I am parting ways with Facebook. If you wish to continue following my art you can still engage via my website or, for the time being, on Instagram @johnnyhifi. If you’re a friend or family member then you still know where to find me. If not, feel free to reach out via email (see my Contact page) or Instagram DM.
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*For those who appreciate the extra insight, nuance, and clarity:
I’ve been experimenting with different ways of engaging with Facebook over the last couple of years, significantly scaling back the time I spend viewing, posting, and responding. Although it has resulted in a much healthier balance, I’m slightly ashamed to admit that, despite my best efforts—and even seasons of lengthy success—I always manage to get sucked back in eventually (usually at times when I’m struggling with self confidence, self-love, or contentment). I cannot think of a single instance where that accidental lapse of increased engagement resulted in anything positive for me. I don’t feel too bad about that, though. After all, this beast is designed to do exactly that; the more I log out and the less I engage, the more the algorithm tries to coax and seduce me back in. My reward for healthy behavior is that I have to work at it even harder over time to maintain it. Well done, Zuckerberg.
So, I’ve come to realize that this relationship is toxic for me and it is time to end it. I don’t believe technology is evil, and I don’t even fault Facebook for doing what it has to do to thrive in a capitalist ecosystem. How could I expect anything else? But I do always have a choice, and I’m exercising that choice with more finality this time.
In this transition, I celebrate the connections that were made there, especially those that might not otherwise have been. I also lament that this decision will affect and even end some of those connections. However, I cannot live everywhere at once. My capacity is not limitless. I have a home, a hometown, a family, neighbors, friends, real community. Maintaining Facebook only dilutes and neglects those tangible connections and lowers my relational capacity. It does not contribute to my overall happiness or feeling of human connectedness. Although there are indeed happy moments there, the platform only expoloits them for its own gain. It needs us to thrive, but we don’t need it. I’m more aware of this truth now than ever before.
The 24 hour “news” cycle and the public response it stokes makes life feel stressed and hopeless all the time. It removes most nuance and grace from discussions around complex issues that are not as black and white as they are presented. It encourages division for profit. It damages relationships to make a quick buck.
Sometimes I find myself throwing my arms up in despair and I forget to exercise the real influence I actually have—loving my neighbors. This core value of mine simply cannot continue to be compromised. Since Facebook’s core value and very design revolves around financial gain, our continued collaboration would only lead to dysfunction. I can’t serve this master and it has no interest in partnering with me. I cannot dictate the terms of our engagement so it will always wield the greater influence. It will be just fine without me, and I will be better off without it.
To be very clear, I’m not walking out on a high horse. There is no shaming happening here. I don’t condemn the platform, nor do I hold any judgement for those who continue using it. Just like I can’t stand the taste of pickles, but it is no struggle to live in harmony with those who do! This decision has only to do with me. I’m not lecturing anyone here, just processing my own thoughts because I find writing helpful in doing so. I also feel strongly that you don’t just walk away from a relationship or a community without processing the transition together and offering closure. So, now you have my honest reasons, no mysterious departure or aloof mic drop. I depart with a clear conscience in a spirit of peace and gratitude.
Lastly, if you do elect to follow me on Instagram, please don’t be offended if I don’t follow back. The primary reason I continue to use IG is that I have more control over what it shows me. It is not as transactional, follow-for-follow, like-for-like as Facebook. I only post my art there, and I only follow other artists, poets, thinkers, designers, creatives, etc. who inspire me. Anything more and IG would be just another version of Facebook.
Facebook may not be a place of true community, but community does happen there, even though to a lesser degree. To those who I have experienced community with there, I’m grateful to you and to the platform for what we’ve shared.