Today I took a massive step. Tired of the ugly toxicity of Facebook, I decided to close down my account. If you look for me there you won't find me for I no longer exist. Good-bye 'friends', good-bye Bejewelled Blitz, good-bye hours of trawling through a multitude of status updates only to find them filled with hate, bile and nastiness.
I am a humanist. In fact, I think the term may, actually, be secular humanist. I believe in the over-all goodness of humankind, the over-arching kindness we're capable of extending towards one another in both the best of times and the worst of times. I know humanity is linked by acts and thoughts of love. I believe in the power of one and many.
I really believe this and yet, trawling through the updates filled with ego and hatred this morning, I came to a startling realisation. I would not invite many of the people on my flist into my home to eat with me, so why did I allow them into my house day after day? What, in reality, were they doing to improve life (no, not mine, but their own)? Did they really think spouting hatred at one another was the answer? After some time spent moving back and forth along the various newsfeeds I sat back and wondered just what it was I was gaining from these so-called 'friendships'. And what were they gaining from me?
The answer, it appeared, was absolutely nothing. How could we enrich each other when all we're doing is talking but not listening? Nearly every post I read was nasty either in the original post or in the comments that followed. Opinions were slapped down and nobody really cared what anyone else thought.
And then, finally, came the last straw. I followed this link about friendship and realised, this was it. This summed up my feelings perfectly. I've ended friendships in the past. I've known when a relationship became too toxic to support and needed to be eradicated. I'd culled a bff-situation that had once been the virtual love of my life. I'd severed the bad links in the past and, after the grief of separation, I'd discovered a freedom of thought and spirit that made breathing easier. So it was with Facebook. It was time to acknowledge that the relationship was over and that I needed to move on.
So, I went onto Facebook and gave one hour's notice. I was leaving. What really surprised me was the number of PMs and comments I got supporting my decision. Lee, knowing how lonely I get, tried to talk me out of it. He advised me to cull the false-friendships rather than myself, but in the name of equality I needed to make a sweeping change and so I did. Those who are my true friends are still with me. We can still contact each other to catch up.
Look, end of the day, I really do care about people, both individually and as a group. I don't care what your political leanings are, or your religion, or whether you prefer soy milk over cow's. I don't care if you prefer cats to dogs or Mansfield over Woolfe. Your opinion is important but so is mine. You matter to me. My family matter to me. I matter to me. My membership on Facebook is not important. You are. And therefore, you know how to reach me if you want to talk.