This story is a little more complicated than the title implies. See, I wasn’t just thrown in Facebook jail for bad behavior, I got phished. My dumb ass clicked a link without checking the email address first, and just handed all my shit over to some hacker. And the details of my sentence weren’t as cut and dry as “you’re in Facebook jail.” No, that would be too easy. My personal profile was deactivated. My Instagram was deactivated. I lost two business pages. Two others had additional admins so they were saved, but I was put on a 30 day ban on posting any content. No, I can’t get the easy version.
So here I am, no Facebook. I immediately started a new Instagram, because a visual business such as mine with no internet presence is just absurd, but Facebook was still a huge driver of how I built relationships with clients and people in general. It’s how I felt most comfortable interacting with people to talk about sobriety and mental health. It was a pretty integral part to what I did.
It was also where I argued. Everything. Constantly. Religion, politics, all the shit you’re not supposed to talk about at Christmas dinner. I was bad. My wife would give me shit about it, and often, because I did it often. I don’t think a day went by when I wasn’t locking horns with strangers over some bullshit that in the grand scheme of my existence probably didn’t matter. It’s not like Facebook arguments are used to ACTUALLY change people’s minds and help them see your point of view. My block button was on fire.
People like me lose sight of the purpose of social media very easily. I get distracted, I get sucked into clickbait, I get sucked into fighting with people I disagree with. Shiny baubles dangle and my little cat beans start flickering and next thing you know, I’m tangled up in a metaphorical ball of yarn.
I suppose losing Facebook sort of put me in my place. It was like a bop on the nose and a “NO. BAD TIM” even though I didn’t actually do anything to get deactivated. But what it did was gave me time to evaluate my relationship with social media. And honestly? It was pretty toxic. Addicts are addicts, and when they latch onto something, they go hard. I don’t know moderation in anything. Now if only I can translate that to working out…
But I digress. I’m a 41 year old man who runs multiple businesses and has a wife and five kids. The last thing I should be doing is wasting hours of my day arguing on social media. While I hadn’t completely lost sight of its purpose, I definitely wasn’t using it the way someone like me should.
For people like me, social media is meant to be a tool. There’s a certain amount of personal distance I should keep, not in what I share, but how I behave. Detachment is a good word. I should be online for two reasons: to drive business, and to help people. That’s it. Notice I didn’t mention arguing, mindless scrolling, clickbait, or any of the other shit I tend to do. They’re the wrong reasons.
I do miss some of the connections I made through Facebook, but they know where to find me. I still operate my business page, and still admin my group on personal growth, but I’ve removed myself from the bullshit. I’ve made it so I can only be on Facebook for the two reasons: to drive business and to help people.
My relationship with Instagram was also a bit skewed, and I realized that before my account was deactivated. I had this huge number of followers, more than 43k, but the majority were ghost and inactive accounts. I had built those numbers when I was on a television show, but hadn’t been able to keep momentum and maintain relevance in that community. It made my interaction absolute shit. I would post a picture and get 200 likes. And the problem here is that I was constantly worried that my interaction didn’t match my follow count, and that people would think I bought my followers. On a deeper level, I understand that I shouldn’t worry about others opinions, but on that shallow surface level it bothered the shit out of me.
Starting a new Instagram became a sort of cleansing. It was a total blank slate, and I didn’t have to hold myself to any standard. My followers are being built on merit instead of flavor of the week popularity, and I can curate in any way I see fit. Yeah, I lost a ton of followers starting over, and I lost 10+ years of photos, but the mental weight has been lifted.
My problem with the internet is that I don’t always look at it as the tool it’s meant to be. Sometimes that comes secondary to the mindless actions we all take when scrolling through our feeds. Once it was taken away, I began to understand exactly how much I took that for granted. I could’ve been doing so much more for my businesses, and so much more to help people if I had been able to shake off the ADHD long enough to stay focused on the correct tasks.
But I can’t change what was, I can only change what will be. Here’s to hoping I can stay out of trouble this time.