Face to face with Facebook

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Social media fans may have a bone to pick with me after reading this column about their daily penchant to peruse online posts.

For the record, I’ve chosen, since that method of communication was invented, not to partake.

I realize Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are here to stay, and I’m not dissing them, but as long as I have free will (and no grandchildren) I prefer to keep them out of my personal life.

After spending the greater portion of 40 hours a week and 17 years focusing on a computer screen, enough is enough. I do not want to go home and stare at more computer screens. I do not want to “connect” that way with family and friends.

It’s not always an easy stance to take. Let’s face it. We’re pressured to engage on these platforms. When we don’t we’re counted as old-fashioned, anti-technology, even unfriendly.

But there are better things to do than constantly running along the guinea pig wheel of social media — the endless loop of information and mis-information and compulsive need to know what everyone is doing and to let everyone else know what we’re doing … and what we’re all eating.

That said, I think about those who, for unfortunate reasons, are limited in their ability to communicate with those around them. For them social media connections can be a life raft, keeping them in touch with the rest of the world when the rest of the world may be outside their ability to physically connect.

This is not the time to preach about Facebook’s numerous pitfalls, which have come to light in recent years, nor to site research that suggests we’re losing our true identities at the hand of social media or facing an anxiety and depression epidemic.

I just don’t want to swamp my own boat. As long as I have my independence and my health I can think of better ways to spend my time and engage with friends, family and the environment.

I do understand the compelling attraction social media has in the business world and the need for businesses to cultivate a dynamic presence. Here at the newspaper, those metrics are monitored carefully and goals set. That’s fine. I’m happy the paper is so successful in reaching more readers through online traffic — I’m on the same team.

The day may even come when using Facebook may benefit me.

At least for now, it doesn’t escape me that Facebook couldn’t care less if I personally don’t want what it’s selling. Its customer base is certainly not suffering.

What I do want is more music, more books, more fresh air, more family time … and more of me farther away from a computer screen. I find more relevance and worth in my boots on the path, the rubber on the road, the paddle in the water.

It comes down to what we really need more of — a kind word spoken, a friendly face, the gathering of community, the whoosh of a bird’s wings overhead.

Last words said never: “I wished I’d had more screen time.”

Community Editor Carol Marino may be reached at 758-4440 or community@dailyinterlake.com.

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