Facebook is a distraction, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a distraction. I have several. However, what happens when you have to find a distraction for a distraction? How does your mind re-wire that? It is an issue that I’ve been plagued with. I haven’t messed with Facebook in four days. It has been a trying time.
Ok, well, I’ll be honest. I have checked it. I’ve looked at it a few times and I’ve checked my Facebook email. Yes, I have done that. But I’ve un-tied my Twitter account from it. I’ve stopped commenting on people’s pages, I’ve stopped writing on people’s walls, the whole nine yards. I can’t even post my updates of this blog to my Facebook page! That is how far I am going. By the end of this week, my goal is to have gone days, entire swaths of time, without clicking on the Facebook tab in my Google Chrome Browser. If you look at Facebook like a party, and man oh man it is a very fun party, then I’m sitting in the back of the room, taking a break. I’ve still got my drink, and I’m still in the room. But I’m just, you know, people watching. I’m letting the ambient noise wash over me. I’m appreciating the world, but I have no interest in taking part in the world right now.
Why? Eh. You know. Whatever. Sometimes you just don’t feel like all that. And the experiment was whisked from the mind of one of my students. I had them read an essay called “Learning to Smoke” by Tim Chiarella. The essay is about a guy who decides to start smoking at the age of forty-six. During our discussion, we talked about the writer’s motivation, the reasons why anyone would want to start smoking. One of my kids said, with that wonderful, playful tone that only a child can have, “Why suffer if you don’t want to?” That got me thinking. What can I disconnect from? What do I use that I don’t need, or maybe that I can scale back the usage? The answer was obvious. How long can I go without updating my status? Changing my profile picture? Checking in on my buddies and making stupid comments about one of the pictures they posted? How long can I hold out? I don’t have the answers, and this isn’t about being a masochist for the sake of attention. Well, maybe it is. What are my motivations? Why am I doing this? I mean, the party is so much fun, and the music is so lively. Why can’t I be apart of all that? Sometimes you need to, I think. You need to step back from all that, just for a little while. And when you go back, the friends are still there, and you understand why you came to the party in the first place.