Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why I'm (Mostly) Leaving Facebook

I'm leaving facebook. Well, not completely. I have aunts, uncles, and cousins who communicate with me there--in fact, they are the only ones who really do, and it's the only way most of them communicate, too. So I'm doing something crazy: I'm defriending people. Yep. I'm defriending all my friends and just keeping relatives/family-friends-who-are-so-close-they-count-as-relatives. Here (in no real order) are my 10 reasons why:

  • Some people only post successes, and sometimes seeing what people are doing (more seeing HOW MUCH people are doing), I become less content with my life. I feel like I have to keep up. "I don't have this or that together in my life...but they do!!" When I'm not on facebook, I'm happy with where I'm at.
  • Facebook gives a skewed view of life--to the negative as much as to the positive. Some people only post successes, but others only post complaints, sob stories, and whiny articles about how the government/X country/X company is going to the dogs. (At first I could only think "going to the sheep." That's probably more accurate.) It gets me upset, angry, and down. I also don't know if they are representing the full truth of the matter or not.
  • Facebook can make me judgmental; someone always complaining about their life is going to get my bad opinion. But for all I know, facebook is just their dumping ground for bad emotions (not a good idea, but some do it). Or maybe I see lots of strange pictures and start to judge. But I don't know the full story behind those photos. And even if I did, it's still not my job to judge.
  • Some people will only post fluff. And maybe to them, that fluff is important; maybe it's just Stuff I Don't Care About. But I have better things to do with my time. I just don't care. If we are still friends in real life, then we can get together and talk about the stuff we have in common. Either way, our facebook friendship is pretty useless and gets in the way of what's important.
  • Nobody asks how others are doing on facebook any more. I get a message once in a blue moon, but far more often I get emails. Facebook is only a place to talk. No one actually listens: everyone is talking about themselves. I rarely get comments or replies to my comments (and when I do, it's from family members). Facebook is no longer a dialogue.
  • Facebook is used to replace face-to-face time. Because we're facebook friends and we occasionally see each other's posts and "like" them, we don't feel as big a need to hang out. The friend I have hung out by far the most this year doesn't have facebook. I'm not lulled into a false sense of knowing her: I actually get out and talk with her! I know facebook doesn't have to get in the way of real relationships, but it often does despite our best efforts.
  • I feel awkward being connected with people who I don't know any more, such as high school friends who I haven't seen in the past 5 years. I have changed a lot. I grew up. So did they. If we were to start actually seeing each other again, we would have to start from scratch in many ways. So why are we pretending? I want to be genuine on facebook with the people who care about me.
  • Leaving facebook helps me minimize my friend circle to the people that I'm actually friends with. When I stop spending time on facebook stalking the people who I never hear from or call on the phone, I will have more time to spend hanging out with the people who are around me right now. Time is precious. With the time I have, I can love everyone poorly or love a few people well. I choose to love a few people well, and pray that it spills over into the rest of the world.
  • I want to have a real life. I want to get out and see the world and be involved in our community. This requires time. We check facebook so often that we don't have as much time to go out and have a real life.
  • I have to be always on facebook or else the important stuff gets buried. For the past couple years, I've been slowly using facebook less and less because the format changed, my friends changed, my life changed, and I just got more and more frustrated. I go on 3-4 times per week. The reason I see a lot of fluff is that the few important things are posted once...and then they're gone. They disappear down a person's timeline, and after 1 day, someone's announcement that they got a new job won't show up in my news feed. If I want to know this stuff, I have to either be on multiple times a day...or see them in person.

Instead of facebook, I'm moving to Google Plus. I can follow things without having to "like/+1" them and give them my vote. During the election, I followed both Dems and Reps, but I didn't want to "like" either one. I can easily group people and share with who I want. The people who are on G+ actually comment and respond. It's simpler than facebook, like facebook used to be years ago.

I know some of you can't dream of defriending people. If any of the above things ring true but you don't think you can leave facebook completely, I have two suggestions for you:

1. Defriend some people. I have been doing this for years. Every 6 months or so I go through and delete all the people who I'm not really in contact anymore. I even defriend the friends who never use their facebooks. If they're never on, why are you friends? Text them or email them instead. Just because you're not facebook friends doesn't mean you're not real friends.

2. Try going off of facebook for a limited time. I know people who have done this to great effect during busy times of their lives--work deadlines, finals week, etc. They come back to facebook with a healthier perspective and are no longer addicted: the tie gets broken so you can rule facebook instead of facebook ruling you. It will also help you see if maybe you don't really need facebook at all and can leave. I tried this, and it showed me that I do need a facebook for family members.

Good luck, and see you on Google Plus!