My FB feed is almost completely empty.
I am in my own echo chamber.
Things are awkward.
I am thinking even more about my previous posts than before (Thanks FB Memories On This Day) … I re-read them and listen.
(I really did think about them a lot before I posted, but some were quite slapdash. )
Things that I would think before posting:
“Who isn’t going to like this and do I care?”
“Who is going to troll me or beat me down because of what I posted and why? Are they on my friend list?”
“I’m tired, I know my grammar sucks and my message is messy; we all do it, who is going to beat me down about that?”
“Do I really believe what I am posting right now, or am I just looking for reactions and interactions?” ( These are posts without any preface in commentary. Posts that I know will be catalytic, they are usually highly commented on, or left as silent posts no one seems to see. In this case I always wonder, “What are my ‘friends’ capable of?”)
“Am I just lonely right now, looking for conversation?” ( I like thought provoking, mind expanding and controversial conversations… can I create a breeding ground of bias or honest offerings?)
“Who is willing to be raw in public?”
“Is this a feisty post meant to ruffle feathers because I feel like stirring the proverbial pot right now? ” ( I have nothing to physically hit in my frustration. Is this a universal feeling in the moment or is it me, being the ultimate weirdo?)
“Am I proud of what I wrote?”
“What happens when someone gets fierce and I don’t expect it?”
“Can I keep my integrity in my responses?”
“Will I allow myself to look at responses and respond?”
“Is someone going to have me committed to an asylum for just being myself online?”
Yeah… I’m not really a “write unabashedly with no thoughts and post” kind of person.
I have at least 30 things sitting in a draft bank because it hasn’t felt like the “right time, place or articulation” to post and the ideas are just that… ideas. It doesn’t always pour forth as clear and thought out thoughts, commentary or observation.
The ideas are not always fleshed out in an edited way. Sometimes it’s bare bones; basically notes, with some cohesive sentences lacking the obvious mechanics of language people need to be able to read English. They are sloppier than my normal lackadaisical writing style.
( I still write for myself… if you like it, or if it helps you; BONUS!)
I, much like every other human, are worried about being brutally disseminated by people who either honestly disagree, or are inspired by playing devils advocate. I get the same reaction most people do when they are confronted about their offerings… upper lip sweat, under arm sweat and heart palpitations. It’s not a great look but it hasn’t killed me yet.
Sometimes I will write something, and I go to bed, my body coursing with the stress hormone cortisol (which assists in weight gain) silently worrying about what responses I am going to wake up to.
You wanna know nuts? That shit is NUTS. My entire sleep cycle, and body hormone production is being influenced by my fear of “who might hate me tomorrow, because I was somehow controversial in their opinion, and how they will let me know about it.”
The people I have met in real life, and have had the wonder of calling “friend”, is priceless to me… and I always fear losing it, because I was often the “third wheel” growing up. Treated as a prop for jealousy or bullying.
When I did make friends in adult hood, it really filled an empty space in my heart and I wanted to hold on as hard as I could… but sometimes it feels like those friendships are slowly draining out because that is the harsh reality of maintaining friendships in adulthood, through changes. It’s a hard two way street.
So often I feel like I have nothing to offer but my mind; imagination, creativity, kindness and experience; and even that feels somehow worthless. (This is by no means a pity party… just the personal and internal interpretation of experience by the author.)
At the end of the day, I just really want to talk to people that I enjoy and love, while also inquiring about how they see the world and interact with it. The cyber interaction reality is a bit different than real life connection. I set myself up for a huge potential disaster with this tactic, online.
I wake up. I feel fine, sometimes even great… and then I think… “Oh yeah, I wrote or posted a provocative thing… I guess I am going to have to deal with that later.”
Eventually, I would hesitantly approach my feed and notifications and expect to see bombs, but instead, mostly, I found an echo chamber.
I justified this as ” I have really respectable friends.” I assumed those that didn’t agree, just didn’t respond. I didn’t take into account “unfollowing.”
This whole experiment was provoked in me, because one of my longest running female friends, (who I put in the category of my first REAL female friend in adulthood, and therefore was admitted to Best Friend Territory) admitted that she unfollowed me ” a long time ago” after a recent and controversial post that I had made somehow popped up on her regulated feed.
Of course I didn’t know that she had unfollowed me. Facebook doesn’t tell you that.
I mean, she still honored our relationship because she still calls me on the phone, and she didn’t FB unfriend me; however my posts were so disturbing to her, that it was enough to make her question my mental state. She chose to unfollow, as to not engage in topics that I posted that cause her to feel cognitive dissonance .
Before the recent post came up on her feed, she didn’t tell me that she was worried about my mental health or well being and I she rarely commented on anything that wasn’t commented on by a mutual friend.
This begs the question of how much we actually care about each other, and how much we use each other as entertainment and distraction, or as a fulcrum for disagreement; as well as how far we will go to create our own self perpetuated echo chambers.
To me, this seems like a great reason to experiment. I feel like I am super honest about my mental health in my posts, and my blog writing. How much of that you choose to read, as a reader or friend, is up to you.
If anyone needs me to spell it out, “I am lonely as fuck and I crave insightful, creative and thought provoking conversations. I love thought experiments and imagination. I crave human contact. Most of all, I want sincere and deep connections.” Few people in my real life offer this, so I find it where I can and in my spare time, I provoke it online.
As I mentioned in my last post, I am hoping that over a week or so, I start getting posts on my feed again, especially from people that I really care about. Honest posts, raw posts, thought provoking posts. Simply, “Engaging Posts.”
When I engage online, I do it with an open heart, an open mind and a strong desire to CONNECT. (Hey, I want hits of Oxytocin, too and I am in a huge hug drought!)
I am not holding my breathe.
Right now, my feed exists of me; the pages I admin (if they have activity), ads,suggestions of new friends and FB direct posts on how to properly use FB.
My feed is the biggest self echo chamber in the cyber world right now… to be honest, it feels pretty fucking lonely, awkward and weird; but somehow appropriate because that sums up my real life.
I am still receiving notifications on my own posts or comments on posts… so you know, I can attend to those but if I want to know “wuzz up” with someone, I have to navigate to their page, and scroll their feed.
Do you know what happens when you scroll a feed? It isn’t always ordered by the date of the post.. so you might scroll through 45 pictures that were taken 5 months ago (highly commented on) and somewhere in the middle of that find something that was posted recently.
When my friend told me that the post that upset her popped up on her feed… I had to wonder:
Is FB trying to break the real life friendships we have made and have been able to maintain over decades, or is it just trying to create some subtle but extra chaos in the world because now we base so much of our worth on our likes and responses? (Now every time you respond, there is an automatic audience able to respond.)
I don’t know, but it feels wack.
I don’t want the friends that I have had for years, whom I’ve met in real life and helped or helped me and been present in some really personal and trying times to placate me as obtuse because of my online posts. That is really scary territory.
Yeah, I admit, I am kind of a strange and at times considered a controversial person.
Often I don’t fit into the mainstream.
What I do understand, is that the world is full of critics and trolls ready to beat someone down. I don’t want to fall victim to that, and I don’t want my real life friends to be on the worst end of my insecurities.
I am my own worst critic; sometimes it is really hard to be “nice” or “kind” to myself, and it is the exact reason I don’t decimate people for fun, online. It would be easy to do but I fully understand that most people are hypercritical of themselves and need no help in the self destructing process.
My job is to see the best in all of us, and to encourage that. My posts, especially those that are considered fringe, are just that… fringe: thought experiments for the willing. If you are unwilling, and reactive in a mad way, check yourself. Why does this shit make you mad. I really have no invested interest other than “getting to know you better” , this is a way to gauge what we can and cannot talk about and it is completely based on you.
(Who ever “you” are, You could probably talk about anything with me. Unless you hurt people for fun.. Those topics make me upset.)
I feel less likely to post those random things now because I am begininning to have some new thoughts,
“How many of my ‘friends’ have ‘unfollowed’ me because they think I should be committed for a post they didn’t like?”
“Am I going to be forced to conform for the sake of others and if I do, will I find out I have no actual friends?”
These are scary thoughts, scarier than my thought experiments about things we can’t prove because there will be an eventual out come that exists out of our control.
It reminds me of why I’ve always wanted to just run away and disappear.
These are not fun thoughts to have,and I plan on pooping them out soon because so far as I can tell, they belong in the waste bin.
Even my “crazy” posts are more positive than being okay with fading away or disappearing. But sometimes, I want it, because I can’t seem to get the connection I want or need.
If you want a thought experiment, think about fading away or disappearing with no reason or clue, and then contemplate about who would care and why. I’m not ready to give up on Life because of the opinions of others, and I still desire connection.
Facebook is a mind fuck.
2 thoughts on “The FB Unfollow Experiment: Is Anyone Out There?”
I adore you. Your wild heart and brave tongue. I Cherish your curiosity to look into the mirror and see truth, look illusion in the eyes and say Hey! I’m watching you!
Don’t stop, won’t stop,
Madge skillzel gettin’ down bizzel!
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Thank you for the encouragement Callista! I miss your lovely face!