Facebook is the only social media platform I regularly use. I once used Twitter. I use Viber to video chat with a close friend through her mobile phone in Ukraine. I have a Skype account, in case I need it (almost never). I used to have a LinkedIn account. I started using Facebook to keep in touch with our children and with friends, and it used to bring me joy.
Recently, with COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and the increasing tension around the upcoming elections in the US,, Facebook is more stress-inducing than enjoyable. I decided that something had to change.
I seriously thought about deleting my Facebook account. Right after I wrote those words two competing thoughts popped into my mind. The first, "Oh my goodness!" as if it was a major life-altering decision. The second, "Who cares? It's just Facebook." And here I am.
I started out by unfollowing people using suggestions from How to Unfollow Everyone on Facebook by Alex Kwa. Those I unfollowed would see my posts, they could contact me, we were still "friends," but I would not see their posts. I would cut down on the background noise of Facebook. I did this without prejudice. The question I asked was, "Does he, she, or it spark joy?" I also loosely applied the acrostic "THINK." Is it True, Helpful, Informative, Necessary, Kind? And not just for what I write, but what or who I read. I reminded myself I do not need to read everything everyone writes. If I chose to ignore a person or even "block" him or her it just means that: I chose not to listen to the person. I am establishing and enforcing boundaries for myself regarding how I spend my time and chose what I will allow into my brain. And I'm not doing this to suppress myself from hearing differing opinions. I hear plenty in my usual day-to-day intercourse.
Proverbs 26 verses 4 and 5 say, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes." Can both be correct advice? Yes, in different instances with different people. I want to be discerning. Is a particular "debate" worth the effort. What is the probability I will sway the other's position? Does it really matter to me what he or she believes? Certainly, for many discourse on Facebook the answer is "no." Nothing personal.
After the "unfollowing" I felt much better. When I look at Facebook I see things from family, real friends, people I am connected to by years or close relationships. I may prune or purge more as time goes by. But I know what to do without losing the benefits I still get.
And the beat goes on.