First of all, I give you all full permission to laugh wholeheartedly at this post. I understand how ridiculous it may sound to someone who has never had a similar problem. I grew up in a generation fascinated by social networks. I was just a tween at the dawn of MySpace, and went through the end of high school and college with Facebook. That means that all of my young adult mistakes are documented on the internet for all to see, and it also means that I have a zillion acquaintances ‘friended’. I have recently cut down my friends list to a third (that’s right, I now have only 200 friends) by simply asking myself – would this person actually stop to say hi to me?
Hi, my name is Dana, and I am addicted to Facebook. I check my Facebook at least twenty times a day. I bought a blackberry recently for the sole purpose of checking social networks while in public transit. I take frequent bathroom breaks at work and log in while i’m peeing. I check my Facebook before I get out of bed in the morning and before I go to bed at night. Most of the time, nobody has left me any sort of interaction. For the most part I am looking at other people’s profiles and conversations. I often find myself thinking “Hey, I wonder what so-and-so is up to?” and proceed to stalk them via the internet. Being upset, happy, uncomfortable, or witnessing a strange incident merits a status update. Said status update unravels a plethora of phone calls from friends and family members - but “It’s just a song!”. Unfriending someone is the ultimate betrayal.
But strangely, I cannot stand about Facebook. Facebook is ultimate friendship annihilation. Let’s say I lie and go to one friend’s house instead of another’s – a status update will undoubtedly give me away. Pictures will show that someone was around someone they weren’t supposed to be around. I can’t imagine what it’s like to see a potential flame’s Facebook profile for the first time – is he/she from “The Church of 4/20″? Are they married to their best friend or Fluffy, the family dog? Do their interests include pAArtying or hot girls? Oh lord, the possibilities.
There is also the question of privacy. Not just privacy issues, but of opinions. When you put something on Facebook, you are opening yourself up to your grandmother and father-in-law and their opinions. My Facebook has actually been a subject of discussion at family dinners. Your life suddenly becomes everyone’s domain of expertise, and your opinions, faith, wording, relationships with others, general silliness, and sexuality are no longer your property.
I have become frustrated with Facebook, but it is a love-hate relationship. I like having access to the lives of others but I can’t stand that I never get called by the people who constantly contact me online. I don’t like having digital friendships with people who have been in my life. It feels fake. But I have had no problem feigning these fake relationships with others.
So I have decided to undertake a 21-day Facebook challenge. I deactivated my account last Wednesday (Nov 10/10) and am going to go 21 days without logging in. I know it seems silly, but I’m feeling a lot more connected to reality. I actually have not received one phone call from anyone who contacts me online, and have gotten an e-mail and a text message from people asking me if they had insulted me and been deleted. AAnnnd… one of them was my mother!
It’s easy to feel lonely when you’re ‘surrounded’ by people who don’t regard you as human. I really am feeling happier and being more active and social than usual. The scary part is that this is the longest I have gone without Facebook since I was sixteen – and that includes other quit attempts, which never lasted more than 24 hours. Isn’t that nuts?