March 9, 2013
Beyoncé Convinced me to Quit Facebook

I deactivated my facebook account a couple weeks ago. Not my photography page — that’s still alive and well. But my personal account is turned off. I have been thinking about this for awhile — in fact, since 2009. It wasn’t until I saw Beyoncé’s film, Life is But a Dream, that it finally landed for me why I was ready to do it.

For some time now, I have found facebook rather annoying in the false sense of connection it brings. Sure, I get to see photos of people’s kids and keep up with people all over the world, that might otherwise be only occasional friends. But there’s something inherently unnatural about that. In reality, we are only in one place at a time. We don’t sense the wondrous pulse of life through someone on a screen, only in real life. And, we don’t get to see the truth of a person if we are only seeing what they have chosen to upload. Real friendships reveal the imperfections and flaws that make us human; the perfect facebook façade will never be quite as lovable as the real-life character who lives and breathes and goes to the supermarket.

Beyoncé commented, in her film, that part of the reason we (as a culture) might be so obsessed with celebrities’ private lives is the way we wake up, log in, and start our virtual life first thing in the morning. She said that being logged in keeps us from knowing the true humanity of a person. I am guilty of sometimes turning off my alarm (on my phone), and then immediately checking social media — before I am even out of bed! What must this do to my concept of existence?

I pride myself on the special time I make for myself each morning: ever since I read the Artist’s Way in 2003, I get up, make breakfast and tea, and write 3 long-hand pages, called “morning pages.” I’ve kept this ritual going, missing only on rare occasions. After visiting Italy, I would make an authentic brand espresso in my stove-top espresso machine and eat cookies. When my IBS flared up, I switched to tea. As I realized I needed protein to start the day, I added in boiled eggs on a torta or a breakfast smoothie. Sometimes I go for hot chocolate, or berries and creme fraîche. Whatever the refreshments, I create a special place for myself to sit down and write each morning, and have done this nearly every day for the last 10 years.

However, even my morning pages have suffered with my social media usage. The entire point is to get a chance to hear the inner whispers of one’s mind, and so if I have already been ingesting information from the outside world via the internet, already my thoughts are skewed, even as I start the day.

Not only were the interactions on facebook not as quality as I’d have liked, they gave the false impression of accomplishment. Sure, it was interesting to have a conversation with a few people on my friends list about a link I just posted, and it felt as one might feel after going out and successfully networking. However, I hadn’t. After the novelty of facebook wore off, I stopped getting queries that way. In other words, few interactions turned into sales, and so it made no sense to continue justifying the time spent there by saying it would generate business. In fact, that false sense of accomplishment kept me from doing real-life networking that might take my business to the next level.

So, back to Beyoncé. What a feeling person. I love how in touch with herself she is. Listening to her speak is deep, like meeting up with an old friend. When I heard her describe how obsessed we are with our computer screen, and how often we fail to know a real human because of that, it hit home for me. I want more quality real-life interactions with human beings. I want to sense their three-dimensionality, the breath in their lungs, their hopes and dreams and insecurities. I deactivated my facebook account that same week.

It has been weird. I am still on twitter and Instagram, and find myself with a few more minutes a day for Pinterest. But I also find myself with enough time to write an in-depth blog each day, to actually hear myself think, and to hopefully give my readers a chance to connect with me on a deeper level. It feels… quiet. I am eager for interaction out in the real world, and have been making more appointments. I am not sure what other changes are coming, but I feel as if I have woken up from a long, convincing dream. It was a fascinating dream. But I’m glad to be awake.

Though, I wonder what place I’ll find to put these random self-portraits I take. Facebook was most certainly good for that. And, to add captions like, “Note the Fiat matching the wall in the background.”

Note the Fiat matching the wall in the background.


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