The other morning, my wife was reading about the Women’s March on Washington. She wanted to share something she found on Facebook with me, so she tried using Messenger–unsuccessfully, since I deleted my Facebook account a couple of weeks ago. It was interesting to look at her smart phone’s Messenger account, because it had my name listed, but the photo was gone, as if I am both no longer her Facebook friend and no longer a person.
It made me think about the result of deleting Facebook. I have no regrets; the time I’m saving for other things (such as pondering and reflecting) is staggering. More importantly, the anxiety I used to experience from all that feed is gone.
I’ve learned that I have more control over what I think about because I have to look for information rather than have it push to me.
I also wanted to learn more about the Women’s March on Washington, so I found some online articles and read them. The nice thing about an article is that it has enough space for depth of thought, for the extension of a well-supported argument. You don’t get that in social media, since the chunks of information are typically shorter, hence less substantive. There is so much information out there, and you can find it through so many mediums. I’m preferring mediums that allow for more space, mediums that don’t push so much data at me all at once that I feel cognitively polarized.
I also don’t miss the extreme emotions I used to consume through Facebook. You can get emotional when you write a longer article, essay or email, but emotions in writing, like emotions in life, tend to balance out when you give them more space.
I do miss the images and videos that often accompany social media, though the loss of images and video reminds me of what happened in 5th grade, because 5th grade was when the school reading books no longer had pictures, which meant I had to imagine what the characters were doing since the pictures were no longer there to do it for me.
What I’m not doing more is reading books. I want to read books more, and I have made the time to do so, but I’m not there yet. Making the shift back to book-reading is big, one that will take more time. Here’s hoping I can make that transition in the next month or two.