By Jason . . . Dear Facebook,
Winter break-ups are the hardest. It’s been four cold months since you broke up with me. I thought you might want to know I’m doing okay. Sure, at first, I’d find myself flicking my thumb up as if I were still able to scroll the feed. I’d stop, hoping nobody saw. But really, I’m okay. I can even laugh again. Remember that time we went to London in Farmville and everybody thought I was really going to London – ha ha. Yeah, we had good times.
You know how our relationship started. You pulled me in back in 2008 with the promise of reconnecting with old friends. Not all of them were online, but I managed to find a few, and we had some fun. We threw a few sheep and shared a poke once or twice.
Then, I had to leave you for a while when I was convicted of a sexual offense in 2010. My probation officer didn’t think it would be a good idea if I continued to hang out with you, so we had to go on a break. But we were on a break, Facebook. We were on a break.
I’m not going to lie. Those years were a little tough. When I heard a reference to “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” or “Gangnam style,” I could only pretend to know what was going on. I missed out on all those years of fake farming with “Farmville,” so I guess some cows just never got milked. I worried for a long time about my chickens. I’d shake off the lonely tumble weed visions. Facebook was good. Facebook wouldn’t let me down. Facebook played ping-pong at the office and had a relaxed dress code. Being on a break doesn’t mean forever. You’d wait for me.
In 2015, we were reunited. Wow, the world had changed in five years. Now, everyone was on Facebook. I reconnected with people I had known at various points in my life, and that made me feel happy. Sometimes when I checked my feed for the 29th time that day, you’d have a surprise video for me of photos I took earlier that weekend. Or you’d be there to remind me that it was mother’s birthday. It was good times.
Of course, when the 2016 election came, things were different. I formed stronger bonds with people who agreed with me and was shocked by those who didn’t. I stopped talking with a few and even had to block some friends. Facebook, you made it pretty easy to cut those people out.
Luckily, Facebook, you weren’t all about politics. You were a great communication tool. I administered a page for my synagogue. I used Facebook Live to generate excitement about events. I learned how to boost an ad to get more engagement. I posted about holidays and shared big news events.
I created a page for my college alumni association and posted some content there. I joined the discussion in an arthritis forum. I participated in my extended family’s discussion, coordinated a family reunion, and communicated with someone who became sick but stayed connected. So, yeah, I was there for you. Using you and all your features. Showing anyone who’d look at all your slick new tricks. Less sheep and a lot more sophistication – that was my Facebook. We were really in it to win it this time. And it felt so good. First thing in the morning to the last like at night, you made a new millennia man out of me, Facebook.
So, all in all, you complemented my life. There may have been times when I spent too much time with you; I might have had to check in on the down-low once or twice a day. But I never meant to hurt you.
Then out of nowhere – bam – you break it off completely. October, 2018, you completely go Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on me. I’m gone. Just gone, like I never even existed. No good-bye or chance to pack up my things. You shut me out. But why? Given you had access to everything I did while on Facebook, you know that I never, ever did anything inappropriate or even close to anti-social while with you. You didn’t feel the same. Some anonymous person decided to report that I had been convicted of a sexual offense. That’s it, you said. I violated your terms and conditions, so we’re done. We’re over. You didn’t give me a chance to explain. You didn’t want to hear what I had to say.
Time heals they say. A bit of distance and I can see you more clearly now. You’re such a hypocrite as you violate the public’s trust time and time again and then ask to be forgiven. You’ve hurt more people than I ever did. You knew me so well, you apparently sold my information to others for monetary gain and didn’t really safeguard my privacy. You weren’t as loyal to me as I was to you. I’m sure I could have forgiven you. You break my heart in two and when it heals it beats for you. I know if I had it all to do again, I’d go back to you.
It doesn’t matter that the state that convicted me said it was fine for me to use Facebook as long as I share with them my username. I did so willingly. You see, I’ve done the healing and have nothing to hide. You didn’t have to cut me off. You didn’t have to delete our memories. Make it out like it never even happened and that we were nothing. For you, I’m just someone that you used to know.
You, Faceboook, have a lot of soul-searching to do. I now have to work a little harder to stay in touch with friends and family. I’ve missed a few birthdays, haven’t gotten to go canoeing on a friendiversary, but on the upside I have to spend less time on Snopes. From what I’ve heard, the synagogue page isn’t quite as strong, but there’s plenty of advertising platforms on the internet, or maybe you can just wait until someone picks up the slack. Whatever, Facebook. It was your choice. I hope you sleep well at night knowing that you’re really not protecting anyone, you’re just hurting me AND the people who would like to “see” me on Facebook. Good luck to you, and if you want to talk, you can catch me on Twitter.