The Facebook Megillah
This is a collection of aphorisms and advice gleaned from my insights and actions (I&A), which are themselves scoured and transcribed from the Morning Pages I write almost every weekday. They were written as advice to myself, but I share them here with everyone who is seeking a saner engagement with the virtual world.
Presented in chapter and verse form, in the spirit of the Purim holiday today. Hopefully it will do some good, for both the author and the reader.
1. There has to be a place for you to put all the harsh, angry stuff that you are feeling about issues that matter to you, because sometimes these things need to be said.
2. By stifling them, you stuff it back inside, and they turn into self-hatred, really; bottling them up is not good for your soul or your body.
3. It was a big mistake to unfriend various people on Facebook over the years; they cared enough for you to become friends in the first place, and presumably they wanted to be friends with you for a reason.
4. You never know who you are reaching on Facebook, and the effect you are having on them.
1. Facebook has been like gas on a fire or acid on a wound.
2. Too much Facebook really is poison for the mind.
3. It seems that the world is going to hell a lot faster in social media than it is in real time; and it looks and feels so much worse than it really is.
4. As long as you continue to let yourself get sucked into the social networking vortex, you will never get anything done outside of work.
5. It’s a major blocking device that that’s too easy to reach for every morning, and once you’ve taken your first hit, then that’s it for the day.
6. Too much Facebooking makes you feel spent, toxic.
7. It diverts your attention from your surroundings and the people you are with.
8. It cuts your attention span into deficit-disordered pieces that are completely out of sync with each other and the rest of you.
9. Your art suffers for it, your reading suffers for it, and your scheduling and get-up-and-go suffer for it.
10. Why give yourself further agita—isn’t this, after all, succumbing to the bullshit that’s going on in the world of virtual reality?
11. It is not the smartphone that is at fault but rather Facebook, because without Facebook, the smartphone becomes nothing more than a useful tool; so that is the way you need to keep it.
12. Facebook is a real cesspool of hate sometimes, and you need no part of it.
13. The more you are on Facebook, the more your creativity suffers.
14. It is so much better to not have your brain polluted by all the crap coming through the sewer pipe that is the so-called information superhighway; it feels like the entire brain is compressed into a cube the size of a smartphone.
15. And then the brain, now the size and shape of a smartphone, is constantly pounded by the relentless barrage of other people’s information; which is most often, especially these days, comprised of bad news and even more bad news.
16. Facebook addiction causes depression; to whatever degree, that is what has been happening in your life lately.
17. Facebook is just not that necessary in life; you can get so much more done when you stay off of it.
18. By being on Facebook all the time, you only cheat yourself out of time better spent on doing more productive things; for you, as well as for others.
19. Keep your nose out of Facebook.
20. Haven’t you just about had enough of all the blood, death, torture, murder, rape, war, fire, and general heartbreak that seem to be at the core of all the news and social media? This is another sound reason to stay off the “smart”phone and Facebook.
21. The distraction factor greatly outweighs the benefits that you get from the smartphone device.
22. You need to cut out the distraction; not only because it interferes with human conversation and interaction, but also the way it gets in the way of your own creativity and artist’s eye, and ear, and all senses.
23. There really is no need to post things as they are happening; you need to keep your eyes and ears open to the things that are going on all around you.
24. Your art can really suffer because of the “smart”phone and the distraction it brings.
25. Not only does it interfere while you’re trying to do things throughout the day, but if/when you pick it up first thing in the morning, it messes up your concentration for the WHOLE DAY.
26. You don’t need to be a “news service” posting/reposting every little thing you see and getting all faux-outraged about them.
27. Seems like everybody out there is outraged about something; you don’t need to get on Facebook to be outraged.
28. It’s hard to face the world not having Facebook as a buffer; but that’s why it is called “Face”book—you face the “book” instead of facing the world.
29. Reading a book or a magazine is different and takes a different kind of concentration than Facebook; in fact, Facebook breaks up your concentration into little pieces and is not good for focusing or big-picture thinking.
30. We become so used to this convenience that the “smart”phone affords. But the price to pay for this convenience is the ability to focus and accomplish everything else in life.
1. It’s time to step out of virtual reality and into actual reality.
2. GET OFF FACEBOOK; or at least set a schedule for it.
3. It is time to take an extended “Facebreak,” as some friends have done: Leave the page up, but only with a disclaimer showing, and then get off.
4. Take a break from virtual reality so that you can inhabit actual reality; turn all your misspent creative energy toward creative endeavors.
5. Facebook takes up a HUGE portion of your mental real estate; that has to stop.
6. Life in the REAL WORLD goes on; you want to be part of THAT LIFE, not a virtual life.
7. It is not life when lived in virtual reality where all communication is done in status updates and comments.
8. The hardest thing about taking a Facebook hiatus is you have to readjust your thoughts so that you don’t think in terms of what to post online or not.
9. Once you’ve taken a hiatus from Facebook, you’ll see all sorts of things happening, like being more productive and able to focus.
10. A Facebook hiatus feels liberating; you feel so much better without your mind cluttered or your mental space occupied.
11. That pseudo-world goes on without you; and you without it.
12. It’s not easy, not having Facebook to distract you; it’s withdrawal.
13. One of the unfortunate side effects of a Facebook fast is the lack of community in life.
14. But you need to do this if you’re going to be an artist; otherwise you’ll just live in virtual reality forever, and you wouldn’t want to do that.
15. A Facebook fast is a wise idea, to clear your head and not to be a conduit for negative energy, whether from the world to you, from you to the world, or from one part of the world to another part of the world through you; the bad vibes must stop with you.
16. After a fast, there will be no going back to all Facebook, all the time.
17. The Facebook fast is for the purpose of getting used to having a life without it; not deprivation for some sort of magical asceticism or saintliness.
4. But if you’re already on it ...
1. It takes effort and willpower not to get sucked into the Facebook vortex.
2. Not every comment needs to be answered.
3. If they don’t remember it, it isn’t worth reposting.
4. Your friends have to trust your judgment that you know what you’re posting and you know who will see it; you do not have to walk on eggshells, going through life worrying about who will see what where.
5. If any friends want to take issue with what you wrote, you can be more than happy to debate them; but if jackasses come in with gloves off, you don’t have to deal with them.
6. Unlearn the pattern of thinking in terms of status updates.
7. Whenever you feel like posting a status update, write it in a small notebook or pad.
8. Use apps to display and promote your art.
9. You don’t need to be connected all the time; being off the grid is a good thing.
10. Getting off Facebook can be the best thing you can do; let it work for you, not you be a slave to it.
11. The whole reason for you as an artist to get off Facebook is to make room for your creative endeavors; blogging is not one of them.
12. It is best not to get caught up in the Facebook news feed; it is something that stymies your creativity and focus.
13. NO smartphone BEFORE writing; NO smartphone WHILE writing.
14. It would also be good to be on Facebook less; not a hiatus or a fast or a break, but just to be on it less and gravitate more to the creative tasks you want to accomplish.
15. It is difficult to stay off of Facebook, and it’s even more difficult to keep from being a conduit of bad news and bad vibes; but that’s what you must do—keep from getting sucked back into that.
16. If you avoid smartphoning completely until you get to your desk at work, you’ll do it less throughout the day, and your other things will be accomplished; but if you let yourself get on the smartphone while you’re still home, that sets the stage for the whole day, and that’s what you want to avoid.
17. When you do get online, focus on the creative and the personal, and avoid the political at all cost; do not be an accessory to terror (which, when you think about it, is all you become when you rebroadcast all the bad news), nor let yourself get terrorized by all of this.
18. Don’t use your social media presence solely to keep broadcasting terror and bloodshed, because broadcasting about it MAKES YOU AN ACCESSORY TO IT; you don’t want be party to any of that.
19. Keep your own counsel as to with whom to associate.
20. Don’t accept anyone who comes in with guns blazing; if they do, they shouldn’t be surprised when you fire back.
21. You don’t need ‘friends’ who never post or like anything positive on your page and only show up to yell at you when something you post tweaks their misplaced sense of social conscience; you don’t need such negativity in your life, so good riddance to such ‘friends.’
22. What is it with such people that they totally lose it like that? They see the world through their own jaundiced eyes and project all their bogeymen onto whoever might be a shade resembling those bogeymen.
23. You are not any of the things these whackjobs say; it’s their own neuroses coming to distort their view of reality, and such people get blocked.
24. Once you’ve reached a point where you are in touch with whoever you need to be in touch with, you don’t need to seek out any others.
25. Stop being afraid of posting things that might bring some controversy along with them; take a stand on things that matter to you.
26. Don’t be one of these John Dickinson types who, per the words of John Adams in 1776, “hang to the rear on every issue, so that if we go under, you’ll still remain afloat!”; that was not a flattering description.
27. Avoid Facebook as much as you can; not to the point of deactivating, but certainly not getting on first thing in the morning, not being on it on the bus all the time, not being on it at work, and not always thinking in terms of what to post all the time.
28. If you just keep a log of what to post or look up as you go along during work—without actually doing it until you’ve reached the specific time you’ve set for that purpose—you’ll do a lot better for yourself and get a lot more done in the real world.
29. If you’re going to get on your computer in the evenings, do it for creative purposes only or mostly, and not Facebook.
30. But more than all this: YOU NEED TO STAY OFF FACEBOOK FOR MOST OF THE TIME.
31. Remember—Facebook works for you—not you for it.
32. And for the love of G-d—don’t turn into a phone zombie.
©2019 The Hesh Inc.