Telling Facebook to Forget It
Why I decided Facebook wasn't for me.
It seems that every young person and his mom (and grandmother, for that matter) has a Facebook account these days. It is, perhaps, the easiest way to form or maintain connections with other people.
With one status update you can alert about 20 people who might actually care, and about 250 people who probably don't, that you just had the Best. Friday. Ever. How rad is that? Never mind that those 20 people were probably with you when the awesome Friday reared its pretty head, or the fact that if they weren't with you, you would probably tell them about it in person anyway.
No, no, informing the 250 others is absolutely essential.
A couple of weeks ago, after ruminating over the decision for months, I terminated my Facebook account. I came to the realization that of the 100 to 200-something "friends" I had, I really only had an interest in about 10. And those 10 were people with whom I already foster a relationship outside of the Internet. It seemed pointless that I should keep the account merely for the sake of staying up to date with their lives. If I really wanted to know, I could call them on my phone, or write an e-mail, or even indulge in an archaic face-to-face conversation.
That's the thing about Facebook; I find it to be a sickeningly sterile, impersonal mode of communication. You don't have to really "talk" to people or get to know them or hold yourself accountable for having a real relationship.
I think there's something to be said, for example, for someone calling you up on your birthday as opposed to someone writing on your wall to wish you a good one. The former takes more effort, a sign that hey! you're actually worth more than a single typed sentence (or more often than not, two words and a bunch of exclamation points).
Don't get me wrong. I do believe that Facebook and other social networks can be useful tools. Certainly it is one of the most convenient ways to organize group functions, share photos with friends and family, or form business contacts.
Frequently, however, it becomes a collection of mundane quotidian experiences ("OMMMMG. Just got back from Starbucks. I love their hot chocolate."), a journal of favorite song lyrics (which, let's be for reals, are really no better than the mundane-quotidian-experience updates), or a contest to see how many "friends" one can accumulate without actually being "friends."
Facebook is not meant to be a blog. Facebook is not meant to replace going through the effort of talking to or meeting people in the "real" world. And so, that's why I quit.