This week I took Facebook off my phone (though I still get alerts for some reason.) I haven’t yet decided on whether or not to remove messenger. I don’t mind people getting in touch with me through it. It functions more like email.
I found myself looking at my phone a lot for awhile, then remembering, there’s no stream of information. Nothing to follow. I read my email, maybe a blog, but then it’s back to reality, baby.
A few days later, I took it off my kindle. Now I don’t check facebook before I start to read. I just start whatever book I’m reading and become engaged in a long insightful story. Or, I pick up an actual paper book, and let myself get lost in another person’s story, or the story of natural history, or the way our brains work.
Now the only place I can check facebook is by sitting down at my desk and deliberately looking at it, checking on a few people. I read a post that seemed pretty benign, a joke, but turned into a lot of argumentative comments, and I turned the damned thing off. Still, I felt residual anxiety about needing to inform the people I disagreed with. As if that would make a difference. They aren’t going to make a difference in the way I think. Not in the small, hostile comment format.
It’s an addiction, facebook. I have an addictive personality, in many ways. I also tend to fester over things that make me anxious, things I hear about from others. I feel my own powerlessness over it all. And yet, I keep on looking into that small screen of the world, and thinking I can somehow make a difference. Or maybe it’s a kind of thrill seeking.
My goal with my own facebook page was to share my art, share others’ art, and add a little bit of beauty to other people’s day. I shared serious matters, too. I found a community of people dealing with long term disabilities like me. But it all got overwhelming in this past year. Maybe the whole world was going to hell in a handbasket. All that anguish, it colored my life.
Then I realized I can do all I want to do online with just my blog, and by reading other people’s blogs. Blogs are more thoughtful, I think. We take a little more time, it’s more lie an essay. It’s a long deep breath, not a short sharp gasp.
There were so many times this week that I thought, I should put that on facebook. I’ve become used to looking at the world in terms of whether it will make a good facbook picture/post. The first few days, it really was like withdrawal. What will I do with all my photos?
Well, I found I could edit my photos a little bit. And then if I want I can share them here, with you. Friends who support and make time for me. Comments can be made here. Communication can happen. There are no algorithms to worry about.
I’m happy if people share my blogs on facebook or twitter or reblog them. But my job is to deepen and improve my art. That’s what I can do to make the world a better place. Open my eyes to it all, paint and write.
Thanks to all the new subscribers and Patreon supporters. I hope we all take a deep breath, hold on to our sanity, and take some time to see what it blooming all around us.
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