Warning this may not seem to have anything to do with yoga. And then again, if yoga is all about being present and aware of everything we do, and how we do it, and if we are trying to live on the eightfold path…. then this has everything to do with yoga.
Did you notice that I have not been on Facebook for a while? It’s true, sometime back in July, I decided to give a give Facebook a wide berth.
Perhaps it was due to spending some time with my friend Gail Hand, author of the recently published guidebook to Facebook entitled: Are You SURE You Want to Post That? This is a great little book, providing essential guidelines on what is appropriate to post on line.
Her book got me thinking about what I was posting on Facebook and why. I had begun to notice that Facebook had become a repository for self-marketing, self-aggrandizement, basic to-do lists and/or manifestations of discontent: “Buy my product, pat my back, I did so many errands today, I won X, or my work is killing me and politics are crazy.”
And before I knew it, I couldn’t think of a single reason to post anything to Facebook. I mean, did folks really want to see my pictures of summer hikes, my gorgeous children, or the 22 pounds of berries I picked and made into jam? Was it necessary for me to clog up the pages of Facebook with announcements of my upcoming classes and workshops. Or was anyone really interested in knowing where I went or reading my thoughts on reality, consciousness or esoteric musings on the nature of the planet?
And so I gave up Facebook. Didn’t even open that tab for close to two months. And I am sorry to say I didn’t miss it. Nope, no withdrawals symptoms here. Periodically it did cross my mind to anti-up and use the FB to do a bit of marketing (self-aggrandizement), but that seemed selfish, so I kept the tab closed. And then there were those moments when I wanted to know how my kids were doing, but that struck me as voyeuristic, so I picked up the phone and called them instead.
Did I save time? Probably, because once you check your status, and all your friends’ statuses and look at everyone’s pictures, an hour (or two) can easily pass you by. I did notice that the amount of time I spent in front of my computer screen decreased, which I think is a good thing. Did I miss reading everyone’s posts? Surprisingly, I did not. I don’t know if I missed anything really important, but the world seems to have gone on just fine without me. Did I feel better/more superior for not “doing” Facebook? Thankfully, No. Did anyone notice that I wasn’t posting or responding to post on FB? – I don’t know, and I kinda sorta doubt it.
So not only could I not find a reason to post, I also could not find a reason to read, scan, peruse, or sleuth about in the bowels of Facebook. The longer I stayed away, the harder it was to consider going back. But as you can see, this is all written in past tense, so go back, I must have.
It was at the beginning of this week. I don’t know how it happened. But somehow, the tab popped open and I stayed to look. The good news, the fantastic news, is that the first thing I saw was a lovely comment on the beauty of the planet, then an inspirational picture of my good friend and fellow yogi, followed by an announcement/invitation to a cause I really care about. Facebook showed me beauty, gave me inspiration and made me smile.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find a reason to contribute a post that would not fall into the category of bragging, marketing or kevetching. I still can’t answer the question “why post?” without the answer boiling down to “come see the cool things I am doing or thinking about” and that still sounds like showing off or bragging to me. But maybe that is ok.
In this busy busy world where computers and cell phones are a way of life, Facebook is now an important marketing tool and a social connector. Yes, it can be a vehicle for simply sharing the tedium of one’s life, or it can be a vehicle of inspiration and change. As with all things, the choice will be our own. And it will be up to each of us to answer the question: what am I posting and why does it matter?
I welcome your thoughts on this. How do you “use” Facebook? Why do you use Facebook? How much time do you spend on Facebook? And anything else you think is important to consider when choosing to go to or post to the big FB.
Have a great week
Shalom & Namaste,