Confessions of a (Former) Facebook Goddess

disco queen 

   Most people would die rather than quit the social media form known as Facebook. Yes, I said that, and you’ll get no quantitative research turning living, breathing human beings into numbers from which to draw conclusions for my opening declaration. I speak from five years of experience. Though I did quit Facebook and, as you can see, lived to tell about it. Quitting FB cold turkey was not easy – is not easy. I have been forced to come face-to-face with some personal truths – those two glasses of nice wine truths that slip the dark bonds of one’s heart and make it to the light of the page – this page.

  I miss Facebook now, in a calm moment, because I understand the democratic beauty evident in offering everyone a platform from which to put forth ideas. I am sad too because it is the birthday of a dear friend and I can’t show her (and others) how clever I am by sending a picture of a cute birthday cake (purloined from some other site) and telling her to take a “BIG slice of HAPPY.” Personal truth # 1: Until I quit, I never acknowledged those self-aggrandizing Facebook moments (of which there were many). Why did I spend so much time on Facebook in the first place? Surely time could have been better used to complete (more than a few) writing endeavors, listening to lectures, reading novels and book reviews, and attending to my personal blog left unattended with no creative additions from me. Personal truth # 2: I was (am?) a Facebook addict. Many times I had been accused of being addicted to Facebook over my adamant objection to the contrary. I even invoked the addict’s creed, “I can quit anytime I want.” I couldn’t acknowledge any thoughts of addiction as I continued on what had become one of the major slippery slopes of time-wasting elements in my retired life. My thinking became corrupted with all the power afforded me by the Facebook platform (read soapbox). I found myself judging others who would spend entire days on Facebook complaining about their hyper-active, rambunctious kids, messy houses, absent spouses, rowdy students, and rude coworkers. “If they didn’t spend so much time on Facebook maybe their kids wouldn’t act out, their houses would be cleaner, and their spouse would return.” I had dissolved into an opinionated mass of objection and lecture on anything cultural and, especially, anything political. I have used my timeline as an emotional bully pulpit to further my political judgments and set any offending white person straight on their misguided use of cross-cultural expressions. I was an equal opportunity offender; everyone deserved the right to my opinion. It wasn’t long before I started my morning, coffee in hand, at my keyboard attempting to insert some creativity in what should have been, if anything, simple responses. And by the end of three hours I could be found sitting small and emotionally exhausted in my desk chair – having leaked all creative energy in responding to misspelled info-graphics (a pet-peeve that I felt compelled to share with everyone), ignorant politicians, and horrendous, heart-numbing videos that pulled back the curtain on some of the most heinous, inhumane examples of the human species. And there I was – ultimately reduced to railing against the darkness in us all. I knew I was approaching addiction when, in an effort reduce resistance, I culled my list of Facebook friends, jettisoning all those whose politics ran antithetical to my own. (So much for enjoying a diversity of opinion). In-spite-of this culling, I managed to offend – even those people with whom I was in total political affinity. I was hell-bent on getting my opinion across by any means necessary, letting readers know my 60’s & 70’s big-city California job, Compton High School street-cred as I angrily pounded the face of any disagreement with my varied life experience. I was right. Always and forever. It wasn’t long before this anger infested every part of my social discourse on and off Facebook. I was rabid – snapping and  biting at any thought of injustice in my self-righteous attempts to single-handedly stamp out ignorance and wickedness. I’m sure I had no pulse until I responded to some bit of backwards wisdom in need of social correction. Many times I lamented that stupid people should not be allowed on Facebook. As a Facebook Goddess (and addict) I could say that. Personal truth # 3: I spent so much time on Facebook because it was a way of feeding my ego. Facebook presents a quick fix for the narcissist in us all. But for me, it afforded undiscriminating recognition of the underappreciated writer within. On Facebook, I’d get my acceptance in small sweet doses administered when unseen hands simply clicked the word “like.” Oh, the power in that word and the time wasted in believing it a code for ‘worthy.’ Personal truth # 4: The fault was not in Facebook but in myself. I failed to see that I am on the same road as every other author aspiring to a book offer. I took a Facebook quick fix that doesn’t quite feed a soul in need of honest feedback. There are no shortcuts to writing and editing. We all deal with the demon of procrastination – a demon strongest when we sit down in front of the blank screen; a demon easily sated with the neat white print embedded in the inviting blue background of my Facebook Log in. Now, all I have to do is sit at my desk and perfectly order those 26 letters at every writer’s disposal – a task not nearly as easy as becoming a Facebook Goddess.

   Currently we are experiencing a social upheaval regarding privacy and how much information purveyors of social media should be privy to. A month ago, I too, entered the argument castigating Facebook and other social media for using information about us in secret ways. But yesterday, as I listened to the radio and arguments pro and con on the use of information that is freely offered up by most users of Facebook, I was reminded of an old Polish saying (yes, from Facebook). I turned the radio off knowing this Facebook argument is “[no longer] my circus – [no longer] my monkeys.

I Don’t Want Much…



There are some systems that shouldn’t be tampered with – the IRS, a good relationship, or sleeping babies and puppies come to mind. But, for the sake of civilization, I have to  tamper with the foundation of our communication. Yes, the alphabet. My problem with letters can be traced back to childhood where I had to continually sub -vocalize those powerful 26 letters in the order I learned them whenever I had to alphabetize something. I carried this habit into adolescence and even…into high school. There I was, 15 years old, working a summer job in the guidance office where filing was the order of the day. Needless to say, I gave those 26 little beasts a real lashing; ABCDEFG…. I’m sure at least one of my college recommendations contained the parenthetical evaluation, “should do well once she learns the alphabet.”  In my weaker moments I worried about my condition – my dirty little secret if you will. Declaring an alphabetical truce I moved on with my life of disordered letters until my, then, nine year-old niece (Tiffany) picked out her favorite letters from her handwriting tablet – there were six of them; E, A, N, T, D, O. I asked her why she liked these letters more than the others. She said, “cause they talk more.”  Two things became crystal-clear that day – one was, I never had a dirty little secret (at least that wasn’t one of them). And the other epiphany was that the entire alphabet should be rearranged because some letters are clearly misplaced. For example, E should be first. It appears to be the most used letter so why send others and me with my condition on a sub-vocal roller coaster ride? If we put E first then D, A, N, T, O should follow though not necessarily in that order just as long as they are on the good side of M – I have to admit M is right where it should be  – beautifully balancing linotype order and a writer’s desire. Now I have a problem J and k. Seriously, these two must be extremely well connected to have gotten this far up the letter ladder. J and K don’t work well in pairs, at least not like T and H or E and T. I really love T and hope to find out just what letter god was so offended by T’s personality that it would be put after Q!   The letter Q should be stripped of its free-speech rights because it is obviously part of the one percent, living as it does, vicariously off the good graces of C and K. (There will be no room for posers in my alphabet). I haven’t overlooked L which is in it’s right place at the helm of M. The letter L provides an orthodox antecedent M N O P. This well-established Letter is the locus of every child’s verbal trip through the arguable 26 – just listen the next time the pre-schooler in your life recites the alphabet,  “…ellen em opee…” This is pronounced with a fair amount of gusto as the recitee knows s/he is more than half way home. And then comes  X – a clear case of a well balanced, good looking letter so, like Q, an obvious concubine of, in this case the letter Z who truly does all the work.   I don’t trust the letter Y.  Why? Really, how can I trust a letter that clearly can’t make up its mind if it wants to be a vowel or a consonant – that “sometimes Y” expression is really a hedging of bets here. I want Y to take a stand – even if it has to stand alone like the letter I. (There’s a lot of courage in I). And finally, there’s Z.  My friend the Zippo lighter with the image problem (in an age of gold-plated devices).  Z has been the mule for the bad law firm of X,T & S far too long. This deceit must stop. I’m thinking a good self-help seminar would help with Z’s poor self-image.

So, there you have it, the culmination of thousands of letters and more trips through the upper and lower 13 than I care to count. Do I still sub-vocalize the alphabet when called upon to alpha-order names and such?  In this age of high-tech programs and processors that can do the bidding of human beings – don’t even ask.