Monday, June 06, 2011

The End of Facebook

I decided earlier this week to stop interacting on Facebook. I will keep my account. I want people to be able to find me and to be able to contact me easily. I will no longer check the wall to see what's going on with everybody that I know, and I won't post links to the things I feel are interesting a few times each day. I'm quitting cold turkey, and I feel a distinct sense of relief.

Facebook takes much of the challenge of "socializing" out of socializing. It is a great communication tool, and I really do enjoy it a lot. That said, it is both a blessing and a curse. I can comment on 100 different friends' daily happenings without ever really taking the time to talk to them in person, one on one. When I want to share things now, I'm much more likely to post on Facebook than to call on the phone or send a personal e-mail.  I feel like this mode of communication is not as rich as the "traditional" ways of communicating. I know... I sound like an old fashioned romantic longing for the "good ole days."

FB is addictive as sin. I want to know what's going on with all of my old friends. I want to know what somebody said to that last funny comment, or to the one that I knew would make some people angry. I check FB several times each day to see what the latest thing is. It seems like I socialize more on FB than anywhere else. That fact is slightly disturbing. Logging into Facebook is kind of like shooting up on a really good "friendship drug." It allows me to feel like I'm being social, but all of that socializing is digital, using a keyboard. The reward of feeling connected to everything feels too shallow to be worthy of the real-world time that is lost. How would I be doing things differently if I weren't looking at Facebook every couple of hours? I'm about to find out.

I know that I would be interacting more with the local community and with local people here in GJ if it weren't so easy for me to just log in and get my fill of status updates from everywhere else. I'd probably play more music, read more books, write more and socialize out in town with my local friends if I weren't writing a response to some political outrage. If I could actually, really, log on for only 5-10 minutes per day, I'd be happy to do that. I just don't think I've got the willpower to make that a reality. So... I guess I want to stay back in the 20th century when it comes to communication.

Knowing everything about everyone all the time is a lot of fun, but (for me anyway) it really is too much of a good thing. It's like I'm losing some of the richness and texture of really living life fully with the few people I live near and choose to connect with in exchange for a superficial knowledge and token participation in the lives of everyone I know. I will miss keeping tabs on everyone all the time, but don't be surprised if you hear from me in an e-mail or on the phone, or even by snail mail. Facebook, you will be missed.

This obsession is dead. Long live the obsession...


UPDATE: That decision lasted about 2 weeks...