Around four years ago, I joined the very popular online social platform, Facebook. I remember my brother-in-law, Hansel, saying to me be careful, it is addictive. As soon as I opened my Facebook page within one day I had over fifty friends. I loved it. I started posting pictures of my new baby, Lucia, and I also started reconnecting with people from High School, old jobs, college and even some old friends from Spain. I was never one to post my every thought or anything like that at all, but I enjoyed reading other people's posts, comments and seeing their pictures. Everything was so accessible and right there in my news feed. Sometimes it felt a little bit like intruding in other people's lives, but after all, if you don't want a picture to get out there, why post it? Right.
Pulling the Facebook Plug
Since we live abroad, Facebook seemed like the best platform to keep in touch, send a Happy Birthday post or congratulate an old classmate in her new pregnancy. I never really had any issues with it, since I was pretty much adding only the people that were either friends, family or close acquaintances (if there is such a thing!). What a beautiful baby girl! or How is Enrico doing these days? (since he has always been anti-Facebook) were the usual comments from my Facebook friends. It never really bothered me and if someone was a bit over the top with his or her comments, I just blocked the person. No harm done.
Around a year ago, when I started working as a spinning instructor, more and more people became my Facebook friends. My numbers went from the 200's to the 500's in a heartbeat, plus moving to Indy had a lot to do with it as well. Are you on Facebook? and BAM! another friend. All of a sudden my news feed was packed with advertisements, some people's ridiculous and sometimes quite scary comments that it didn't seem as fun anymore. I guess I can start de-friending half of my list, I thought to myself, but I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings or anything. I know, I know, what the hell? This is ridiculous hurting people's feelings? Completely absurd, but that is how I felt. What started as an addiction became more of a hassle.
If I wanted to have a relaxed dinner with friends and anyone had a camera or a smartphone right after saying cheese! we were all in Facebook. Even though we are all adults here, this scenario brought the typical High School drama...Why wasn't I invited to the dinner party? One of the main reasons why I never wanted to post anything online, other than a picture here and there or my weekly Ay, Mama! column.
I think the moment of truth for me was when I decided to post a comment about equal civil rights for gays. Oh my Lord, big mistake. Republicans, right wing and religious friends were appalled by my comment. The funny thing was that my left wing, democrat, pro-gay rights friends were also commenting on the infamous post. There were approximately twenty-five different comments on my post. It felt like I was moderating a political debate and I was in the middle between my friends. I was ready to quit.
Around three weeks ago, I decided to pull the Facebook plug. I bet you won't be able to last a day! Enrico said laughing at me, but I really wanted to go free, anonymous and I wanted my privacy back. To my surprise, it has been quite a liberating experience. I find myself doing a lot of useful things with my downtime, instead of spending time up-keeping my list of friends.
Don't get me wrong, I think that if you are smart about it and really choose wisely who your friends are, Facebook could be a great platform. Who knows, I may go back in again with a cool pseudonym like Lava Girl so if you happen to see me there and you don't believe in equal gay rights and plan on giving me a hard time about it...Don't even think about sending me a friend request. Ay Mama!
For today's recipe a true addiction: Chocolate souffle. Enjoy!