I was tempted to call this one, “Unfriending Facebook,” but that is just so predictable, I had to delete it. Even if it IS what I am doing.
Oh Be Careful Little You what You Post
I have recently begun to frequent a website which consists of many groups of people who share similar interests and post comments and responses about those interests. One of the areas I am interested in is relationships. But Facebook is often brought into these discussions as a place where people do things they shouldn’t do if they want to be successful in their relationships. Have conversations with exes, send pictures they later regret, flirt online in ways that are damaging to relationships, etc.
Everybody But Me is Having Fun
Have you seen any of the articles that suggest that frequenting Facebook actually leads to more dissatisfaction with life? Here is one such article. Seems that most of us post all the rosy, shiny parts of our lives, and leave out the boring, extremely personal, or sad parts. This has the effect of making us think that everyone else is doing great — a serious example of judging my insides by someone else’s outsides.
Now, my Facebook has been on probation for awhile now, as it has become less and less essential or interesting to me. I do not mean to be a snob; Facebook is fine for the people who love it.
Hey, Buddy, C’Mere, Have I Got a Deal for You . . .
I joined Facebook in 2007. Like most things, Facebook has been “improving” its services over the past 9 years. One of the improvements was the addition of ads, suggested websites, people you might want to friend, more and more and more suggestions/advertisements. Once I realized the specificity of the advertising directed at me came from my recent online activity, I got a little uneasy with Facebook knowing so much about me. But I figured that was just the price of having an online presence.
Snopes? What’s Snopes?
Over the years, I also got more and more disgusted with blatantly untrue things being shared without checking them out. There was something about that that concerned me greatly about society in general. Why are we so willing to glibly pass on information that we haven’t even checked out? I mean, I think the answer is because it confirms a bias that we hold, and of course I knew about the option of hiding a person’s posts, or unfriending them, or even just scrolling past the post, and I did all of those things at one time or another, but I finally said ENOUGH. There is TOO MUCH information coming into my circle of concern.
And Then There’s Kepler
Probably the main reason I have kept Facebook for this long is because I find that there are many people who are interested in updates about Kepler. My photos or updates about him always garner a lot of comments and likes. He’s cute and lovable and I know there are a lot of people who love and care about him, but the medium of Facebook makes that caring somewhat hollow when I don’t see or ever hear from most of the people who comment on photos.
If I “Like” Your Photo, Do I Also “Like” You?
Facebook seems to have made us all feel like we are having relationships with people because we see their birthday pictures or read about the race they ran or see a funny joke they posted. But, heck, I know that I am NOT having relationships with those people, REALLY. It’s a kind of pseudo-relationship that gives me little bits and pieces of info about a person’s life without me ever having to lift a finger to see them, to talk to them, or to really care about them.
For instance, I became aware through Facebook that a sort of friend was dealing with a serious illness. She was friend enough that I reached out to her in real life and offered several specific ways I would be glad to help, not just “let me know if you need anything.” I understand that a serious illness can have a way to throwing a big wrench in the monkey works and I am not offended that I never heard anything from her. My point is, I have continued to know about this person’s journey without seeing her in PERSON for a number of years now.
Another insidious effect of Facebook on me was that it lured me into thinking I had connections with people, when actually I spent a lot of time by myself at home. There is a legitimate sense of community that may be found in some online forums, in my experience, but not on Facebook FOR ME.
E-Vites for All
Facebook has become the go-to place for letting people know about stuff. And I thought about that before I deleted my account (oops, buried the lead there, didn’t I?) but I decided that the reality of me being on Facebook was not truly a place where I made connections or heard about events that I wanted to go to . . . with a VERY few exceptions.
And When You Select “Delete”
When you ask them to delete your account, they keep it for two more weeks in case your change your mind. There is also the option of downloading your account information, which includes your timeline, all the ads you have clicked on, all the photos and videos you have posted, all the “pokes” you have received, all your Facebook private messages. As a matter of fact, here are all the things you receive in your download:
The ads you’ve received?, your contact info, events you have replied “I’m going” to, your friends list, including everyone you have ever been friends with, and everyone you have ever unfriended, etc. So, I haven’t lost any of the photos or anything I’ve ever posted on Facebook; I have simply decided not to participate in Facebook any longer.
What’s the Alternative?
I’m still on Twitter and Instagram, and obviously I still blog. There are people I would like to know how they are doing, but I have decided to go back to the old-fashioned way of asking, either letter or phone. Kinda crazy in this day and age, but it’s what feels like the most authentic kind of relationship out there that I can see.
The Net Result
Although I recently deactivated my account as a step toward deleting it, I’m sure I have new vistas to experience once it’s gone for good. But I know this is one area of clutter in my life that I can let go of, even as I continue to hold tight to the people I know and love in real life.
So, to quote the inimitable Von Trapp family,