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Notification: It’s Not Me, It’s You. (Okay, Maybe It’s a Little Bit Me Too)

March 1, 2013

Well, I’ve done it. After a 4 1/2-year love/hate relationship, I’ve finally gathered the necessary strength and resolve to end my relationship with notificationsFacebook. The analogy of being in a bad relationship really applies in my case. It was fulfilling some of my superficial needs but none of my fundamental needs; I loved it sometimes and hated it other times; I constantly thought about leaving but felt stuck; I didn’t like myself very much while in the relationship; and I had serious reservations about our differing world views and ethics.

I’m not going to make any high-minded statements about how evil Facebook is, simply because others have said it better. Here’s a good example. And I’m not going to go on and on about how Facebook is destroying our ability to connect with other humans. It has certainly changed the way we do it, but I think every generation has something that does that. In the spirit of not going on and on I will say this one thing: Facebook (and all interaction that happens only online) does make it easier to dehumanize others and see them as separate from ourselves, and that, in my humble opinion, is a big problem. The things people say to each other via Facebook and Twitter and online forums are things that most folks would never in a million years say to another person if forced to interact face-to-face.

My misgivings about what Facebook is doing to the human race were not, however, my impetus for giving it the ol’ heave-ho. For me, it all boils down to the fact that it’s just not normal to have the goings-on of 250 people in your daily headspace. Granted, some people do just fine with it, love it even. I’ve just come to the realization that I’m not one of them. Clearing my mind of all the noise has been at the center of the last 10 years of my life. Learning to use my limited energy wisely has been a big part of that work. Facebook doesn’t fit in with either of those two pursuits for me at this time.

So, overall, I do think Facebook is ethically  problematic for many (oh, so many) reasons. But honestly, this is a me problem, not a Facebook problem. And how do I feel after 3 days “sober”? Honestly? I feel great. I thought I’d be experiencing information withdrawals but instead I just feel incredibly free. Free from something that I should have never allowed to make me feel stuck in the first place.

So newsfeed be damned! I’m looking forward to a notification-free life.


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