Hello my name is Meghan, I’m a recovering Facebook addict.
(Hello, Meghan! you say).
But I wasn’t always this way! My journey is as long as… as a rant about the DNC posted by someone you haven’t spoken to since college. Let me start at the beginning.
Back when Facebook required an “.edu” address to sign up, I was all over that business. “Meghan is – ” this! “Meghan is – ” that!
Back when it was basically Twitter with a two-word prompt.
Tell us how you are! One of the greatest nights of my life started because I typed “Meghan is sick, send soup” and one of my friends actually showed up on my doorstep, with soup. He played cards with my family while I sniffled and laughed along.
It really was a social network! When I lost my keys in Watters Lobby, they were returned to me by a Facebook friend. Those heady, early days seem so long ago!
As Facebook branched out into games, I boasted a Farmville farm of epic proportions. I’m not ashamed to admit I spent hours clicking from one square of strawberries to the next, setting alarms to harvest my tomatoes. Yeah, I was totally hooked.
Facebook first thing in the morning, Facebook into the wee hours of the night.
Over the years I started to feel more and more alienated from Facebook; ironic, because I thought the point was to feel more connected. Throughout my twenties, I accumulated friend upon friend and smoked a lot of weed (explaining every profile picture from 2010-2011); at a certain point I looked at my feed and realized I have no idea who these people are. I don’t recognize these names.
And how in the hell did I become friends with so many babies???
Here’s a baby sitting in a pumpkin, sharing graphic photos of animal abuse and screaming at me to share if I agree that animal abuse is WRONG.
Here’s a toddler posting a rant about Donna Brazile and oh my word he can’t be more than three years old, where did he get all these conspiracy theories?
Here’s a meme about Minions being shared by HOLY SHIT…it’s an ultrasound photo! This child hasn’t even been birthed yet and it’s already got an Internet presence! JESUS Christ!
But without a doubt the peak of the Facebook insanity was November 9, 2016. I spent days thereafter – as many people did – hooked to an IV of pure FB. Grief, anger, and #hashtags.
And then an angel-friend lifted the curtain and showed me the way: “Delete Facebook from your phone,” she urged over homemade mojitos.
My god, COULD I? Wouldn’t I be missing out? I deleted the Facebook app from my phone the next day, along with its creepy stooge, Facebook Messenger.
“It’s not permanent,” I soothed myself. “I can still check it on the web.”
And then, the funniest thing happened. As the days turned into weeks, I found myself forgetting to check Facebook. Forgetting it existed! Oh, at first, I would log on “just for a minute” and then get pulled into it for an hour or so…and then, full days would pass. Notifications piled up.
I missed soooo many birthdays!!!
But the FACEBOOK FEELING had gone! You know that poisonous slurry of anger and loathing, anxiety and sadness? It stopped bubbling up inside me every time I scrolled through the page.
I stopped having to look away as I clicked out of the browser, clutching my chest and breathing heavy. It was just a website. A website full of babies I didn’t recognize posting angry Trump memes consisting of Minions, but still a website. I could log off, and it couldn’t hurt me anymore.
Now, I realize the way I feel about Facebook is kind of the way I feel about waiting rooms:
There’s a TV somewhere on mute playing MSNBC, flooding your eyes with news you didn’t even know you should be panicking about. There are magazines on a table full of celebrity gossip about celebrities you’ve never heard of. Nobody in the room is actually talking to each other; before you know it, you’ve been there for an hour or more and you’re angry at the time your precious life has wasted.
Maybe I’m wrong, but Facebook’s time has come and gone. Disagree? Feel free to share.
Or post your own rant on Facebook! Everybody does it. Just don’t feel too bad if I happen not to share.