A grand total of fifty-six days. That's how long I lasted before permanently deleting my Facebook account (again). 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 why I don't want to go back ever again.
It wasn't the fight between my in-laws and best friend that did it, though I'm sure everyone will debate that for awhile. No, what gets under my skin about the website is how much communication it enables, but how little it 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 listening.
They trample over the hints of vulnerability, desperation, and pleas for empathy in hopes of proving they know something of interest. Offer up a lesson that is one part inapplicable, two parts offensive, and 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 supplies 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 I'm speaking, people will always point in a different direction. Will give me comfort in forms I don't want or need. 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 situation and nothing to push up against. I'm standing there bleeding, my heart in my hands, and they're telling me how to remove the stain from the carpet.