So, I went and iced my Facebook account last night for the month of September, taking my second Facebook Fast of 2012 (here was the first). This will mean several things for me personally and this site. As Facebook — essentially, a massive communal micro-blogging site — has denuded the audience for blogs, there will be a serious decline in drop-by visitors to the Independent Republic of WestVirginiaVille. A significant portion of the significantly small, yet occasionally devoted, audience for this blogazine comes from links to posts posted to Facebook.
So, I will become even less famous then I already am.
Plus, many people appear now to communicate chiefly through Facebook messaging. I have idled my FB lifeline. Ergo, many friends and acquaintances — unless they seek me out here or via Twitter or e-mail — will think I have died or de-friended them, if they did not read my official Facebook Fast Farewell. So goes life in 2012, the status of your whole existence mediated by whether or not you bob up and down in the flotsam and jetsum of the Facebook ecosystem.
On the other hand, I have more time to write, which is the point of FB-fasting for me. To think. To take walks with an imaginary Golden Retriever named Buck. (My daughter once tried to put a leash on one of our cats and take it for a walk. The feline objected, flopping onto her side upon the sidewalk. So, my daughter tried tugging her. This became her legendary attempt to take the cat for a drag.)
I estimate that within the last 30 days I have checked my FB status, via iPhone, laptop or desktop computer, approximately, oh — 3,456 times? Sometimes — yes, stupidly, but it’s like a heroin addiction — while driving down the road at 70 mph. Really, that wild guess number may be in the ballpark, I don’t know. Maybe higher. I’d be checking it right now, likely enough, were I not in a state of Deactivation. Instead, while no great shakes writing-wise, at least I am writing this post, without FB waving its hands at me, or whispering in my ear: ‘Hey! Hey, man! Check this out!’
I am not compelled — with Facebook open on my browser while I work — to see who had just liked me, verifying I am indeed likable and not some sorry human specimen with dead-end DNA, who really should just get out of the gene pool. Or to eagerly see who had commented with wit, encouragement, irony or cranky conservative objection to some quote, cartoon, bon mot, link or cranky liberal objection which I had just posted. And so a whole new conversation and comment thread develops, a trickle turning into a stream as servers upload and collate responses from around the country and world.
Instead, I have wandered out into the barren hills and fields of Minor Blogistan. It’s kind of quiet here. No one’s liking me. No one’s commenting. Is anyone out there? Omigod, to quote David Byrne in “Once in a Lifetime:”
“What have I done?”