Earth date: August 31, 2020
“Join Facebook.” My friend said. “It’s a great way to stay in touch. A lot of the old gang is on there.” After years of spending every day with hundreds of other souls, I knew being retired would be a shock to the system. It would be only HoneyBunch and me in the house, no pets, with an occasional once a month visit from our kids and grandkids, so, I joined FaceBook for the fun of it and lasted a few months before I dropped out.
FaceBook was very antisocial, and it wasn’t exactly how I wanted to spend my retirement.
Some of those who “friended” me weren’t very friendly. Now that I was no longer their supervisor at work and they didn’t have to pretend to like me, they let me know it. I had retired from one of those jobs where I had to mediate between two groups. They had taken sides instead of working together and I was the messenger, and we all know what happens to the messenger.
I stayed off FaceBook for several months until the new career I sought required a social media presence. I definitely had to be on FaceBook, so I asked a few experienced friends how to do it without acquiring an ulcer and a cadre of haters. They suggested I select who I friended, block the ones I didn’t want to have access to my posts, and report the trolls – those who purposely try to start an argument.
For several years, I kept my friend list under sixty, and I learned to redefine the word “friend.” Facebook is like the school yard in middle school. Everyone wants to be popular and be friends with everyone, but that is misleading. It is rife with peer pressure, bullying, fights, cliques, gossip, and misinformation. Looking back, I don’t remember wanting to be friends with everyone in middle school. To survive you had to know how to defend yourself. If you didn’t, you were labeled a coward and a chicken, and got beaten anyway.
It’s the same thing with FaceBook. It’s not a friendly place. I outgrew middle school a long time ago. I know how to think for myself and I choose who I want in my gang.