Why Facebook is making us Historians…
Facebook is troubling me. Now don’t get me wrong, the past 8 years – crikey, has it really been that long?! – I have spent on Facebook (including loo breaks and intervals for refreshments and sleep) have been a blast. I’ve re-connected with old mates, met new ones besides, supported some amazingly worthwhile causes, kept in touch with distant family members, and had a bloody good snoop at what certain people have been up to.
But when all’s said and done I know Facebook has also made me a Historian.
By that I don’t mean I have suddenly become an expert in Ancient Greece or the Neolithic Period. I mean Facebook is making me look back as much as forward. And that’s not such a good thing. Being ‘friends’ with class mates and peers from your school days with whom you’d never normally have kept in contact… and then going off at tangents scrolling down their ‘friends’ lists… and their friends’ ‘friends’ lists, seeing who’s with who, who’s doing what; it’s just another way of regurgitating the past cunningly dressed up in disguise.
It stops us from living in The Now.
Because people don’t always change, and yet they do.
Take last year’s blunder when a guy I was at school with – and a recent addition to my ‘friends’ list – very publicly decided to humiliate my Facebook status about not supporting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. As a follower of metaphysics and a student of the L.O.A (Law of Attraction) – yes, that old chestnut does come up in many of my blogs, and for good reason, it is the basis of The Universe we live in! – I simply don’t believe in illness.
Now I didn’t say it in quite that way.
But I did hint in a gentle and acceptable manner that some of us don’t believe that fighting a problem and putting more focus and attention on it is the answer. Some of us believe that like attracts like, therefore a focus on health and well-being would make more sense if we want to attract the good stuff … far more sense than chucking lashings of ice cubes at one another anyway.
And this was my Facebook status. I was offending nobody. I was perfectly entitled to say whatever I liked… especially after a fortnight of seeing videos of drenched friends popping up left, right and centre. To cut a very long story short, this guy was pretty unkind to me at school. Back then he was a total free spirit, Boho in outlook, as open-minded as they came, and incredibly switched on. Yet still not a nice person. But as is often the case with Facebook, we forgive and forget. We assume people have changed, that they see the world just like us. And in the case of this example, the bully perhaps didn’t like the fact that someone he would have formerly poked fun at because of their awkward appearance and shyness, actually had a voice, and yes, had a pretty nice lifestyle to match. The Ugly Duckling was also nowadays rather a Beautiful Swan. Truth hurts sometimes I guess.
Time hop? How about a Time Cull!
As you can imagine, I had no option but to remove my dear friend. And while I was at it I culled his fence sitting buddies who deviously ‘liked’ his mud-slinging comebacks at my attempts to justify my opinion too. Ha, and to think at school they were the ones who were super prominent. All mouth and no trousers would be a better fitting description nowadays. Oh, many of you guys have these kind of ‘friends’ in your lists too. You know the ones. They like none of your posts, they comment on none of your posts and then bam; they crawl out of the wood work. Do yourself a favour and ditch them now. And don’t even think about the politics. These are the type of guys who would cross the streets in reality to avoid saying ‘Hi’ to you. They are Nosey Little Buggers. Only ever on your Facebook scene at the feint whiff of a little trouble and strife.
You see, this is what Facebook can do.
Like a furtive fox it sneaks up on you unawares and you find yourself back in the school flippin’ playground again. Even writing this blog is lowering my mentality! But bear with, bear with. There are positives to come…
So anyway, a couple of days later (after I have to say, a fair few tears) I dusted myself down, loud speakered it to The Universe that I was taking a Facebook vacation, and made a song and dance style announcement: Whoever dared react to my status updates like that in future, could well and truly ‘Do One’.
As I said, this was my Facebook page, these were my views and blimey, true to my rose-tinted name, it is on but the rarest occasion that I will post anything remotely opinionated anyway. More often than not I suspect my ‘friends’ are tutting and sighing at yet another photo of a cocktail-laden supper, my children tucking into one of my iced masterpieces at their smiley happy birthday party, or sundown at the sublime beach on our doorstep.
I only wanted to make peace with my past.
That was all. That’s the only reason I added so many of those former teenage bullies to my ‘friends’ list. Yes, of course a substantial part of me also wanted to rub it in their face just a little that my life is fine and dandy, but I also genuinely wanted to forgive them. For years I had resented them, hated them, loathed them for the way they made me feel.
And then I realised, it’s only what I think that counts.
Happiness truly is an inside job. I didn’t need the approval of anybody in order to love who I am. I may not have realised that at school, but I certainly do now! And I suspect like me, there are a couple of ‘someones’ out there from your past; school mates who you thought it would be a nice idea to keep in touch with. All your little online huddle of friends from school have him/her on their friends list after all, so naturally he’ll/she’ll want to add you!
But apparently he/she doesn’t want to be your friend, either that or you were so irrelevant at school that they haven’t got the foggiest who you are. Your invite is left out in the cold and you catch yourself grimacing when you see that he/she has left a lovely comment on one of your mutual friend’s pictures of their holiday in Centre Parks.
You (we) are subconsciously reliving the patterns of the past. Time to start facing forward on Facebook.
Yes, sometimes it really is high time to ‘Let it Go’ as per the now infamous theme tune from Disney’s Frozen. Oh, that film has so many lessons to teach us!
Because out with the old always means in with the new.
A day or so after the axing of my Facebook cast, amazing people literally began to trickle into my life. It was no coincidence that by giving those ‘friends’ away, by freeing them back out into the ether and wishing them a wonderful life, I had uncluttered my mind of negativity and paved the way for new and brilliant friendships.
So if you have any toxic ‘friendships’, you know what to do.
Whether it’s of the social media or reality ilk, there is nothing like a good clear out to cleanse the soul, wipe the slate clean and re-infuse yourself with positive vibes. In so doing, you are guaranteed to attract new and wonderful people (hey, even your future husband or wife) into your life… and quickly. This isn’t just spiritual woo-woo; it’s Newton’s Law!
I still love Facebook.
But a friend of mine has perhaps the most common sense rule ever: Your Facebook friends should only be those who you would really (and she means really, really) invite to your house for a cuppa and a piece of cake.
And that’s a jolly good way to live the Book of Face by I think… maybe I will re-name it Face-to-Facebook.