A letter to Mark Zuckerberg

imagesMark Zuckerberg,

Oh creator of the social media network, Facebook, I have two things to say to you. Being that I am a writer, I could get long winded.

I have read your story, researched the articles about you, your background, your ideas and just how “Facebook” began. I know about the instant messaging system that your dad used in his dental office, and your family used at home – ‘Zucknet’ to talk to each other. I know that fellow students from Harvard came to you for help in putting together the Harvard Connection software.

Which you later admitted to grabbing and manipulating for your own sake into ‘Facebook.’

I get it. Not complaining, Facebook has been a good tool for many people – myself including. Like anything in life, i.e. drinking alcohol, eating sprinkled doughnuts or Turtles candy or shopping,  we should balance our time and use. What happens when you drink excessively – you get drunk, you get sick, you say stupid things, you do stupid things and your memory goes foggy. What happens when you eat in excess? OK, overeat – you get sick, you gain weight, your diet gets off balance, you gain weight. Shopping in excess leads to being broke.

Using Facebook in excess can produce the same effects – lack of sleep, not paying attention to those people and things in the room, not doing your laundry, not walking the dog, not taking a bath, not sleeping and even not being able to decipher the difference between what happens on Facebook with what happens everyday. It happens.  You and I both know it does.

Facebook has had its good points. Personally, when I was sick, when I moved away from home, when I started a new job, being a Facebook user has helped me conquer everyday challenges and remain in touch with friends and family, as well as make new friends and family.

Then you started adding things … Oh my goodness, the games, the apps, the layout changed, the ability to be more private was taken away, the way that advertisers can grasp your use and interest astounds me. It has gotten to a point – that I – one of your strongest advocates, addicted users and Facebook groupies – is ready to limit her time  to get on Facebook now.

I blame Facebook because my house doesn’t get cleaned. I blame Facebook because of 4558617a fight between friends. I blame Facebook because my dog pooped on the floor.

OK, that may be going a little too far, but, Mark, may I call you, Mark, you’ll get my point in a minute.

People have come down right mean and ugly through the use of your social media application. I heard a story of a city leader somewhere  who felt the need to create a false Facebook account with Google images posed as pictures of himself and family and yet, he was allowed to lead people on with this account. He finally got reported – not he the real person, but the fake ID, and he has gone off.  I see people lying, cursing, throwing out their ‘dirty laundry’ and defaming other’s character on Facebook.  You shouldn’t allow that to happen.

Three days ago, I was just staring aimlessly on Facebook at my newsfeed. I was scrolling up and down, clicking on links, liking things, putting little hearts and smiley faces here and there. It was noon when I started. My dog came over once, and he was barking and pawing at me, and I kept pushing him away. i was in the middle of a “Facebook stalk.”  He had become annoying and I yelled at him to stop, and raised my hand at him.

I have never hit my dog or wanted to hit my dog.

My dog ran under the bed. He cowered at me.

I stopped what I was doing. I walked over and looked under the bed, and tried to get him to come out. He wouldn’t even come out for a dog biscuit. I talked to him and told him I was sorry.

He still wouldn’t come. I sat by the bed, arms wrapped around my knees, talking to him and apologizing over and over. I started to think. It is Facebook’s fault. Facebook really is the devil. It is such a time waster. I thought about something my dad said to me once, “Don’t tell it to Facebook. They don’t need to know everything.”  All the complaints I have ever heard about FB floated to the front of my mind.

I blamed Facebook almost like an alcoholic blames alcohol or a bad childhood because of their choice to be drunk.

My dog wouldn’t come out from the under the bed.

As a newspaper journalist, I have to spend a lot of hours on the computer a day. When I say a lot, I mean a lot. As a writer and blogger, I would like to spend a little time in the evening writing. My goal is to publish a book before I am 50.  I would like to travel. I would like to train my dog to do some tricks. I want to learn to play the harmonic better. I want to meet George Clooney and tell him I love him and have since he first appeared on the ‘Facts of Life.’ I want to see a Broadway play. I would love to go to a Dallas Cowboys game.

What is stopping me? Nothing really. I have just spent way too much time doing other things, following the crowd, worrying about this and that, recording every minute and posting it on Facebook and Twitter- I have actually missed the moments.

I have seven nephews and nieces. They are all adults now – a few are married with kids. When they were little, they thought I was the coolest aunt. Now, I am not sure what they feel – I don’t know them as adults.  I blame life changes and personalities, – not tension or such. I also blame myself for being busy at work and living like the world.

blame-nicholas-sparks-facebook-cover-timeline-banner-for-fbYeah, I blame Facebook. I blame Nicholas Sparks for the high expectations I have in finding Mr. Right – that is why at 46, I am still single. (But I still love your writing, Nicholas.)

OK, whom am I kidding. I don’t blame Facebook. I don’t blame the world. I don’t blame growing up the way I did. I don’t blame the lack of good men. I don’t blame my thyroid for my chubbiness. (OK, well, you know, that does make being 65 pounds overweight sound less sad.)

It is all on me. I make choices. I do these things. I waste time. I cave to my natural born curiousness. I am the one who spends hours just looking at pictures and posts of people I don’t know or looking for things to post.

I am the one who got aggravated at my dog and raised my hand like I was going to hit him.  His response literally broke my heart.

So, sitting beside the bed, trying to figure out how to get him out from under the bed. I decided if things were going to change, it was up to me. No excuses. (Oh, i am just looking for this or doing work stuff.)

Facebook and I are not necessarily going our separate ways. We are going on a break. (Can’t you just hear Ross and Rachel from Friends? (For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about – Google it.).)

Instead of the blank stares and reading things and looking at pictures on Facebook or Twitter – I am going to start reading an actual book I can hold in my hand, writing things I want to write, working on my blog, but more importantly, i am going to hang with my dog.

No , I don’t blame Facebook or Twitter for my procrastination or lack of accomplishing goals or for my house not being clean. I don’t blame Facebook or Twitter for my dog acting out. I don’t blame Facebook for Donald Trump winning or whatever the latest political thing is. I don’t blame Facebook for spoilers on Dancing with the Stars either.

It is all me. (Wonder if we would all starting holding ourselves accountable for our actions – even the most routine – what would happen – online and off?)

My Facebook time will be limited to work hours and only for work use – to check out our page, or take a quick glance at my stuff, in case someone has sent me a message etc.
I am not quitting Facebook – I am just giving up my excessive use of Facebook for my dog.
I still blame Nicholas Sparks though – his male leads in his novels just …. mmmm….

Merry Christmas.
Signed Your Friend,
Becky Holland 
PS The dog came out from under the bed. We have played chase, wrestled and even belted out some tunes together on the harmonica. He is much better therapy than reading a post or seeing a Meme. Just saying. 

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