Just Like the Government: Shut Down

Shut Down Facebook | New Faculty


The federal government and I shut down on almost the same day. My shutdown was far less publicized, noted on major news networks, and as far as I can tell, there’s only one person suffering as a result.

I deactivated my facebook.

I had been toying with the idea for some time. I have always had doubts about the nature of friendship and what social media does to it. Recently, I found myself having some facebook envy and putting myself into a bad place over it. That wasn’t anyone else doing it-it was all in my brain. I know the research, both positive and negative, and found myself falling prey to the negative and not the positive. Don’t get me wrong, getting 134+ birthday greetings sure was nice, but during my own summer on the struggle bus, facebook stopped serving me and became a source of tension and angst that I could feel brewing and was trying to figure out how to deal with. I do enjoy facebook because it does help me keep in touch with people who I enjoy, went to college/high school/work with or have done those things in the past.

So, I did the most logical thing possible. I shut my ‘large’ facebook account down.

  • I needed to breathe.
  • I needed to re-evaluate its’ function in my life.
  • I needed to jump on the wagon and continue my own self-reflection.
  • It was freaking ME out. This is not about ANYONE ELSE. This is my stuff.
  • I need to pair down my ‘friend’ list dramatically. I’ve done it before and I can do it again. MY feelings of guilt about ‘unfriending’ need to be put in their proper place.

I was too in my own head about it. “will people disagree? do i keep it light & funny? what’s ____ doing? maybe i’ll check on them.” Way too many emotions tied up into innocent posts about things I care about. On the other hand, people are ALL ABOUT politics and it makes me want to stab my eye out.

Facebook and I have always been friends, and I’ve discussed it before and once again making some rules–incidentally, it was just about a year ago in August, so it was a much needed reminder.

  1. Thou shalt use with caution
  2. Thou shalt be not afraid to block, unsubscribe, remove from social media life or ‘hide’ them forever
  3. Thou shalt not log on or keep the window open
  4. Thou shalt filter out or put people in lists
  5. Thou shalt remind myself: it’s JUST social media
  6. Thou shalt use it to my advantage. Promote my brand, my ideas–I’m sure I annoy other people so they can delete me as easily as I can delete them.
  7. Thou shalt lighten up. Take it with a grain of salt.
  8. Thou shalt have the clairvoyance to shut it down again closer to any election.  Everyone is getting pretty sensitive about every. little. thing.

I’d like to add a new ‘law’ about social media.

~Thou shalt not fall prey to ‘social media’ envy and think that my life is any less fulfilling and make me feel badly about it.

Two weeks in and I have to say: I don’t really miss it. Macklemore said something about ‘finding a different way to get out of bed instead of getting on the Internet” and he is right. I don’t wake, pick up my phone, and feel like I need to catch up. Thankfully, my iPhone is also experiencing a mid-life crisis of its’ own right now (AKA: piece o’ crapola) and ios 7 is not treating it well. It’s not updating anything and shutting down randomly, it only helped me see that I can survive without facebook, email, and pretty much everything.

But I cannot survive without human relationships. Facebook gives us an unauthentic feeling that we know what someone is doing or even more importantly:


and it’s wrong.

If you want to truly know how someone is, ask them. But not on facebook. Most (ok, all) people censor very heavily what they put up on social media since they only want to make their most positive attributes shine, but we miss the stuff of ‘real life’ in there too. We miss life in general.

Life isn’t always so glamorous. I struggle with this message to our young people because they cannot yet rationalize the stack of dishes that goes with that photo worthy meal per say. I needed to remind myself of that too and had even been putting up some mundane photos of my own ‘real life’ because that is the stuff that life is made of. Laundry and cooking are NOT necessarily glamorous tasks but it’s important for us to keep those in mind because they are part of life. Even hearing a friend say, “just doing laundry so I thought I’d call you” can help put the important things in life into perspective.

As we get in deep with the semester and many of you are probably feeling how I’m feeling (drowning but with a straw for life support), this is ONE THING we can cut down on to increase our sanity. Now, some of you may say, “social media is my vacation from reality” and I would say, “go forth” but if you find it a cause of stress in your life like I did, do just like the government and:
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