I wanted to do this last month, but I have a wedding that I’m in this month (and everyone is on Facebook (FB)), so I figured it would help me to stay visible in case anyone involved needed anything from me. And sure enough, we ended up planning the bachelor party via FB and it worked out perfectly. Could we have done it without FB? Sure, but I had a feeling that was gonna happen and planned accordingly. But their wedding is the Saturday of this coming Memorial Day weekend, and after that, the list of my single friends who are close to marriage drops off significantly. So this seems like a good time to step away from FB.
How I Got Into Facebook
I started using FB back in 2008 when they were really ramping up their spamming to start spreading the fact they were out there. They had just started allowing non-college people to use it, so I signed up right away (being a techie, I had to see what the fuss was about). At that time, I was married, had my house, my 0.5 children (also known as a dog), a great job, nice car, and life seemed perfect at that time for me. I had a lot of pictures to share, stories I wanted to share. I put it all on FB and it was a blast. People could like and comment, we planned couples stuff, dinners, and trips, and made the most of what the site had to offer. I even remember buying a domain name to host a website to share these things on too, but the pull of FB was really strong at the time so I let the domain expire and go away.
And then in 2009-2010, my personal life started falling apart. My wife left, I had gone through 2 weeks of rehab, had a nervous breakdown, started and finalized a divorce, quit my job, had another nervous breakdown, and after a year and a half of therapy and medications, I lost my house and had yet another nervous breakdown. I thought about deleting my FB profile during all of this too, but decided that in order for me to keep growing and moving forward, I’d have to confront these things head on. I also thought if it helped someone going through similar problems or if they were struggling with depression and suicide, then I could use this as proof that there was hope if they could find the will and drive to keep moving forward. All of this, I posted on FB. You can scroll through my timeline (at least while it’s still up) and see with painful clarity the toll it took on me and those around me.
Using FaceBook to Recover
I made the most of everything though. I started working with animal rescues. I was feeding and cleaning for PAWSibilities and then I started fostering dogs for Thunder’s Angels. I had 7 successful adoptions, and when I knew the end of the house I was coming, I decided to keep my last foster Lobo (my buddy and one of my best decisions). I helped PAWS grow online and through Facebook. I started BizzarTech officially in 2012. I made new friends and a couple of old friends came back to see where I was at and how I was doing. I started working on new projects and websites, and found that everything I had lost was nothing compared to what I was missing out on. During 2011-2012, I chronicled the losing of my house which you can read about through some of the old blog posts on this site, and all of that leads me to where I am today.
The people I’ve met through FB and in real life, and the support I was given changed me. Before all of that, I hated people and fought change. Now I embrace change (I want to write more about this… adding to my TODO list), and have stopped hating people. I wish I could say I loved people, but that’s not where I’m at. They don’t get to be automatically loved. I can trust you if you haven’t burned me. I can help you if you don’t take advantage of it. I will stand with you if your cause is noble and right. But to just love again isn’t something I throw around. I loved the people in my life before everything fell apart, and then to watch them scatter or take sides made me hate them. Not because of who they were, but because of how quickly they could just walk away. I always liked to hope that maybe they felt bad and every now and then would look back to see if I was ok, but the reality is they didn’t. Only a handful had checked in on me, and of those only a couple accepted my FB friend request. And after rumors started swirling, I just unfriended anyone I didn’t feel had my best interests at heart or if I simply wanted to get rid of them.
But FB just hasn’t been the same for me. People are starting to post less and less. They like and share less and less. And even though I love Grumpy Cat pictures, I just don’t feel like it’s worth investing my time and allowing it to be a distraction for me anymore. I don’t need it to feel better about myself, I already have that. I don’t need it to share pictures, I have my own website and better tools than what FB offers. I don’t need it to fight my causes because I will always stand up for what’s right, even if I have to stand alone. I don’t need FB to feel loved and included, I have some great offline friends and family. And no matter what, if all else fails, I have my dogs that will love me unconditionally and want to sit in my lap even if I have my laptop with me. Lobo loves to come over and throw his paws over the arm of my chair and soak up whatever love he can before I want to get back to what I was working on. Rusty will come and lay down at my feet, and then the world just feels… complete.
So what am I going to do?
One of my new goals (something else I want to write more about) is to focus on my ideas and projects to see what’s worth investing more time/energy into, and what needs to be shelved. I want to start writing more blog entries and sharing my life through my website instead of using the lens of FB to help me “promote” through the noise. I want to start dating again and putting myself out there. I want to find love again and believe that people will genuinely care about something other than themselves for a change. I want to focus more on real life instead of the reality of what FB presents us. There is nothing real about FB. You can’t change people’s minds on FB. I tried, it doesn’t work. No one came up to me and said, “hey, I hated that group of people before, but after reading your inspiring story/watching your inspiring video, I changed my mind”. No one on FB will change their mind over anything. I find that a difficult thing to swallow. I can see why people choose to believe certain things and when presented with social choices, they gravitate towards people with similar “likes” and beliefs, but then if all we do is gravitate towards people with the same ideology and beliefs, then how can we grow as people? Where do we get the differing opinions and solid arguments that helps us see the other side? How do we become more enlightened if all we do is spend our time around people with the same light. I just don’t feel that FB is that answer. I’m not sure that is something that can be answered with a website. But the parts of social networking that I like (the sharing, the social interactions), I already have. I can share my stories and pictures. I can share my heartbreaks and headaches and hope other people understand and know that someone understands what it’s like.
For me, I want to focus my attention and time to things that matter more to me than trying to convince a bunch of close-minded, short-sighted people that there is a whole world out there passing them by because they are too busy causing drama or playing games on FB. Some people even cause drama just to watch the world burn or just post things to get a reaction out of people (I’ve done this). Not everyone is close-minded or short-sighted on FB, but I don’t want to waste my time on those people. They will believe whatever they want to believe whether I agree with them or not, and I’m not going to kill myself trying to save them if they don’t want to be saved.
So with that, I’m leaving FB. I’m going to deactivate my account at the end of May 2013 to give me a chance to let people know. I’m sure some people will drop off and possibly lose touch, but I hope not. Everyone I talk to on FB is interesting and I would love to stay in touch with them. But if not and all they wanted to do was lurk in the shadows and never like or post, then I won’t miss that.
If you would like to keep in touch, please email me. Or text me. I won’t answer my phone if you call, but if I have a few free minutes, I’ll get back to you. Otherwise, good luck and thanks for all the fish!