So earlier this morning, I posted the following message on Facebook.
Like seemingly hundreds of thousands of people. I’m fed up with Facebook. With its greed. With its dishonesty. With its insincerity. With its willingness to share our information with third parties. With its far-right leanings. With its treatment of George Soros. With its dispatching of fake news (legitimately fake news).
I’d read all the articles, saw all the people I respected leaving, and I made up my mind: I’m done.
And then … something happened.
I wrote my brief farewell, and friends started reaching out. Tons and tons and tons of friends. Hundreds of people—either wishing me well, or asking me to reconsider. This, of course, caused me to reflect upon my decade or so on Facebook. And I thought about the time Catherine Mayhew taught me how to grill salmon via Facebook DM. I thought about planning the Mahopac High School 20th reunion largely via Facebook. I thought about I-can’t-write-another-word deadline DM sessions with Elizabeth Newman and Amy Fabry and Amy Webb and B.J. Schecter and Amy Bass. I thought about Andy Dallos’ breathtaking photographs; Chris Farley’s updates on his children; Paul Gutierrez’s Vince Ferragamo jokes. I thought about the death announcements that would have gone unseen and the birth announcements that would have gone unseen. I thought about all the Quaz Q&A candidates who came via Facebook (probably 50 or 60). I thought about watching the children from our old New Rochelle street grow via images. I thought about getting heavily involved in Orange County politics via the local Indivisible Facebook page. I thought about Ashley Kummer reaching out to send clips and Toni Ann Guadagnoli telling me about a sick child who wanted a signed book. I thought about Ed Faitakes’ thought-provoking posts and Jeanne Beaupre’s dry humor. I thought about birthday wishes sent and received.
I thought about all the truth I learned of so many from my hometown. The pro-Trump postings. The Obama-is-a-Muslim postings (I also thought of the folks I ultimately blocked). I thought about all the sources I’ve initially reached out to via Facebook. I’ve thought about re-establishing ties with my boyhood cohorts from Emerald Lane—Matt Walker, the Garganos, the Millers. I thought about all the people who surely muted me because of liberal rants. I thought of all the people who embraced me because of liberal rants.
I thought about the world feeling smaller because of Facebook; how people you miss don’t feel quite so far away. I thought about being alone and tired at 3 am, needing someone to chat with, scrolling to see who was online.
So here I sit—furious with Facebook. Truly furious and disgusted.
But, perhaps, not as ready to jump ship as I anticipated.