Sheesh! You’d think I’d run away and joined the circus.
Recently a friend deactivated temporarily. She let everyone know in advance she was taking a break that lasted, eh, roughly a week. Privately she told several of us it had to do with one particular issue and once it blew over, she would be back and better than ever. And once it was over, she would also delete everyone who’d been party to the drama in real life.
No such thing for me. Nope. I just couldn’t deal with the deluge of information that was making me care less. I also couldn’t handle the stress of a new school year, a house on the market and a lot of drama being kicked around fb of late. Drama I want no part with but somehow people keep shoving it in my face. Boo. If my face ain’t there, ain’t nothing being shoved in it.
I felt like I had 700 children in my face yelling “Pay attention to me! Care about me!” And right now, I only want to care about the three children who physically live in my home.
But it is telling that so many people immediately jump on the bandwagon of assuming something bad has happened when they realize someone has gotten off social media. My next door neighbor has told us many times that he comes and goes as he pleases and people always assume something awful has happened. He has battled cancer in recent years and had some personal struggles, so, in his case, for some people those fears are probably well-founded. But I know I’ve gotten messages from people about friends who’ve deactivated just so no one would contact them while on vacation for four days freaking out that “so-and-so is off facebook for good and wahhhh!!! what does this mean?!”
We’ve become a connected society so used to having instant access to people whether by facebook, twitter, text message, email or whatever, that when we suddenly find a channel blocked, we assume the worst. I remember when I was first starting my corporate America job, a co-worker told me about her worst night at a previous job working for Corning in their fiber-optics division. She was on her night shift rotation and employees would only get phone calls if it was an emergency. One night, she got two calls. The first was from an aunt stating her grandmother had gone missing. Thankfully, her grandmother had just gone to a store with a friend and didn’t think to tell her aunt who she wasn’t expecting to pop in that day. The second call was from someone letting her know her mother and step-father had both been arrested for domestic violence. I think back on this story and think, “wow, there was a time when we didn’t have cell phones for 900 people to text us or message us the instant something happened anywhere we weren’t at that time.” It doesn’t seem possible that terrible night happened just over 10 short years ago.
Lately, the spread of news in social media has become a source of major discontent for a lot of my friends. When my dear friend Dawn passed away earlier this year, friends of hers began posting on facebook before her siblings knew. I knew early on but thankfully the person who told me did it privately in a text message and told me there was some difficulty contacting some of the family. I realize that many people had no idea and did not intend harm but it happened nonetheless. It was a crazy, crazy time, for sure and left a lot of us thinking there was much to be desired with this much connected-ness.
I would have thought that my exit (however long it may be…much yet to be determined) would have been much less noticeable since I hadn’t been posting as much or commenting as often of late. But, it’s caused a minor panic (which sounds so silly as I type it) and I take some responsibility for that. Although, once upon a time when Jeff deactivated his facebook account (which he never re-opened) he gave fair warning and there was a firestorm of speculation, so I guess there’s just no winning (disclosure: he did it for his job, he didn’t want to be a teacher with a facebook account).
So, I guess I’ll keep telling people the truth: things are fine, really, they are. I need a break. Perhaps I’ll be back at some point, but I dislike amateur prognostications, so…you know…til then….