Friday, January 17, 2014

FACEBOOK AND PAUL DEVLIN'S DIVORCE: IT'S OFFICIAL

I've never been married, but I recently finalized a divorce with something I spent an awful
lot of time with.  For the last five years, I had a love-hate relationship with Facebook, the mother
of all social media networks.

I love Facebook because it provided entertainment and the opportunity to re-connect with close
friends from the past that had taken their own path, as we all do,  on life's superhighway. I had
spent days, months, and years with a group of guys I had played baseball with at UNC and in
the Boston Red Sox organization that seemingly dropped off the map. Then, BOOM, they were
back in my life thanks to Facebook.


I had lived in such places as Rye, Lake Forest, New Canaan, Lynchburg, Erie, Binghamton,
Fort Myers, Sherevport, Boston, and Atlanta, making a lot of friends a long the way and
Facebook re-connected us. That part was really cool, and there is no doubt it, Facebook, is
an incredible creation, one that has changed the way we communicate.

But after a while, Facebook drove me crazy. I became like Bill Murray's character in "Groudhog
Day". Now matter what I did, I'd see the same things over and over. There were feet by the
ocean, pictures of food on a plate, and the selfies in the mirror.


Instead of waking up to "I Got You Babe", by Sonny & Cher, I was logging on to a picture
of a cheeseburger and fries and the world of a 1,000 selfies. Like Bill Murray's character,
I wanted to scream and sometimes put my finger in the toaster.

But like millions of people around the world, I just wasn't able to give up Facebook or even
curb my addiction just a little bit. I used it as a vehicle to promote my sportsblog and to offer
a quip and comment here and there. Facebook did make me realize how people like Bernie
Madoff and other scammers hookwinked their victims. People believe just about everything
they read and hear.

After Mike Rice, the basketball coach at Rutgers who got fired for using his players for
target practice, I wrote in a post that I had just applied for the vacant position in East
Piscataway, NJ. Responses like, "Good luck, you're the perfect guy for the job".  "Go for
it, you have what it takes," followed. This after never having coached a game in my  life.
Nor do I ever want to. I hate basketball.

I also found out how incredibly sensitive people are. If they didn't like a comment you
make on one of their posts, ZAP! You get de-friended. It's quite comically, really. One "friend"
from Boston waxed poetic about the coach of another team showing a lack of class for
not taking part in the traditional post-game handshake. I responded by writing, "Sounds
a lot like Bill Belichick. The guy heads for the locker room before the Super Bowl that
he lost is even over."

 Quicker than you can say Boston Chowda, I was "de-friended". Good, grief, I got "de-friended
there is no more reason to live anymore. Man, that was a really solid friendship.

I also ended my relationship with Facebook because of the conversations people would
start and their propensity to "check-in" from everywhere. It used to be that you didn't wanted
anyone to know where you were or what you were thinking. That changed with Facebook
where people wanted to let everybody know what they were doing and the thoughts they
had at that very second.

There were too many, "Why does the neighbor still have their Christmas decorations up
on January 10th? And I don't care if you are "checking-in" from Panera Bread, either.
You really took the time to tell everybody you were at Panera Bread?  Lord, help us.


Facebook gives a lot of people the  opportunity to be like Benjamin Button and age in
reverse. Adults closer to 60 than 16 post pictures as if they are a high school girl craving
for attention and adulation. There desire to get a "like" seemed to consume them.

I often asked myself, "Aren't you a little too old to be on Facebook" I know my father
never would've been anywhere near Facebook at my age, if ever at all. But there they are,
past middle age adults posting pictures to try to convince everybody how great there life
really is.

My relationship with Facebook ended abruptly two months ago when I de-activated my
account.. Like Kris Kumphries who got dumped by Kim Kardashian after 74
days of marriage, I can't back what was really valuable to me. His thing was a huge rock,
my thing was precious time.


All those valuable hours I won't be able to get back in my life were mostly wasted. Are
they as valuable as the $2 million engagement ring Humphries didn't get back? I don't really
know. We can't put an exact figure on time, but we do know, especially when you're on the
back nine of life, that it's pretty valuable.

Don't get me wrong, I'm guilty of a few of things I ranted it about. However, I never posted
pictures of my food,  "checked-in" from the "In and Out" burger joint,  or took a picture of
my feet by the sea. What does that mean, anyway? Your life is a success or cooler than mine?
I didn't crave "likes" or whatever. It just got out of hand.

I can honestly say  I have not missed Facebook for one second and have no regrets about
de-activating my account. Some of the clutter in my life is gone and the time I used to spend
on Facebook is being used in a more constructive way.

Will I ever re-unite with Facebook? I'm not sure. I've never gotten back with a girlfriend
after breaking up, so the chances of it happening are not that great.

But things in life change, that's for sure and I'll probably wander back into the madness
again. Facebook is great, don't get me wrong. But at this time,  I needed the break-up.

2 comments:

  1. While you are definitely missed, I say "good for you!" ....I take off for Lent every year and it is definitely liberating to get the FB chaos out of my head. (From a business perspective, you can't beat the free advertising.) Hope you're enjoying your hiatus.

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  2. I appreciate this article from a different perspective than most having not ever had a FACEBOOK account. As many posts as you have endured so have I for not having an account both personally and professionally. I like that idea of reconnecting with people from my past lives but think we are all pretty transparent and those who seek shall find.

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