Why I want to leave Facebook

It is somewhat ironic that my blog will be posted to my Facebook account as it will soon be my last post to this social media.

I do not take this decision lightly but, for a variety of reasons, I have felt that it is time to divest myself of this form of social media.

When I first joined a number of years ago, I felt excited that I would be able to make new acquaintances, friends and renew old friendships that had fallen by the wayside.

It was so cool to do a search and find friends whom I had lost contact with years ago. It was like a reunion of my friends and family.  I made HUNDREDS of friends requests and in a very short period of time, I had amassed over 500 “friends”.

There were friends like Shelley, Dawn and Jan – people I had worked with in the Pet Industry all those years ago in Edmonton.

There were friends like Beth, who I grew up with in St. Albert (someone I still hold dearly in my heart after almost 50 years).

There were FAMILY – like my cousin Wout and cousin Nance and her daughter, Tjalline – who live in the Netherlands.  It is so cool to reconnect with relatives I haven’t seen in years. Family like Kathy and Shelley – people who fill my heart with love.

Then there are my “logical family” (as opposed to biological family).  Thanks to Armistead Maupin for providing me with the best term ever for my chosen family.  Debbi, Elaine, Sharen, Glen, Laura, Pam, Scott, Pat, Barb and so many more.  If I was a religious person, I would consider myself blessed to have so many amazing people that I can count on to give me joy, laughter, tears, and love.

There are those friends who are only friends on Facebook but, I still consider them friends:  Chris, John, Mona, Tracy, and more.  While we occasionally talk, I know that you are there and it gives me a smile every time.

Then, there are those friends who started off as friends only on Facebook and as acquaintances in the theatre but, became so much more:  Tracy L, Heather E, Caitlin C, Jill R, Chris D, Yasmin and so many more.

I started to clean up my friends lists a few years ago as there was no way that I could have conversations on a regular basis with over 500 people.  I whittled down the numbers to eventually settle in at 200 friends, family and acquaintances.

It is the over 200 of you that give me reasons to smile each and every day.

YOU ARE THE REASONS TO STAY.

But, now there is the reasons to say goodbye to Facebook:

Posts that come through my feed are often filled with vitriol, anger, bigotry, ignorance, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and worse.  Well meaning people share these so that they can make me aware that the world is cruel, shallow, hurtful and downright mean at time.

These are the posts that have convinced me it is time to leave this platform.

Once upon a time, people were able to disagree with each other and do it politely.  Argue with reasoned, well thought points of view.  That doesn’t happen anymore.

Today alone, I saw a post attacking our Prime Minister – claiming that because of his “incompetence” there was Sharia law and people of Islamic faith attacking law-abiding citizens.  This post was blatant propaganda and insulting to anyone with a conscience or a modicum of intelligence.  Yet, the comments I read were from bigots claiming that this is what our country is devolving into.

Another post showed grown adults in positions of power attacking young people whose lives had been shattered by the unthinkable: a gunman shooting 17 of their friends, classmates and teachers.  These adults were calling the survivors the most horrific names, claiming they were “actors” and had no business demonstrating against a corrupt terrorist organization called the NRA – (damn straight – this organization is a terrorist group – no doubt in my mind)

Another post showed leaders of various mainstream religious groups advocating my death (well, not me personally, but, people who share my sexual orientation) by stoning.

Here was a post about a mainstream religious leader who is forced to leave his post because he was caught masturbating in front of a member of his church.

We have a man in control of one of the most powerful countries in the world, openly mocking people who have disabilities, advocating sexual assault on young women, calling immigrants of all nationalities rapists, thieves, drug dealers or living in “shithole countries”.

At each of these posts, I have, in the past called out the poster asking for FACTS to prove their point.  I have asked them to not resort to insults or epithets.  I have asked for polite discourse to see if there is common ground or a way to work together.  In turn, I have been insulted, threatened, told that I don’t know what I am talking about and shut down with a volley of slurs.

The anonymity that a computer keyboard brings has lessened us all.  So many people can simply type the most profane things, post them and sit back and laugh.

I have to admit that I have sometimes done the same thing.  I have resorted to insulting #45 – I still can’t bring myself to call him anything but that.  The man is simply loathsome and while his appearance is repellent to me, it is no excuse for me to attack his looks.  I will, however, call him out on his lack of experience, his lies, his attacks on minorities, his blatant disregard for the rule of law and so much more.

It is the absolute hatred that I see each and every day on this platform that is convincing me to leave.  I simply don’t have it in me anymore.

So, I will leave Facebook.  I think it is for the best.  This is just like breaking up with someone.  I don’t want to leave, but, for my peace of mind, my sanity and my sense of self-worth, it is best if I cut the ties that bind us.

I am not going far, though.  I will still have my twitter account and you are all invited to read my blog – I will do my utmost to continue to write stories that have a positive impact on my life.

I can’t go without sharing stories about my family – my mom’s journey with dementia is one of those stories that fills me with joy and sadness.

I can’t go without sharing stories about my husband, Alex.  He is one of the most amazing men I have ever met and I consider myself lucky to be married to him.

How could I not share stories about my furry family:  Phantom and Beau my two dogs,  Patches and Caramel – our two bunnies – LESBIAN BUNNIES – (take that John Oliver and Marlon Bundo!!!!), our rescue budgies:  Tiny and Lucky.  Even our fish – we have some pretty cool fish.

How can I not share stories about our upcoming travels?  These are things I want to share and happily, too.

I will begin the process of shutting down my Facebook account in early April.  I will be in touch…..

Al

 

Published by Al Zylstra

a somewhat erudite wannabe writer with aspirations of not putting people to sleep with my prose....

2 thoughts on “Why I want to leave Facebook

  1. I wish you well Al….this was very well written and as of late I have had similar thoughts. Although I too have wonderful friends from many walks of life, FB also leaves a lot of negative feelings inside me at times. Twitter might be a better route. Will have to learn more. Cheers!

    Like

    1. You linked more pain than pleasure to being on Facebook and are one of the brave ones who left! I’m glad that we still have Messenger and Skype my friend 🙂 Always standing up for what’s right, I love you Al!

      Like

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