I really mean that. I hear people bitching about it, threatening to quit, whining about what a waste it is, how stupid, maddening, annoying, pointless. That hasn't been my experience at all.
For me Facebook is a gift. A way to connect. A place to share thoughts and observations and remembrances of the Weaver Chicken Rondolet. Facebook has given me a chance to get to know people. Brilliant younger cousins. People just outside my close circle of friends. Hilarious people I knew vaguely in high school, who could have made me wet my pants in person, if only I'd known. And sure, some would argue that I don't really know these people, that I only know tightly edited or masterfully curated version of themselves--but isn't that how it is offline? We're not exactly offering full disclosure in the real world either. Generally speaking, the people I know in "real life", tend to behave much the same way they do on Facebook. Character comes through, for better or worse.
At least once a day someone posts something on Facebook that makes me laugh out loud, or they share something inspiring or thought provoking or (perish the thought) merely pleasant. By "liking" someone's post, I can issue a virtual high-five of solidarity that makes us both feel good. What's wrong with that?
Maybe you hate what passes for political discourse on Facebook. I hate it too. The same way I hate what passes for political discourse on the radio, and on tv, and at family reunions. That's why we have NPR, remote controls, and second helpings of sweet potato casserole, ARE THOSE MINIATURE MARSHMALLOWS ON THERE? YUM I'LL BE RIGHT BACK.
I suppose if your goal is to sit passively by while your eyeballs go tubing down a River of Awesome, then Facebook would be a bit of a disappointment. There will always be something mucking up the feed: the vaguely suicidal status updater, the person who speaks entirely in motivational posters, the dude who would put a pitbull into presidential office if only these gentle, misunderstood creatures didn't get such a bad rap. (Dogs don't kill people, dogs whose owners were raised by people who want to kill people kill people.) Dogs will be dogs. People will be people. Such is life. On Facebook, or off.
But I think there's something bigger at work behind the scenes of all this Facebook fatigue. And it was this Facebook post that brought it into focus for me:
We are a nation of joy junkies. We subscribe to the philosophy that everything in our lives--our friends, our spouses, our kids, our houses, our jobs, our online communities--is supposed to make us happy, happy, happy. As if we have no skin in the game or say in the matter. As if the locus of control resides entirely outside ourselves.
The pressure we place on ourselves to find stuff that makes us happy is immense. So too is our disappointment when our happiness-makers malfunction. We find ourselves banging and waving our joy-entitled fists.
FACEBOOK TIMELINE MAKE HULK ANGRY.
HULK DON'T LIKE "GETTING TIMELINED."
HULK QUIT! HULK JOIN GOOGLE PLUS!
Or maybe Hulk go find new job, or new wife, or new sport utility vehicle with subwoofers.
Hulk want WHOLE UNIVERSE to make Hulk HAPPY.
Hulk DESERVE it.
You know what I think? I think Hulk need to chill the fuck out. Hulk need to make Hulk self happy. On Facebook. And everywhere else.
And so do I. And so do my children, who shuffle up to me some Saturday mornings like I'm their personal cruise director. Yo, Julie. Why we don't see no activities n' shit on your clipboard after 11am? Damn, woman.
I want my kids to go out and find CREATE joy, not summon it, or beg me to schedule it, or, for the love of God, blink into a computer monitor until it appears to them on Facebook.