Social media, work, and being reachable online all the time

I deactivated my Facebook again, then reactivated and deactivated again. It’s not that I hate everything about social media, but some days I just don’t want anyone to contact me and I don’t want to know what other people are thinking or doing. I think I just miss the times in the past when you could turn it all off. If you came home from school, work, or a friend’s house, then you were able to move on and focus on other things. These days, I’m trying to do my work and Chrome is displaying Facebook notifications. Yes, I figured out how to turn that off, but it’s only a small part of the problem.

Here is the problem, essentially: I don’t want to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t want people to send me private messages and then get mad when I don’t respond right away. Sometimes, I don’t want to know every single though passing through everyone’s mind. I often wish I could just move to a cave in the woods for a while and experience something like peace and quiet and being left alone.

My work doesn’t help much, either because I’m a freelancer. I am constantly either working, or looking for more work, checking to see if anyone’s contacted me about work, etc. If I wake up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth, I check for work before getting a glass of water. I seem unable to get away from it. I often don’t leave the house because that could mean missing out on possible work.

I’ve been so stressed out that I’m once again having trouble doing things like opening my mail and making necessary phone calls, such as for doctor appointments. I could go back into therapy, but I am too pessimistic to do so. I don’t have any energy. I feel like if I go back, that’s just one more thing I will need to make time for, and that it will likely result in just going around in circles for years like it did last time. For now, I just want to take a break from communicating with people at all.

More rambling about Facebook

After not having made a post since my flouncepost, I already feel a bit better. I am checking messages but not making a huge effort to look at my newsfeed. Just because other people either like Facebook or don’t want to use other means of contacting people is not my problem anymore. It’s not a good enough reason for me to stay there, because I find it to be a very unwelcoming place. I’ve been complaining about Facebook since I first made an account ten years ago, but every time I’ve deactivated my account there, people pitch a fit and act like I’ve dropped off the face of the planet. This upsets me because Facebook is not the entire internet, it’s just the part of the internet I hate the most. It also confuses me because, when I deactivate, people don’t go to my (many!) websites or use my email, they just bother my other friends to find out “what has happened” to me (as if leaving Facebook means you’ve died). As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t give a shit about me enough to email me or contact me in another way, then you don’t give much of a shit about me, so it doesn’t bother me to not be in contact with you. Writing an email isn’t all that hard.

I also find it amusing when people get pissed off because you don’t respond to a message immediately. One person unfriended me because I didn’t respond to his message for a few hours. Not everyone checks their messages every five minutes. Sometimes I don’t even check them or reply to them once a day, much less multiple times in a day.

I don’t think it’s just that Facebook has made people lazy in communicating though; I think it’s also that people seem to have forgotten that there are other ways to communicate with people. People also seem to have difficulty understanding why anyone wouldn’t want to be on Facebook. I’ve detailed my reasons elsewhere, so I won’t do it again here. But I could summarize by saying that (1) you never know if people are going to see anything you post due to the FB algorithms, and (2) it’s chaotic and that messes with my head.

Why I’m considering leaving Facebook

Since the change of meds and the mania problems beginning last summer, Facebook has been bothering me a lot more. Initially, it was being overwhelmed with so much information. Conflicting stories, sad things, funny things, political things. Usually, if you tell someone you don’t like what’s on your Facebook feed, they assume you don’t want certain political things and remind you that you can unfollow the friend or block things from certain sites. That’s largely not what I am talking about, though.

When I was depressed for a very long time, I was actually quite stable. No crying, no sadness, just sort of a lack of anything. Numbness and apathy. While manic, it’s the opposite of that. Everything cranked up to 11. Disturbing things are really horrifying, funny things are really funny, and so on. Scrolling through a Facebook feed often means going through about 30 different strong emotions per minute, which was more than I could handle. It also made me hyperaware of the fact that my own situation was not the same as that of many of the people I am friends with on there. For example, it would make me sad to see happy photos of people with their boyfriends/girlfriends, families, etc. because I feel like that’s something I won’t ever get to experience. Even seeing selfies is sometimes upsetting to me, because it just reminds me I am so insecure in my appearance that I am terrified of posting photos of myself on the internet.

Elsewhere, someone complained about people complaining on Valentine’s Day about not being in a relationship, saying that relationships don’t fix everything or always create happiness. I don’t think people are necessarily are saying that. Speaking for myself, I am quite aware that many people aren’t always happy in relationships, and I don’t think being in a relationship would make me happy all the time, it’s more that so many people talk about love and relationships being an important part of their life, even the most important part of their life, so of course it can bother people if they have never been in a relationship in their adult life.

Additionally, I always said that I wanted to do something, even something small, to promote awareness of mental illnesses. Posting on Facebook might do that to a small extent, but not when very few people see what you post. I figured a blog would be a better way to go, not to mention potentially help me to interact with other people who have also had problems with mental illness and other things.

I prefer blogs and forums to Facebook for a number of reasons:

  1. Tags, categories, themed forums/blogs – These are completely different from the disordered, chaotic nature of Facebook where every person uses it for a different reason and there are so many kinds of posts and information on your newsfeed. I realize there are groups for that, but sometime it can be hard to find good ones
  2. Your posts more or less disappear after a few hours and no one ever sees them again/no indexing system – This is a big one. If I am going to take the time to write something, even a disordered rant, I might want to keep it around and be able to come back to it for a while. If other people are going to comment on it, it would also help if it stayed around. You can pin posts but that’s not the same as really indexing things on a site or blog.
  3. Quality of discussion – In my experience, there is not much quality discussion to be had. People press “like” and don’t comment, or, in the case of everything I write, they don’t “like” it or comment on it. I’ve had people tell me they read all my posts, which is nice, but I still have very little interaction with people on there. Another part of it may be that, if it’s just going to disappear (more or less) by tomorrow, why bother putting any thought or effort into anything you write there?
  4. I never got the hang of the “social” aspect of social media. Like I said, I guess because my posts are too “grim” or “heavy” or weird or whatever, nobody really interacts with me on Facebook. There are people I have talked to via private messages, but not all that much. I often go for weeks without using PMs on there. And it’s rare that post anything that causes anyone to comment. I don’t want or care about “likes,” but if it’s social media, I guess I would expect some discussion or social interaction on there sometimes. I don’t interact with people on Facebook. On the other hand, I do have long discussions with people on forums, and I do like responding to blog posts.
  5. People get offended by everything. When I say I like discussion, I also mean discussion with people with different points of view. On Facebook, people often get offended if you disagree with something they post and say so, even if you’re polite. It’s much easier to discuss and debate on a forum or blog
  6. Facebook just isn’t rewarding to me. Using it has no particular benefits other than potentially being able to contact people sometimes. On a day to day basis, I might as well be writing longhand in a diary for all the more I talk to people. At least a diary wouldn’t upset me. Hell, I’ve often posted the exact same rants on both Facebook and on a forum and my FB posts were totally ignored, while my forum posts with the same content generated good discussion.
  7. Godawful color scheme. I understand why they wouldn’t have wanted it to turn into a MySpace clone, but the bright background hurts my eyes.
  8. Real names, etc. I don’t like the real name policy. I don’t like people trying to find me on there who I never really even knew or liked. I don’t like how you’re expected to post photos of yourself, and I especially don’t like how people can tag you in their photos.

So anyway, I’m considering just coming here (or certain forums) when I feel like writing about or discussing something rather than Facebook. We’ll see how that works out. I’ll still check my messages there, but more and more, Facebook seems like a colossal waste of time to me.