more... potent? So, with that being said, I've finally taken the step. It already feels disconcerting. There's been a few times a day where I've been reading a news article and thinking 'so-and-so would really like this, I'll share it with them', or on a bigger scale, I want people to know what I'm concerned about so we can discuss it. Facebook is at least handy for easily opening up a discussion to a wider audience.

Right, I've sort of gone off track a little bit. It's a bit hard for me to talk about in a way. Some points are so pragmatically motivated that it'd be banal for me to go into them ('saving time' being one thing), then some of them are quite personal to me and others. I don't mind so much being honest about myself, but I don't want to say things that'd make other people feel uncomfortable or whatever. And talking about not talking about it makes it all sound very strange, like a passive aggressive status update where nothing's said, but lots is implied, so I'll stop.

I was quite excited to deactivate my account. I think perhaps I thought it was going to be instantly revolutionary, but very little is when it needs to be. I guess in time I'll see the benefits of not stewing in depressing thoughts while online. Maybe the time thing will be a great help too - hopefully most so with my writing, but I'm learning a new language at the mo and that need concentration too. One thing I've already done is reach out a bit more to people via more personal means, i.e. phone calls, but Facebook was a good signaller, I suppose, for telling you when someone might want a call. That's the main worry, really: what I'm missing out on. And life has taught me quite pointedly how much you can be 'out of sight, out of mind' with anyone, but I have stopped expecting things of people as a result so hopefully that doesn't get to me. I'll have less of a window into their lives, too, so I can only hope I'm good enough at keeping in touch with them, and that they know I'm here for them if they need me. Of course, the other side to missing out on things is going to mainly be poetry events. I'll have to be more disciplined with my email checking and diary keeping. No biggie, in many ways. By the way, I'm not complaining - if it comes across like that at all - just ruminating.

One potentially groovy thing about getting rid of Facebook is that it has led me back to an old poetry project I started when on the MA. Let's just say it involves a certain examination of the behaviour of language in social media contexts, as well as other things. I quite liked the idea myself, but someone I respect very much on that course said they thought it was cool too, so I suppose maybe some of the excitement I felt could have included the starting of this project. It does rely on the habit of social media use, though, so I wonder if it'll be a problem that I'm 'on the wagon', in that sense. Will I eventually be weened off  the wall wailing altogether? We'll have to see, I suppose.

Right, so I suppose that's the only point to this post, just a bit of a ruminate... Has anyone else felt they had to give up social media for a while? Any particular reason? Did it help you?

Peace, love and light, everybody x

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