I believe it’s time that we reevaluate our relationship.
For the longest time you were cool and you were a great distraction that helped me get away from my problems for a while. You helped me stay in touch with relatives and communicate with folks I haven’t seen for a long time because of time or distance. You made me feel like I was really liked because you gave me friends. But the attraction has begun to wear thin and, truthfully, I really don’t enjoy our time together anymore like I used to.
First of all, you use me. All you want to do is sell me things. You want me to “like” pages and click on See More and enter contests just so you can treat me as data for your insatiable appetite for information. You want to hand my statistics and personality codes to your overlords in advertisements so that they will be pleased with you. I’m not entirely innocent. I know full well what you’re doing and I go willingly like a mealybug in an ant farm to this page and that and dutifully click my “like” button, and you are happy. You have become the new good shepherd that leads me to greener pastures so I’ll be content. But I know you aren’t doing this because you “like” me and want to make me happy. You are merely providing my mind with useless mental calories so I’ll stay right here getting bloated and out of shape so you can see me and use me more and more. I’m really beginning to resent you for that.
Second, you’re stalking me and it’s beginning to creep me out. You know I’m a sucker for kittens and puppies and heart warming stories about duck rescues and you make sure that’s put on my “feed.” You know that I read the Catholic news but lean a bit more left than right on some social issues (not all) and so you serve up morsals that you think I’ll consume whether I have an appetite for them or not. And it makes me wonder what else you know about me. I’m not a complicated person. My life isn’t exactly boring, but I pretty much stay out of trouble, so there’s nothing I can think of that I need to hide. But really, there are some boundaries that shouldn’t be crossed and lately you’ve been getting just a bit too close to my comfort zone.
Third, about those “friends” you’ve given me. Some of them I don’t know at all and I’m not sure I could pick them out of a lineup; and some that, thanks to you, I’m not sure I like anymore. Once I had real friends whose company I enjoyed and whose conversations were golden. But now I sometimes wonder about who they really are and if I should purge them from my friendship. From time to time one of them will put up a post that, as a Catholic, a woman, a mother, I have real problems with politically, philosophically, socially or morally. But I think that if we actually sat down and had a real conversation about some of these issues we would be able to find common ground and come to a better understanding of each other’s thoughts. It’s not about expressing ideas or opinions, it’s just that you make it too easy to hit the “share” button to post pithy memes that sound righteous, even though they are racist or mean spirited toward (fill in the group) or “news” articles from a less than unbiased news source. Thanks to you we no longer have to listen to another side of a conversation because your algorhythms exist to “feed” us the truth that you think we want to hear. Then you give us new “friends” that agree with us so we can feel good about ourselves, even though what we have posted is offensive or hurtful to others, because it’s easier to believe we’re right when others “like” it. It’s easier to hurt people when you don’t have to look them in the eye. In the reality that you have provided for us truth is what people think it is. You have taken the absoluteness and power out of truth and reduced it to a meme; an image…a quote from someone who may or may not have actually spoken or written it – but even if its not true it’s okay because it supports an opinion, so it might as well be truth. Everything is truth. Nothing is truth. The lion has lost its roar. The truth is, I miss my real friends. I miss sitting in their kitchens and patios and laughing about the good times. I miss trading stories about our kids and things we actually do in real life. I miss the human interaction and enjoyment that comes from being together.
Fourth, you are a giant time suck. Everything around me needs attention, but you want my constant attention so you “feed” me things that will draw me in; articles, videos, comics..anything to keep me looking at you. Oh, yes, from time to time you give me wonderful things. I can hear the latest songs from my favorite artists before they’re even released. I can find out what the pope said before CNN misconstrues it. I can see that I should avoid the expressway and go the back way to work. I know the very second it’s going to rain. But you also show me terrible things. I see the hateful, violent way people treat each other. Genocide, murder, rapes, abuse, riots, and all manner of terror and tyranny. I know these exist and have existed since Cain blindsided Abel, but why do I need to actually see these things, other than to become anesthetized to the evil? You recently showed me an article about a guy who came upon a a horrific accident and pulled over to take photos of the carnage so he could sell the photos to sick minded people instead of helping and comforting the people who were dying. I don’t want to become like that.
Let’s face it, Facebook, you are a terrible friend. You give me too many reasons to envy and lust and ridicule and hate. You don’t really make me happy anymore. You give me nothing of value and demand too much of my soul. So, I’m thinking that I really need to start to pay more attention to other things in my life. Honestly, I’m probably not going to stop seeing you entirely. I can use you, too. I’ll use your recipes and like the photos of my friends’ grandchildren. I’ll remember when people’s birthdays and anniversaries come up and promise to pray for their surgeries. But don’t get upset if I close your tab and put my phone down and actually talk to people. Maybe I’ll even use the gym membership that I’ve been paying for. It was good, Facebook, it really was, but I’m going to tke my life back now. Call me sometime – oh, that’s right, you can’t. Sorry.