12.26.2011

Purging the News Feed


I've been in a bit of a mental fit the last few months, vacillating between moments of pure joy and moments where I feel like the world is a giant Ikea on a Saturday afternoon, and I'm about two feet high. Lost and overwhelmed, in other words. Feeling that old feeling I used to get when it was time to shake things up and do something drastic. I haven't always made the wisest decisions when I've felt this way, but I like to think experience has been my greatest teacher and I've decided to get to the root of these feelings and see what needs to be addressed before I resort to my old method of hooking a big block of C4 to my entire world, throwing the switch, and seeing what lands where.

I can only seem to narrow it down to one thing. You know those people who have managed to go through their adult lives over the last four or five years without even thinking of signing up for a Facebook account? In many ways, I envy those people. I envy that they have managed to lead productive, happy, friend-filled lives, without having their faces stuck in a screen. I used to be one of those people, and so did everyone else. Remember those days? I barely do anymore.

It isn't about not liking my friends or "Facebook drama" or anything like that. It's not like I'm having a classic "nobody likes me so I'm stomping off to get attention" melt. It's this inescapable certainty that Facebook has become more of a hindrance in my life, than the positive influence it normally is. And this is both personally and professionally. In fact, I am certain that a good bit of my brain is becoming diluted by an overdose of News Feed.

If I thought it wouldn't disturb and/or embarrass me, I would have tallied the number of hours a week I spend reading status updates, making comments, and checking for updates, but anyone who knows me knows it's probably enormous. I love sharing information with people. I love seeing how everybody in my life is doing. I get a lot of laughs and smiles and overall fulfillment from the amazing people I have met through social networking.

But I think it's gotten to the point where I'm pretty sure I can't control myself with it anymore. When I've  stopped writing in one of my stories in mid-sentence just to see if someone has replied to something I said fifteen minutes ago, I know I have a problem.

So I'm going to pull the plug and go back to the basics for a bit, at least as basic as I'm used to anymore. Let's just say we'll be resetting the clock back to 2005 or so. Back before Myspace. Back when Facebook was just a social experiment on Ivy League campuses and Twitter used to just be synonymous with birds in trees. Back when I had only a blog and a dream.

I'll update this site as necessary, and without Facebook, it might be pretty often. I will maintain my email, of course, and my cell phone will remain a permanent appendage. I have made my husband an admin on my Faceook Fan Page so that when I deactivate my account, that will remain open for anyone looking for me through there.

There is no real time limit on this sojourn. I'd like to say a month, but we all know how long a month can be with something like this. Let's just say we'll take it one day at a time, and if such a day comes when I feel like I'm over this little mental hump of mine, whether it be next Friday or three months from now, I'll be back on the ol' Blue and White again.

Besides, it's not like I'm really going anywhere. I have my places in the virtual world that aren't going anywhere. I've just had a bit too much at this particular joint lately, and it's time I cut myself off and call a cab home. I have books to write and sell. It's my hope that by refocusing my efforts and priorities, I'll be able to come out of this a more focused and successful person. Maybe I will make a whole bunch of new discoveries along the way. We can only hope. It's not like I'm the first person who's attempted to get this particular monkey off her back, so I'll probably see you tomorrow. ;)