Is now the wrong time to leave Facebook?

Column by Andrea W. Doray
Posted 3/31/20

On Feb. 14, I posted the following to Facebook: “Hi Friends! I have decided to take a hiatus from Facebook, for a variety of reasons ... weariness chief among them. I’ll be deactivating my …

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Is now the wrong time to leave Facebook?

Posted

On Feb. 14, I posted the following to Facebook:

“Hi Friends! I have decided to take a hiatus from Facebook, for a variety of reasons ... weariness chief among them. I’ll be deactivating my account this weekend. Sorry to miss your updates and messages. If you’d like to keep in touch via email, text, etc., and you don’t have that info, please private message me soon. Ciao!”

Reactions to this announcement were gratifying and supportive … we’ll miss you but we get it. Some suggested I block notifications but not go complete deactivation mode.

As it turns out, I got distracted that particular weekend and never got around to deactivating my account. I also neglected to block notifications so Facebook emails and texts kept buzzing with updates. (I don’t remember granting permission to receive texts … probably an opt-out thing vs. saying, yes, I want my phone to blow up.)

I ignored those notifications, even the birthday reminders, which – aside from sharing these columns – are my favorite feature of Facebook. I let notifications glide by, out of sight, even those in which I was tagged … kind of like putting myself on permanent “away” status.

My decision to leave Facebook was indeed weariness, weariness driven primarily by politics. I found that being outraged and obsessively passionate about events out of my control – such as the impeachment proceedings – were particularly toxic to my well-being.

Add in the primary race. The surge in racial violence. The grotesque Weinstein trial. The continuing debacle on the border. Lies, lies, lies, and more lies.

I was done. I stopped clicking on New York Times headlines and eschewed the local and national news. I issued my Facebook declaration.

Then, the emergence and ultimate explosion of the coronavirus changed all that. It suddenly became more important than ever to keep track of head-spinning developments around the world. To understand if and how we are responding in the U.S. To keep up to date on the impending plans for shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders.

Then, people – those who could – began to work from home. Restaurants and a myriad of other business were closed. Toilet paper hoarding made headlines. Eggs and milk became almost impossible to obtain.

We learned that social distancing of six feet was approximately the length of two golden retrievers standing nose to nose. We received the anticipated stay-at-home orders.

It’s pretty easy to feel isolated and out of touch amid this chaos. That’s why it dawned on me that now is the wrong time to leave Facebook. Never a power user to begin with, I’ll ease back into this larger world of friendships, of fun photos, of wry cartoons, of support and generosity and inspiration.

Via this column, I’ll make my reappearance on Facebook. I’ll take note of the notifications and – most importantly – offer birthday greetings to all these wonderful people.

Quite simply, I’m back.

Andrea Doray is a writer who believes that, together, we can get this done. Contact Andrea at a.doray@andreadoray.com

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