Monday, February 15, 2010

Turning My Back on Facebook

It wasn't easy, deleting my Facebook Account. The actual technical act of deletion, I mean. I don't imagine that it is in Facebook's best interest for users to go deleting their accounts all willy-nilly. So those savvy FB designers buried the Account Deletion instructions away... maybe somewhere far beneath Farmville.... and made it difficult for me to find them. Users can "Deactivate" their account relatively easily, which, as far as I can tell, is FB's way of a slow-burn approach to cutting the FB habit. No, I wanted cold turkey, so I googled and found the link (in a bit of chuckling irony, someone has created a FB group called "How to Permanently Delete Your Facebook Account"). Even still, FB tells me that it won't actually delete accounts unless the user doesn't log in for 2 weeks, thus ensuring that the addict has access to the drug to the bitter end.

The idea that I should tell Facebook to talk to the hand has been dancing on the outskirts of my mind for a while. I recall a conversation with friends just prior to Christmas, when he detailed the fact that his mom had a tagged a particularly hideous photo of him on FB, and he didn't have the heart to untag it, but then worried what others, particularly people who hadn't seen him in years, would think when they saw it. And we all said with such bravado, "Who needs FB anyway, really? Maybe we should delete it. Yes! We should!" and then we immediately scurried back to our respective smart phones to check the latest status updates. Then, last week, I stumbled across this article about people who were choosing to give Facebook the cold shoulder, and then I laughed my head off at this video, and I made my decision.

And you're wondering why.

Facebook Stole My Blogging Mojo*
*I can't take credit for this phrase. Diane said it to me first.
Remember when I used to write? Complete thoughts? More than just a snarky sarcastic comment? (See?! I still can't do it. Case in point). Facebook stole my blogging mojo. Posting a phrase in a status update is so much easier than fully thinking something through and crafting coherent communication of that thought. I know that I'm no Shakespeare, but I like writing. I like spending my spare moments thinking of analogies and turns of phrase. And with FB, I grew lazy, relying on short bursts of words to communicate. Add to that the fact that I spent my spare moments FB stalking rather than thinking of writing topics or word choice, and, well, you saw it. My blog disappeared. I want it back.

The Great Time Suck
Honestly. How much time did I waste on Facebook? I cringe to think of it. Scrolling around aimlessly, looking at random photos, clicking through to other random photos, somehow ending up on pictures of people I don't even know. Gross. And it happens in small increments, so the actual accrual of time goes unnoticed. Sneaky, sneaky Facebook. And guys? I don't care what virtual animal you just adopted or how many Swag bucks you've accumulated or what you had for breakfast. Really. So why was I spending my time looking at that?

The Lurk
I was lurking. Who doesn't? But I was lurking too much. Call it nosy. Call it voyeurism. Call it unhealthy. Is there a positive word to describe it? Not so much. So I don't want to do it anymore.
I love to hear about friends' and families' lives. Yes. But that's different than skulking around the pages of people I once knew or hardly know, developing opinions and judgments based on small snippets of information that certainly don't portray the full depth of that person. Speaking of that...

The Facebook PR Campaign
My friend Michelle blogged about this once-- how people use Facebook (and blogs) as one giant public relations platform. And, based upon what I said before about making snap judgments of people I don't really know because of a single Facebook photo, they're probably wise to do it that way. But authenticity suffers greatly. I'm not asking that people spew their dark and dirty all over their status updates. Heavens to betsy, please don't. I just decided that I didn't want to play the PR game anymore, at least, not in that realm. If we're truly friends, then let's be true friends. I recognize the irony that I'm stating this in a blog, which could be its own PR platform.

So it's been a week of Facebook-free for me, and there are times when I miss it... I find myself wondering if my friend who was pregnant has had the baby and posted the news on Facebook, assuming all would see it there, and I didn't... or those downtimes when I'm waiting for something and peer at my iphone, wondering what's on there to hold my attention. But the craving passes after a few moments.

And I can always contact my friend directly. How 'bout that?


Matthew said...

Kudos, Brave Soul.

chelle said...

I look forward to the triumphant return of Grace in the City.


Crystal said...

Wow Dana. I am so happy to read this because I can look forward to more of you blogging. I agree with you and have used some of the same reasons when people have asked me why I am not a member.
Crys O

Marissa said...

...and I say "welcome back friend, welcome back".

Dana said...

Good grief - another reason to be careful with facebook.

diane said...

I'm trying to grab my blogging mojo back too. And while I still log into facebook I find myself updating less and less and am even less interested in all the peering about than I was before. Hopefully I can derail my addiction without deleting it altogether.

And, good for you! Way to go!