Yesterday I had a facebook. Today, I have a blog.

 

Last light, 2:16 am, my screen illuminates my fingers — dark rods, alien in the blue-black glow. “You can contact me by e-mail or phone.” I’m sick. I’m done with the voyeurism, the illusory self, the politics.

Though I must confess, I love facebook, which is precisely why I had to leave.

It’s strange how quickly love can turn to repulsion.  I found myself, with each login, growing more furious. I despised the social network for turning my friends into people I hate.  But I don’t hate my friends; I hate their online simulacras. Jennifer X > Michelle X: “Yeah, let’s meet up for drinks Thirstday.” This, for me, was the catalyst.  At what point do we share personal messages between two people with hundreds?–when we want an ostentatious social life that reflects the celebrity culture that our western world has become.  People’s facebook walls are now forums to flex their social muscles to the world – err, to their friends. Put simply, I do not need to, nor do I wish to, read about issues that concern no more than two people in my “news feed.”  I am aware that I can block posts by certain people, yet, most all posts are moving in this brash direction.

It’s not just ‘them’ that is the problem – it’s me. I connected with people on facebook, but my connections were self-serving. To be sure, my close friends will always remain close, regardless of a wall or a tag. But the people who I needed to be connecting with had simply become objects of my voyeurism.  When I wanted to connect with someone I would peer into their life: browse their albums, read their wall, check out their info, and, very seldom, communicate.  In this sense, the gaps created from lost connections are filled with a façade that was prompted both by me and for me – not a mutual desire to share our lives.  After spending hours with my girlfriend exploring our pasts through photos, we laughed over the stories that accompanied the photos, we learned from one another, and, simply, grew closer together. I saw what I had been missing.  I want to sit down and connect with people. I want to hear the stories that accompany the photographs in their albums. I don’t want to seek; I want to be shown.

I’ve been without facebook for a day and, already, my life is better. I’m genuinely excited to learn about peoples’ lives and stories from the people, and not a wall or feed. I had more than enough time to tend to my beer and winemaking.  My homework is, well, I’ve done more homework than I otherwise would have, and I’ve written a blog entry. I didn’t do these things solely because I left facebook, but, moreover, because I feel good about leaving facebook.

I am not anti-facebook.  While facebook works for many, it no longer does for me. Certain features, like events, will be missed, but, to steal the words of a spurned lover who deleted their dumpee: “I need my virtual space.”

Feel free to share your thoughts on facebook. How does it improve or limit your life?

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5 thoughts on “Yesterday I had a facebook. Today, I have a blog.

  1. Funny… I just wrote about my reactions to facebook recently. I never was in love with facebook, but, at certain times in my life, I found it useful. My long-winded account is here: http://theskinhorse.wordpress.com/2011/02/25/why-you-wont-find-me-on-facebook/

    I much prefer blogging and reading other individual’s blogs. Blogging, to me, allows for more personal and intimate interaction (if one chooses to engage). I don’t blog often either, as too much time plugged-in leaves me feeling drained eventually regardless of the stimulus.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I, too, had many reasons for leaving facebook. I agree with everything you said, especially your first point, in that facebook is a “colossal distraction.”

    Spam was a big problem for me as well. I was getting invitations from people who I didn’t know, but were in my extended network, and I had no idea how to make this stop. I found the friend suggestions particularly intrusive and creepy. Often, after meeting someone, they would appear in the friend suggestion page. Sure, I can chalk it up to mere coincidence, but I’m inclined to think they were looking at my profile and facebook put two and two together.

    Not once had I signed out of facebook and thought, “well, I really enjoyed the time I just spent on facebook.” Yet, the locus of my online ritual was facebook, which was followed by e-mail, returning to facebook, news, returning to facebook, returning to facebook, returning to facebook. I didn’t enjoy facebook, yet: return, return, return. I’m still trying to figure out why I spent so much time with something that gave me so little pleasure, while, at the same time, resenting the fact that I didn’t have—or rather, make—time to do the things I love.

    Writing, one of the things I love but often neglect, seems to have found the happy medium of blogging. It is much more personal and engaging than facebook will ever be: facebook is a distorted surface, whereas blogging, from what I have gathered, is geared towards substance.

    • “Not once had I signed out of facebook and thought, “well, I really enjoyed the time I just spent on facebook.” ”

      That was my experience with facebook as well. Once I come to the realization that I’m not enjoying something that I’m not required to do, I generally stop. I think part of the propagation of addictive cycles with online social networks has to do with immediate gratification and the superficial feelings of connection, like you mentioned in your post. Also, time online is accelerated. Once you get roped into an online community, missing a day is like missing a week in meatspace. If one doesn’t check often, then there is an overwhelming mountain of “catching up” to do later (and most of it is nonsense anyway).

      You’re in good company in the facebook-free world. 😀 Welcome!

  3. lol great !!! i had a facebook in like 2008 ..ran it for a year…quit that…in 2010 started my blog…and …i dont think ill ever quit lol…welcome…nice blog!!

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