Walking Away – A Facebook Group was taking over my life


There is a closed community that I participate in on Facebook that I have been a member of for about 7 months. I was invited to join, and I thought I had found a den of like minded people to share our common goals. It was an amazing and safe place to hang out. Really cool people, sharing really cool things, and very little judgmental attitudes were in the air.

Yes, there were some diversions, and some conflict, heck it is impossible that with > 3,000 members there had to be some differences in opinion.

Yet as the group grew it changed. At about 6,000 members, there was a notable shift in the civility. Some genuine nastiness was creeping in. (for the record, occasionally a true dissenter would get past the selection process, but they usually outed themselves quickly and disappeared)

Now that the membership is well above 9,000, the group has become somewhat toxic. The moderators had to be ever vigilant for banned material being posted. The selfie threads turning into misogyny, and rape references, and a level of nastiness that really appalled me.

All through this process I loved the group. There was an evolving core group of great people, many who have become friends on my profile. We would share amusing pictures, memes and experiences. It was fun. They are great people. I found that about 90% of the time I spent on FB was in that group, and it felt like home.

Almost 100% of my posts and shares were in this group. I am sure my real friends wondered where I had disappeared to.

However, the toxicity of the group (I will admit that the admins were doing an admirable job to try to control the chaos) has made me stop following it, and stop receiving notifications from the group. I just decided to go cold turkey. The straw that broke the camel’s back was a fun meme I posted mocking Justin Bieber generated a shitstorm of hate. If you can’t mock Bieber, then it isn’t worth staying.

Something surprising happened. My news feed became relevant again. I started interacting with my friends, and I feel less like a slave to continue to post to that group.

I am enjoying Facebook more than I had for a while. It is a good thing.

I may not ever go back to that group.

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By geoffand

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October 2014

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