I did it. I quit Facebook.
I was in the middle of changing my profile picture, (“Hey co-worker, does it look vain to put up a profile picture you took of yourself?… Yes?… Hm… Gonna do it anyway”) looking at someone’s party pictures, (“that guy is such a manwhore”) and pondering someone’s relationship status (“Wait… didn’t they use to be married…?”) when suddenly it occurred to me: I don’t care. And I signed out.
And then ten minutes later I signed back in. Instantly forgetting how I wasn’t that interested about the minute details of everyone’s day to day life (most of whom I never even talk to), I signed back in for some more stalking surfing, naturally. And when I did so, a box popped up (oh hey, look, Facebook changed again) and said box asked to link all my personal information to “pages” (oh hey, look, I have to readjust my security settings, again) to show like-minded people that I live in Birmingham and like certain music and read certain books. When I tried to not link anything, I was given an ultimatum: Link something or remove all said information from your profile.
I was being held hostage by my own profile! Fine. Whatever. I selected Passenger as my token link– let their fans in Australia see I, too, have similar tastes– who cares? It wasn’t until my friend sitting next to me got the same message and said sadly, “But I don’t want to link everything in my personal profile…” that I got a little incensed.
“Then don’t!” I said. “Click ‘remove’ and don’t let them bully you!” (gah, I’m so good at telling other people to stick it to the man) So she clicked “remove.” Because she didn’t want to share her interests with everyone on “pages,” she couldn’t share them with her friends on her personal profile. While on the grand scheme of things it wasn’t that big of a deal, we were both kind of frustrated about it.
And then I decided.
It’s been fun– years of witty wall banter, clever album names, snarky statuses, posed pictures, and leisurely Facebook stalking… but you know what? I have a blog. I have real friends that I talk to in person. I Skype. I email. I g-chat. I even have a pen-pal (yes, I actually take pen to paper and send something off via snail mail with stamps). And hello, iPhone: I can play games with friends, text, email, Skype, and even talk all on one nifty little device that I can take with me everywhere! I’ve so got this communication thing down. And the beauty of all those things? They all only deal with the people who are actually somewhat invested in my life.
I decided I don’t need Facebook to suggest friends for me, or to keep in touch, or to get an invitation to a party in Wisconsin. I don’t need to know she broke up with him, or how tired he is, or what vacation they took. And really, no one needs to know all those same things about me–and if they do, they can read my blog. Genius!
I looked up and down my news feed and discovered despite weeks of sporadically “hiding” people I didn’t really care to know about, I still hadn’t streamlined my live feed down solely to the people I’m actually interested in– because I have 882 friends even after all the Facebook friend binges I’ve gone on through the years. I realized that I already knew what was going on in the lives of people I was interested in anyway… all, like, 20 of them. I thought about the amount of time I spend on Facebook catching up on the deets of people I never talk to, or used to talk to, or who are sitting in the chair next to me… and that was it. I decided to deactivate. Click, click.
Do you know how they try to sucker you into staying? They lay out a spread of friends that you have tagged pictures with– so it’s not just your friend’s face, no. The cheap shot is it’s you with your friends, having a grand ol’ time. And then it says, “Are you sure you want to leave? Your 882 friends will no longer be able to stay in touch with you.” It’s pretty effective, I have to say. You almost forget you had to go out with those people before the pictures ended up on Facebook in the first place. And you almost believe you will never talk to them again.
Well, it’s day two of Life Without Facebook and I’ve already used a co-worker’s account (with her permission, natch) to comment on Leisel’s wall–but other than that life has gone on as normal and my friends have still managed to find a way to stay in touch with me. There’s only a slight part of me that feels like I don’t exist half as much as I used to because everyone can’t peruse through my profile online… but then I remind myself that is exactly why I needed to get rid of it. I signed back in (turns out, re-activating your Facebook account only requires signing in like normal) and yes, everything was just as I left it. If I relapse, I can always go back and it will be like I never left.
So the question I don’t know yet know the answer to is how long I’m going to live like this, Facebookless. Leisel gives me a month. I would be extremely happy to go without Facebook for 6 months. And if I find I still function in my day to day life without it and never go back– so much the better. So let the withdrawals begin!