Sometime in the past month or two, Facebook overstepped its bounds with me.
I’ve always said, whenever the topic comes up with someone, that Facebook scales well. “It takes as much time as you have for it,” I’ve said to the friend considering an account, or the friend wondering about his/her usage. Well, I let that get away from me somewhere, and I’m not sure where.
So I’m reclaiming it. I’m deliberately repurposing it. The prospect of getting rid of my account altogether never survives close examination with me, because I do get substantial value from it. I have a few correspondences that I enjoy quite a bit, and they would not have happened without Facebook. I enjoy the reconnection with decades-ago folks. I enjoy the messages from Beyonce and Shania Twain, begging me to return their calls. Ha!
But seriously, Facebook should be a means, not an end.
Perhaps most significantly, going forward, I’m going to try very hard to be apolitical here. I’ve been discussing and arguing politics online for 18 years now, and I have determined to my satisfaction that Facebook is worse for that part of my brain than any other environment in which I’ve spent any amount of time. It’s like this: If you and I share an approach and a set of beliefs, it takes no effort at all for me to throw some red meat out there and get you to clap me on the back. Conversely, it’s just as easy to piss you off if you don’t agree with me.
But then what? See, almost always, that’s all that ever happens.
And part of me says fine. You know, a cheeseburger and fries passed through a window is sometimes just what you want, right? The larger problem I have with it is that it robs energy from what I really want to accomplish, which is to reach the persuadable.
Whether you’re clapping me on the back or slinking away irritated when I throw red meat out there, you do share one thing: you’re not persuadable.
One problem with the way I’ve done things is that I’ve put a link out here and there, and perhaps followed it up with a little bit of conversation, and my mind puts a check mark on it like I’ve discussed politics meaningfully (when it’s nothing compared to a considered post at BoWilliams.com, for example). Then I have diminished motivation for said considered post. (You know, the thing that actually gets Googled? the thing that someone might read and think about?)
Another problem with it—dare I say, the more important one—is personal. If you’re able to read this, then we have a connection. It meant enough to us that one of us asked, and the other clicked Confirm.
I would rather celebrate what we have together, rather than highlight our (in some cases, severe) political differences.