My husband and I left Facebook a week ago. I received one text from a friend yesterday asking if everything was ok because “I couldn’t find you on Facebook.” No one else has inquired about our departure (husband and I had a joint account, which is pooh-poohed by the gods of Facebook, but many couples like us do it anyway).
We left for several reasons (I think this blog here does a great job at expressing the various reasons why Facebook should be left… I like the way the passive voice sounds right there). My reasons are a bit more personal.
1) My side of the family uses it as a primary means of communication, so I want the departure to force us to actually have real conversations.
2) Spying on past friends, old acquaintances, and so forth is creepy. We were feeling very odd about the ability to look into the lives of people we had a falling out with, or that we were secretly jealous of, and so on. Of course, that’s not Facebook’s fault entirely, but the platform allows for creepers. We didn’t want to be creepers anymore.
3) I got tired of judging selfies. I used to take pictures of myself, before they were called “selfies,” but I’d like to hope that I wasn’t trying to be a prideful, pompous, pornographic sex object. Of course, we tend to remember ourselves in the best light.
4) We didn’t want to be creeped-upon. We tried not to share too much, but there’s the temptation to make those “this is what I’m eating for dinner” posts that, realistically, don’t matter beyond that moment.
4a) I’m all for embracing the moment, especially from a creative perspective. But Facebook status updates are NOT creative expression. They’re often made with the forethought of someone needing to use the restroom.
4b) We would sometimes post these deep status updates about the plight of African-American men in impoverished neighborhoods, share sermons from our church that really impacted us, repost blogs from other writers that challenged our thought process, and share interviews from scholars we thought needed to be viewed by our 50-or-so friends. “Friends.” And what would get thumbs up? What would receive comments? Our “this is what I’m eating for dinner” posts. Inevitable, right?
4c) Facebook is not the medium for deep thought. We want to be people of deep thought (this blog is part of that journey for me). I am a writer, for instance. Facebook is not for writers. Writers need time, space, alone-ness, contemplation. I can’t have that with creepy dating ads and car ads and McDonald’s ads on the side of my page, with “People You May Know” hanging out at the top of my browser window (“Oh I remember her; she was a horrible person.”).
5) We would check it every day. Often right after we had woken up. Sometimes before we connected in conversation with each other. Not very healthy.
6) The fact that I miss it a little bit means that I was addicted. Extreme conclusion perhaps, but it’s true for me. I don’t want anything like Facebook to demand my attention. I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out on life when life is happening all around me right now, in real time, outside of this expensive box sitting on my lap.
The box is not real life. The internet is not real life. Facebook is not real life.