I’ve decided to go on Facebook strike.
Why? Here are my reasons:
1) Because I don’t write as much or as well as I used to, and I need to start again. However, facebook takes up a lot of time.
2) Because when I think about the time I do spend on facebook, I am struck by how much of my life I spend interacting with people in ways that are meaningless and antisocial. Too much of my time is wasted mindlessly browsing pages of people I don’t know, while friends I do know, and love, get neglected. Most of the communication that goes on, on the facebook, to me is not real communication. Real communication is characterized by engagement, but back and forth comments are not engagement, they are one-way reams of dialogue sent out into the ether.
This communication for the most part is vapid, devoid of intimacy, frivolous and does not produce nor nurture real relationships or friendships. Facebook is filled with barely linked “friendships” and empty chatter. This chatter is white noise, and it takes up meaningful time that I could be spending actually engaging with the real flesh and blood people in my life, the relationships that get taken for granted too often as I walk head-down with my eyes on my phones, my ipod blaring in my ears. I had an epiphany about the other night when I was under the influence. I was on facebook looking at the small square boxes on the right margin of my homepage, under each picture, a little caption with directions:
“You haven’t spoken to So-and-So in a While…”
“Reconnect with her. Send her a message.”
There’s something wrong when facebook is encouraging you to reconnect with people. I imagined corporate facebook people sitting around a table plotting about how to make sure we are all “reconnecting” with people. Reconnecting in this respect, I can imagine, gives us the idea that we can “connect” with people, using very little effort at all. But what is the point of this? What is the point of socializing with people whom you have no intention of really investing in? If you need to be reminded by an automated facebook reminder, how important is reconnecting? Facebook promoting friendships so that we can be exposed to more advertising creeped me out. Bad. It still does.
We “socialize” on facbeook nonstop, but are an alienated generation. What would happen if we all spent the time we usually spend on facebook, doing productive things? Producing meaningful literature, collecting our thoughts and feelings, crystallizing them, developing our artwork, having rich political debates and discussions, and reconnecting with friends in the best, most organic way, over bottles of wine with food, laughter and shared stories and dreams. I am going on facebook strike for 3 months.
This originally started off as me daring myself to see if I could do it. But now its evolved into a full blown project. For now on, starting today, I am going to write for one hour every day, i.e. the amount of time I’d probably be spending on facebook. I am going to post these one hour freewrites on this blog. Stay tuned.