Saving face by leaving Facebook
I’m going rogue. I’m going MIA. I’m (temporarily) retiring my Facebook self.
While I hesitate to say that I was addicted to Facebook, I would admit that most of my time spent on the computer was spent flicking around Facebook and fantasy baseball websites (which I might argue is a more dangerous addiction, but that’s reserved for another article).
Anyway, I decided to pull the plug on my Facebook earlier this week, sort of on a whim. I had thought about de-activating my account for a little while now, but only I recently got enough courage to do it. It all started when some of my friends deemed me a Facebook “expert” and said that they could always count on me to respond with a prompt comment to their own posts. A newly added “friend” told me that she was excited to finally be able to “read my infamous status updates.” Well, quite frankly, I don’t want that reputation! So I’m going cold turkey. No Facebook till the end of Lent.
I’m fairly confident that I can make it, but what will happen to my social life? Facebook chat has become a staple of communication with my best friends on campus. Hundreds of times, I’ve found myself sitting on my computer with Facebook open when I suddenly get a message from one of my friends asking “Bobs, 5?” or “want go play some basketball?” Sure, texting would be a pretty easy replacement for chat, but it’s even easier to see that your friend is just sitting on his or her computer and is therefore more likely to want to do something.
Then there is the infamous phenomenon of Facebook “stalking.” Think of all the times you meet someone one night, and then once you get back to your dorm, you log onto Facebook and search him or her on Facebook. This probably happens more often with someone you have a romantic interest in: you check their page to see if they are single or just going through their pictures to see if they are actually cute. I know many of us can admit that we spend a lot of our time procrastinating in the library just “stalking” people on Facebook, and that’s just kind of sad.
So, now that my virtual self is dead, I am excited to see if my friendships become more genuine and personal. No longer can people say we are not friends in real life because our friendship is Facebook official. Or, will my lack of a Facebook do the opposite and force people not to bother getting to know me more because they couldn’t find me on Facebook and figure that I’m just some anti-social weirdo? Only time will tell. Maybe nothing will change. Maybe I’ll just find that I have one less distraction on the computer and will get my work done that much quicker.
But I’m really excited! Instead of “getting to know me” through Facebook, you’ll have to hang out with me! Instead of spending an hour “getting ready to work” at the library browsing around Facebook, I can just get right to work! No more “Facebook official” relationships. No more artificial friendship. I know it makes me sound mean, but I could probably survive without about 500 of my 700 or so friends. I never interact with them anymore and some I’ve never even talked to. Instead of being fake friends with hundreds of people, I can become that much closer to those that I really care about. I’m excited to go back to what friendship meant to me before 9th grade.
I often wonder how I let Facebook take over so much of my time. Why was it so addicting? I’ve come up with some answers. The first one is something I sure hope I’m not alone in thinking—I’d often go through my own Facebook thinking how other people would view my Facebook page. I picked profile pictures based on which pictures would get the most “comments” or “likes.” I would create Facebook statuses or comment on other people’s posts for no reason. Yeah, that “like” gave me a five-second confidence boost, but after that, it was completely meaningless.
I’m sure many of you feel that giving up Facebook for 40 days is no big deal and that you could all do it too. And I’m sure most people at Colby could do just that. I’m not trying to start some noble cause—far from it. I simply want to prove to myself that I’m not addicted to Facebook. I want my “Facebook friends” to know that there is more to me than a witty Facebook post.
As I look out across the first floor of Miller library, I see Facebook on screen after screen. But for the near future, I won’t be one of those screens. Despite being off the electronic “grid”, I already feel more connected to those people that I truly care about.