28 August 2015

No ouch!

Well, I went ahead and ripped the bandage off—I pulled myself off of Facebook. I have had enough of peering into the exciting, happy lives of every one else. I might say that over the years that I have kept a Facebook page only twice did I learn something that actually affected me, and both times I probably might have found the news out anyway: I did not need Facebook to become informed. If the claim is made that Facebook has made the world smaller, I would respond that for me Facebook has made the world too large. On the one hand I get posts from people who I do not even know. Some time in some past I must have either added them as friends (of which I might have been in need) or they are friends of my friends and somehow their posts end up on my page. There are too many people. On the other hand, the posts from people I might appreciate hearing from either will not ‘friend’ me—my daughters, for example—or refuse to have a Facebook page in the first place. The people I would see are too far away.
          Of course, the people who won’t friend me (thank goodness I mostly say) nevertheless remain in constant contact via text messaging or less often, phone calls. The former seems to be the preferred mode of communication, though how one engages in serious conversation about complex issues poking about on that tiny screen with my thumbs baffles me. The space allows for mostly a full sentence or two, but sometimes I like to extend my talk. Thoreau says that sometimes he must place the chairs on opposite side of the room to allow space for the discourse to roll out, but the little space for text messages on my phone tends to roll me up.
          I am separating from social media and it feels like I am entering a monastery (even more isolating since I am Jewish) where silence is the order. I am anxious (in its several meanings) to see how the silence affects me.
          But I am also preparing to re-enter the classroom. Meetings (argghh!!) begin this week and classes the next. It will be a very slow start because the Jewish Holidays happen to fall on just those days that I teach. This new year seems the most appropriate time to remove myself from Facebook. The classroom and its inevitable connections is for me a preferable way to communicate, and of those who are farther away . . . well, we have always found a way.
          I look forward to the structure the classroom provides me. Not a terribly disciplined person, or at least at this moment without a discipline to direct me, I anticipate having somewhere else to go, a phrase I learned from a dear friend who has no Facebook page. The classroom offers me community, purpose and an environment in which to consider the issues that have long concerned me both professionally and personally. When I enter the classroom I feel at home.


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