Disclaimer: I have never been one to complain a lot about Facebook (beyond the time suck it can be, but more on that later). I actually am usually the person who touts all of the wonderful new and old connections I’ve made through it and how it can be a great way to share information and memories with friends and family. The following is not meant to be me preaching or standing on my soap box or in any way come off as anti-social networking. It is just a candid look into a recent decision I made.
I’ve been a Facebook user for probably about 2-3 years. And it has served me well. I’ve not only gotten back in touch with a ton of wonderful people from my past but I’ve even re-kindled actual friendships with many of these connections. The kinds of friendships where I actually call and talk and see these people!! Craziness. I’ve also found Facebook to be an important spot to keep me informed on huge milestones in friends’ lives like weddings, babies, business openings, new jobs, even deaths in families. And finally, I know I’ve used, at least in the last year, to get a lot of my major news and to keep up on not only progressive politics, but what people on the Right are saying as well (it was a bit disconcerting to find that many of my “friends” voted for Scott Brown- I subsequently hid them from my news feed!)
However, over the last few weeks, as the Fall (and second to last!) semester of my grad school program started and I found myself not working yet, I seemed to be spending a huge amount of time on Facebook. Much of this had to do with how much time I had on my hands, along with a, I admit, a few new dating interests. I was finding that I was on Facebook ALL the time!!! I would be out for a few hours and I’d come home and have to immediately go back through the entire news feed to see if I missed anything. And then I was looking at wedding photos, baby photos, reality tv updates, and new dating interests’ walls back to 1999. It was getting to be a bit out of control. To top it all off I recently had an ex-boyfriend discover that I had “defriended” him months ago, and he was annoyed, which I thought was interesting as the only reason I had done it was so that I would stop obsessing over his page. It was time for a change.
So Tuesday night, fueled by red wine courage, I did the unthinkable. I deactivated my Facebook account. Yup. Just went into my account and deactivated. Even checked off the button that allows friends to continue tagging me in photos and to invite me to events. I wanted to go cold turkey.
I woke up yesterday morning wondering if I had made a rash decision. I realized I had but I also realized that maybe it would be an interesting experiment. Facebook makes it pretty hard to actually leave the site. All I really did was turn off my profile so it disappears from all friend lists, walls, etc. It seems, that all I have to do to be an active member of the community again is to just sign back in. So now it seems I have the opportunity to do a little thinking on my life and how I interact with social media. I’ve decided to see if I can do 30 days without Facebook. I know I am being super dramatic and realize that I could just not sign on but I was addicted, I needed to be stopped for real. [I am still on Twitter but I use that in a very different and more anonymous fashion].
Over the next 30 days (if I make it!) I hope to be a bit more actively involved in my life and in my friend’s lives. Starting a new job on Monday will help as I won’t have as much free time but I think it will be interesting to see if I feel like I’m missing anything. Will I not be invited to someone’s party? Will I not learn of a birth? Will I realize that the only way I know how to reach some people is through Facebook? Will I cave under the pressure and log back on before 30 days?
Not sure of the answers but I think it will be interesting to find out. Especially as my future career will be in information gathering I think it will be a good look into how I get my information about my social world and even about the world itself.
Expect to find me on Twitter a lot more as I’ll have to post my daily thoughts somewhere. I mean a diary is just unheard of these days….