Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why I Am Leaving Facebook

I can recall myself saying the words "Facebook is ruining my life" three or four times in the last week, and I have finally decided that I don't need a fifth statement. My intercultural communications class is currently presenting papers about a significant cultural event. Today, I heard the thoughts and facts of one student who is arguing that social networking services are ruining current generations, and will continue to destroy physical relationships in future generations. There is one thing that the student said that solidified my decision to give Facebook a break: The average user spends a good 20 minutes on the website, 10 hours a week, and in total, 24 DAYS a year. I immediately reacted to his statement with, "Do you know how many books I could read in 24 days?" 

Therefore, I am taking a vacation from my Facebook connections. I no longer want to have 10 minute conversations with my family about a conversation we had on our walls, I'm tired of being disappointed by seeing things that upset me on Facebook statuses, and I am sick of the fake persona that I, and everyone else, has created on the web. Facebook is not who I am, and the things that I portray on my profile are only things I want other users to know. I am at the point in my adulthood where I am building relationships that will last me the rest of my life. I want these people to know me, my bad, and my good. The satisfaction that I used to get out of only being able to reveal a certain part of me has worn out, and I am eliminating the trouble that I have gone through to perfect that image. No more editing my "About Me" to reveal myself in a carefree light. The people that I care about know that my "Interests", "Music", and "Activities" are bigger than what I can fit into a 350 character box. My life is moving forward in real time, and honestly, I don't care what that kid from high school thought about 20 minutes ago. 

Will I miss it? Yes. I already miss it. I'm a creature of habit, and when I was reading the paper this morning I saw a story that caught my eye. Normally, I would post the article to my Facebook page in hopes that I could educate my feed followers. I had started to use my Facebook as a sort of outlet for the things that I've been passionate about, but I also started seeing more things that brought me down. So this longing to log on is bittersweet. I don't know when I will be back, or if I will be back. If this reprieve turns out to be more rewarding than I thought, I might get rid of my Facebook account for good. But more likely than not, I will be back on in the next few weeks. I want to be able to continue giving Facebook users some sort of interesting news that I come across, and I would like to think they will learn something useful. Last week a friend told me that she had watched both of the videos that I had posted and she had learned from them, so I know that my insight is appreciated. When I log back in I am not looking for 38 new notifications. I don't need an indicator to tell me that I have friends, and I hope (probably in vain) that others will follow suit. My reasoning is legitimate and I would be happy knowing that others felt the same, too. 

While I'm taking this break, I'm going to find ways to focus my attention elsewhere. What else can you do when you take such a big part of your day away? I will be calling friends instead of "facebooking" them to say that I haven't seen them in forever. I will read a book or eight, and possibly even open a text book to study instead of procrastinate on childlike Facebook games. I'll clean at times when I would have laid around and looked at carefully chosen profile pictures. Basically, I'm going to try to make myself feel more relevant than just a status update. 

I logged out, and deleted the bookmark from my browser, but before I did that I changed my status one more time: "Kaela Bergquist is leaving Facebook for awhile. I don't need this. Call me, email me whatever, just don't stalk me in real life please :)" 

I know the people that I love will continue to call, and that half of my facebook friends won't, but I've always been aware of that. If the childhood friends, distant relatives, and high school classmates really need to stay in contact with me, as avid facebook users they should know that under the "Info" tab, I have an e-mail address listed. It is an activate account, and it is NOT sexi.mplsbabe69@friendfinder.com. Happily, I will oblige to answer a friendly e-mail rather than a click from the new "like" button. I find it funny that "like" has become a verb, along with "facebooking", but that is besides my point :) 

Finally, I must share that the man sitting directly in front of me at this coffee shop is a bald, 45 year old looking man, and he is copying a passage out of a book onto his Facebook page. It has taken roughly 1o minutes of the cursor blinking in the 'What's on your mind?' box for him to find the perfect quote. I wish he was more aware of his surrounding to notice that I indeed have been laughing at him... Facebook will do that; make you unaware. 

So, have a good day, and if you are one of my Facebook friends that clicked the link to my blog under my "Info" tab, I thank you kindly for taking the time out of your Internet stalking to come read what I have to say. I appreciate you for it :) 

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