A grand total of fifty-six days. That’s how long I lasted on Facebook this time around. Much longer than my previous nineteen hours, but not as long as I’d had it before my year-plus absence. It was just long enough to figure out that I don’t want to go back ever again.
It wasn’t even the fight between my in-laws and best friend that did it, though I’m sure everyone will debate that for awhile. But, no, the thing that gets under my skin about the website is how much communication it enables, but how little is delivers.
There are no conversations, only voicing of opinions. Advice from every direction about any situation a person can mention. Constant typing, talking, sharing. But no one listens. They trample over the hints of vulnerability, desperation, and pleas for empathy. Hoping to prove they know something of interest. Offer up a lesson that is one part inapplicable, two parts offensive. Add a generous heap of “this is how wrong you’re doing everything” just for good measure.
Of course, it’s not a problem that’s contained on a website. It has its tentacles wrapped tight around a slew of interactions. But Facebook can offer it in a single space and time from everyone I know. Hundreds of people inspect every statement in a matter of seconds and I find out how well each one of my friends can listen.
My entire life experience, distilled down to status updates and comment boxes. A jarring reminder of no matter how clear and loud I feel like I’m speaking, people will always point in a different direction. Will give me comfort in forms that I don’t want or need it. Digital versions of a box of chocolates to soothe my broken heart. They do nothing for what’s hurting me.
An aching reminder that no matter what I do or say, the response stays the same. Formulaic reactions to every instance and nothing to push up against. I’m standing there bleeding, my heart in my hands, and you’re telling me how to remove the stain on the carpet.