Breaking up with Facebook feels like ending a long term relationship. I didn’t expect the emotional response that has grown since I decided to delete my account.
I have had good advice from people;
Keep it open so you can get invites, just don’t post there.
Block the people whose posts are upsetting you.
Visit it less often, limit yourself, etc.
All good ideas. All good advice. However, Facebook has a cloying appeal, with one push of a mouse button I can waste hours of my time reading articles on the top ten worst drunk texts of 2014.
Am I disciplined enough to have an account and yet not push the mouse button? Is there a real risk I will miss important announcements, invitations, etc. if I do delete the account?
Will I miss friends who are far away? Will they miss me? Is there a value to Facebook that goes beyond what I am currently seeing?
Right now, Facebook is allowing me to be lazy in my relationships. My caller ID on my phone puts the numbers I call most often in my SpeedDial. I have two family members, two friends, work, and clients on my speed dial. I don’t have the friends I live close to, for the most part, because I don’t call them. I don’t talk to them. Instead I follow their posts on Facebook and feel as though I have put in the work necessary to maintain a relationship. I haven’t, and neither have they. We are coasting on a glossy surface of paragraph updates with a picture or two. Where once we would sit over a cup of coffee and talk for hours about whatever came to mind we are now reduced to “like” buttons and one or two sentence comments. I find myself seeking likes in the same way I used to seek approval from high school peers. It took years of self discipline to decide not to care about the people who didn’t care about me and to invest my time, instead, in those who did. Facebook undermines that diligence, and worse most likely because of its own algorithms and not through the choices of those friends. Facebook decides who sees what with a constantly changes series of equations.
In short, I need to get out more.
If I stay on Facebook, will my behaviors change? If I leave will my behaviors change or will these tenuous ties grow weaker, further reduced by not even following the small updates in my feed?
When did social media replace social interaction? Is this a necessary part of growing up? Are the distances there because they are natural? Am I blaming a social media platform for something that is a natural progression in life?
So many questions, so much obsession. All over a website.