Bye-bye, Facebook

I’m modifying my “doing without” schedule. For reasons I’ll touch on briefly below, I decided the remainder of meatless October will shift to beginning my month of doing without social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter.   I’ll allow this blog post to automatically be posted to Facebook, but I intend for it to be the last auto-post to Facebook for a month. I’ll keep writing on this blog (I don’t consider it social media…its traffic isn’t sufficient to warrant that moniker) during my respite. During that month, maybe more, I want to spend more of my time thinking and less of my time reacting, which tends to be my mode of interacting with Facebook.

The reasons for opting to abandon meatlessness (though I’ll probably remain relatively low-meat) are twofold: 1) I did a poor job of menu-planning (mostly none), resulting in failure during much of the month to eat enough protein; and 2) I listened to some interviews with Pema Chödrön, during which she suggested social media, if permitted,  can fill our minds with so much “noise” that we can’t truly relax.  I’ve experienced that before (which was the reason I abandoned Facebook in the past, for a while) and I’ve noticed lately I’ve been allowing myself to get sucked back into a similar state.  So, I’m changing things.

My blog posts during the next month will, I hope, take on a tone that differs from most of my recent posts.

Bye-bye, Facebook.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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28 Responses to Bye-bye, Facebook

  1. druxha says:

    Good one, Carlos! That Durante video truly summed it up, and then some!!

  2. Carlos says:

    I’m going to have to read this book on “third place.”

  3. Ha! Loved the Jimmy Durante bit; that’s exactly it! Stay, go, stay, go? Which is it? And why? FB is like a public park. And, in that way, it’s like the Third Place I find so appealing…there’s no fee for admission, everyone is welcome, everyone is on the same level…but then it;’s like the Third Place with rooms and each person in the Third Place can lock the doors. Odd, it is…it really is…but intriguing.

  4. Carlos says:

    Druxha is right! I’m caving in: yes, no, yes, no….does it really matter?

    FB is like public park. Anybody gets to go there. Discussions there are weak, or they steep into low common denominator stuff — mine included: food, places to go, pictures, and then what?

    Now this is different, and I have to admit that I’ve rarely visited blogs. The problem with blogs is that you are not in a public park; you’re in someone’s space, and so the manners might be a little different, but I’m finding that as I spring from blog to blog (I visited 3 today) that maybe blogging might be the better thing to do. The dialogue is deeper; the discussions more developed! Heck, I even got a story on Giovanni and, like Druxha said, “an idea.”

  5. Carlos says:

    John, great story! I loved it. Me thinks you are writing a novel on the side?

  6. druxha says:

    BTW, love your story, John! Gave me ideas!!

  7. druxha says:

    Somehow, after reading Carlos note, I do not see him thoroughly convinced of his one man exodus, but I could certainly have misinterpreted what I read, and be erroneous.

  8. Carlos, I miss the connections, too. Facebook does offer connectedness, there’s no doubt, but with rare exception, it’s the sort of connectedness that seems to me thin and superficial, lacking the substance that one might hope for.

    You are but one of a very few people I met on or through Facebook who I call friend; most are acquaintances. So, good does come out of Facebook connections, but it’s rare, I think. The more common goodness is staying connected with the people who already matter; I like knowing what’s going on in their lives.

    As for lacking an audience for blogs, it occasionally bothers me that I have such a tiny number of people who regularly read what I write. But, then, I always go back to the fact that I’m writing for myself far more than for others; I’m exercising my language skills, hoping some day to say something of value! If I wanted to have a bigger audience, I’d write for an audience, instead of just use my blog as a journal of sorts for myself. I know what I would have to do to make this blog appealing to a larger audience. The thing is, I don’t want to be restricted by the parameters within which I’d have to perform for that to happen. So I write as a hermit, with an occasional visit by someone who probably just stumbled in the wrong door after a night of drunken debauchery!

    I understand your need to take care with FB. You’d have to do the same with a blog. UNLESS…UNLESS you created a new identity that you use only online, connected to a new email address that you create specifically for the purpose of launching a Facebook account and a blog for the new identity. I can see it now,

    Carlos: you could take the identity of Giovanni Bitterman Ekstrom, who is the son of an Italian mother and a Swiss father. You create the email address of And you create a blog, on Blogger. You write a short biography, revealing that you were born in Vallentuna, Sweden, just outside Stockholm. As a boy of 3, your parents divorced and you went to live in Italy with your mother in Milano until you were 7, when you and your mother (who by that time had met and married a Russian cardiologist named Burskan Svetlandovski) joined her new husband in Venezuela, where he had been recruited to serve as head of a heart transplant research team. Only two years into your new Venezuelan lifestyle, Svetlandovski died suddenly and unexpectedly of a heart attack. You and your mother migrated to the U.S., where your mother’s uncle lived. You excelled while attending the religious school you attended, favoring both the hard sciences and religious studies. You then attained advanced degrees in chemistry and theology, after which you worked for several years in the little-known discipline of evangelical chemistry. You grew tired of dealing with the constant conflict between hard science and theology, though, so you left the work force to pursue another advanced degree, this time in literary anthropology. Ultimately, you were able to work through the issues you had faced between faith and facts. Your newest academic credential, a Ph.D. in literary anthropology, enabled you to establish a consulting practice in which your diverse academic expertise coalesced: literary evangelical chemical anthropology, a field in which you are acknowledged to be the world’s foremost authority.

    With that as a backdrop, you can write anything you want, always taking care to use the correct name and email address. 😉

  9. Carlos says:

    It’s been a week since I gave up Facebook, and wondering what I miss about it. I suppose it has to do with several things: Bragging on my last meal I specially cooked, the last batch of beer I made, or maybe just a thought with a picture of me by my pool. I miss the connectedness — the ongoing sharing that comes to a people more alone — despite all the technologies — than ever before. I met you on FB … met Trish…would I, otherwise? Not likely.

    Blogs? The problem with blogs is that I am not assured an audience — and what, John, is an artist without an audience? My X-wife complains that no one reads her blogs.

    Naturally, I complained about the “lowest common denominator” characteristics of the whole thing: All seemed to be posting the same thing — this, in the face of a man who remembers a time when only 2 or 3 channels on TV were accessible. Now, we complain that there is nothing to watch on TV, despite the fact that we have hundreds of channels available.

    Today, I cooked a special plate of ribs, but the taste and the looks those ribs are relegated to one person — moi! Could there be more? Could I share?

    And when you are finished with your travels, you will certainly post them to your blog, but what about the idea of maximizing connection?

    Teachers have to be careful with FB, especially me, who is willing to share and act-out whatever it is that has my interest for the time being. A colleague of mine, just the other day said, “I don’t do FB, but I will when I retire.” That said much to me.

  10. druxha says:


  11. druxha says:

    Happy Birthday my fellow Libra, John! Hope you’re have a wonderful day! 🙂

  12. Lois, I had a supreme pizza (frozen) that included little pieces of sausage and pepperoni. If I had been with you, I would have joined you in tasting the scallops! I’ve not had much meat; today was all vegetarian. I will limit my intake of meat (though I am passionate about all meats!) for now; lter, I’ll do better planning and have another go at a full month.

  13. Lois says:

    Hey John….so, no more meatless. I’m curious, what was the first meat you ate? I’m guessing red meat… no, no. fish? I went to a raw vegan B&B get-away in Martha’s Vineyard years ago. It was amazing. But I didn’t last the whole four days. True confession time. While out window shopping, I HAD to go taste test the scallops :/

  14. druxha says:

    John, will be wishing you a happy one here, my fellow Libra, on Monday! Heck ya!!

  15. juan says:

    Decisions work like ripe apples for me — they teeter-totter on a stem and then drop. Sometimes, it’s the result of a good wind 😉 I’ve been off FB before, and so the reflective mid-road is one that essentializes it to 6 people for me: brothers, sister and children. For me, FB is like an interactive stage — it represents Shakespeare’s adage that “we are all actors,” and Andy Warhol’s 7 or 15 minutes of fame, and like some interactive stage — I, Ham — find myself wanting too often to act and join the crew. The problem is, however, that I am on computer everyday, and so its FACE “cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore” (Ginsberg, America). Too much slips and slips on by.

    Ah, but now Pininterest looks interesting 😉 I’ll see you here or some good emails!!!

  16. Juan, I’m not sure about whether “reacting” works with numbers; It’s worth a discussion! I’m interested to learn about your cataclysmic decision. It’s always wise, in my view, to reach such epic points only after much thought and reflection, ensuring they are based on logic and/or what really matters.

  17. Teresa. That would make me happy! 🙂

  18. juan says:

    I love your word “reacting.” I wonder if it works with numbers? Smaller numbers of investiture shorten that world, but even at 45 I find is too much. I’ve been slowly rising to a cataclysmic decision of the same sort. Strange you are thinking this as I was. The point I think is consolidation to singular, good things! I was just listening and reading along the CD version of “The Tempest,” where Prospero, exiled, now is in control of his island — his mastership coming through a good spirit he has freed, Ariel (captured and placed in a box), and the books he has.

    You are in control….you are the magician! Those must not go forgotten.

  19. Monday is the big day, Robin! But I don’t be on FB. I haven’t cut the account, just won’t be signing in…not sure if that’s the wayt to go or not, but that’s the plan. Thanks for the links! I have become a huge fan of falafel!

  20. Teresa says:

    Maybe I’ll start blogging again. 😉

  21. robin andrea says:

    Thank you for your kind words, John. Are we going to miss your birthday on Facebook? I swear I saw that it was on Monday. Is my mind playing tricks on me? It does that sometimes.

    About the falafel, I pretty much used this recipe:
    and the Moosewood Cookbook:

    It was quite tasty. Although, next time I’m going to do a bit more experimenting. it was delicious.

  22. Bev, doing without meat is not so hard for me, but I sure did a lousy job of preparing for it. I do think I’ll be more creative once I’ve removed myself from the noise; I hope so!

  23. Robin, thanks for being a spot of sanity on the internet; I go to your blog and wish the world had more people like you and Roger. I’d love to know your falafel recipe; LOVE falafel!

  24. Thanks, Trish. I hope my tone here will improve. It must.

  25. Bev says:

    A break from socialmedia sounds like a good plan. You’ll be missed, but You might do more creative blogging and use your time in other meaningful ways. Too bad about having to abandon the month of meatless diet. I think it may be a difficult thing to give up.

  26. robin andrea says:

    I think it sounds like a great idea, John. I don’t spend much time on Facebook. I don’t post often, and mostly I post links to the blog. Facebook has made me love blogging again. I look forward to your posts here.

    Roger and I don’t eat red meat at all. We have chicken once or twice a week. That’s our meat intake. When we feel low in protein, which happens sometimes, we snack on almond butter on rice crackers. Delicious and high in protein. We do eat plenty of tofu, and lately I’ve been experimenting with homemade felafel.

    Enjoy your Facebook respite. Say good bye to the mind din of voiceless clamoring.

  27. druxha says:

    Enjoy your self imposed exile, John. Relax, as you’d said. Look forward to you new “tone” here, and take care! 🙂

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