Like most of us, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. While it has always been obvious that the user is the product on a free social media platform, Zuckerberg’s despicable brand of greedy exploitation of others to serve his own self-interest has its own strain of wanton deceit (obvious to anyone who listened to even a few minutes of the recent congressional hearings). It’s not that I have anything to hide or am a carefully guarded person; it’s that he thinks he’s pulling one over us while he feeds our info to other capitalist sleazeballs whose goal is to inundate our private domains. But, all my interests organized in one convenient location…
I curate my friends list carefully. I unfollow a lot of people that I’m friends with so that their ‘magic of turmeric’ memes or Tom Brady posts don’t take up precious space in my newsfeed. The Events feature helps me keep track of cultural events going on in the city that I may otherwise never know about (especially the quirky ones that pop up only because that eccentric guy that I don’t know very well but has tentacles into all the things clicks “Interested”). With Groups, I cling to interests usurped by painting, with the expectation that I will return to them soon (hello, medicinal herbalism and canine nutrition). My sharer-self is thrilled to find that doohickey that I’ve been wanting but haven’t found is on the curb over on Sycamore Street. (Bing! Intermittent reinforcer.) And so I stay.
Still, every few months or so, I decide that I’m deleting my account. Need to spend more time off-line, living in the present, experiencing the physical world and the (according to studies I’ve seen in my newsfeed) creativity it inspires. If I wasn’t scrolling Facebook, what could I be doing? Writing a blog post on my website? Trying out those new watercolors and pen tips in my sketchbook? Updating my accounting files? Studying the history of some arcane topic? Journaling? Searching gallery shows to enter, or doing a little of that ever-needed marketing stuff?
That does it! I’m leaving Facebook, Honestly, there is nothing there that I absolutely cannot do without, and I have so much to gain. I am going to be so much more productive. I’m really excited to finally be doing this.
And then a picture appears in my newsfeed of a face or an expression that I simply must paint and would never have found anything so perfect elsewhere.
Damn you, Facebook (but thank you, friends).
[Pictured is the underpainting of an oil on board just started. It still needs much work, once this layer dries, but will be on the easel during this weekend’s Somerville Open Studios. Stop by!]