Disconnecting from The Social Network

Facebook and I have been together for 5 and a half years, but now I believe that our relationship has become unhealthy. In the beginning it was perfect – meet people before I go to college that have the same interests. Then it became a photographic documentation of my college life – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Everyone knew what everyone else was doing, sometimes before they even did it. This began to take a toll on real life conversations. I’d meet up with friends, begin telling them a story of something that happened… only to be cut off – “I already read about it on your Facebook”.  It also began a cycle of unspoken life competition.  When your life is in the spotlight, you feel compelled to give people a great show.

Why I’m going to disconnect:

  1. Bring some serendipity back into my life. I want to randomly hang out with people. Walk over to someone’s apartment and say hi. Go out for coffee. Call a friend on the phone. Receive sidebar ads that are not catered to my current interests. Just do something without planning.
  2. Have more face time with friends. I want to hear stories from the people it happened to – not a website. Facebook makes it way too easy to stalk and judge people that I never intend on actually talking to. It’s easier to post on someone’s wall or invite someone to an event through Facebook than actually talking to them. There’s less fear of rejection. On the flip side – it’s easier to say no to an event over Facebook than to someones face. I think less face time has contributed to me being more of a hermit. I’d rather read about your life on Facebook than call you on the phone and I want to stop that.
  3. No longer live on display. You could argue that posting on this blog is still putting my life on display, but I would say it’s to the right people. I like you guys – you’re not some random person that I’ve never met or talked to in person.

Why I can’t disconnect all the way:

  1. My job. As much as I’d love to go all hippie against technology, I work for the wonderful worldwide web and knowing what’s going on on Facebook is part of my job. 2011 is shaping up to be the year of social media where every site will have some kind of Facebook connect or liking ability, so I can’t really avoid it being in this field. I can, however, strip my Facebook profile down to bare bones. See how that goes for awhile and then decide if I can/should leave completely. I am really interested in what will be the breaking point for the public – when nothing is private anymore. Will it be a good thing to have all your technological experiences catered to you? Who knows, but less serendipitous for sure.
  2. Events. Even though I won’t make events over Facebook anymore, I’m not going to force my friends not to either. Facebook events are the one thing I’ve found to be incredibly useful. If I do get invited to an event over Facebook, I will most likely respond in person. However, most of the people I invite to things over Facebook usually don’t respond and tell me the don’t check Facebook anymore or that I need to remind them in person closer to the date – so I’m really not that worried. I’m going to try my best to invite people to things in person, but if it’s something in the far future where people will need to remember a date – I’ll probably use email or try another event service.

All in all, many of you have already done what I plan to do – or were never as addicted as I was in the first place. On January 13th I will strip my account to bare bones. Expect some phone calls from me to see how you’re doing and plan visits. I’m kind of excited to complete my first new year’s resolution by coming out of my protective Facebook shell.

What do you guys think of Facebook now vs the past? How often do you use it? What do you use it for? Do you use it more or less frequently than Twitter?


1.12.2011 UPDATE: Tori sent me this link today and I thought it was relevant: Obsessed with Facebook Infographic