I keep reading how facebook (and other social media experiences) are creating a world with less real connections. A world where people are distracted and disengaged and where forming healthy and meaningful bonds has become less common. Now, whether or not you trust the studies or believe the conclusions, I know from experience that facebook et al. has indeed made my world smaller. But not because I’m less engaged.
My world is shrinking because I keep choosing to make it smaller to avoid facebook et al. My facebook experiment started as a result of realizing the vast majority of people I know are…assholes. Frankly, I think most of us are assholes, but facebook just shoved in my face how asshole-ish so many of my “friends” are. I got sick of it. I would rather be ignorant. When I see a friend for dinner, I just want to enjoy the time with them and conversation without knowing they posted a solicitation to support “traditional marriage” or signed a petition demanding to “see that Kenyan’s birth certificate.” When it comes to acquaintances, I have decided ignorance truly is bliss.
Now, I find myself moving things to the next level. I used to love reading comments on various media sites, including my local paper. At one time, I was even pretty active on many of them having discussions and thinking my comments might actually influence others. Now, I realize once again that most people are really assholes. And, given the protection of anonymity or the distance involved with posting from behind a computer, they will say the stupidest, most hurtful shit and think nothing of it. As with the smaller circle of my friends and acquaintances, I now want to be ignorant of the asshole factor of greater society. I just want to get through each day thinking that people in general are good, and facebook et al. simply makes that impossible. I already know, based on education rankings for instance, that Utahns are among the dumbest in the nation. I don’t need them to prove it to me daily in the local paper.
I guess eschewing facebook was my first step to becoming a hermit. And, since that first step is always the hardest, the march toward isolation and ignorance will move at a quickened pace. I’m done reading the comments on articles and media sites. As hard as it is, I will no longer scroll past the ads at the bottom to read what others are saying. By my definition, that is no longer a valid form of dialogue.
That being said, anyone, anytime who wants to meet for a beer or a nice glass of wine to discuss a current event or issue face to face…I’m there. I’ve learned it’s much harder to let the inner asshole out when you’re across the table from a living, breathing human being with a personality and feelings.
facebook killed my social life. Well, maybe not killed. But, it has seriously hampered things. Three times in the last couple weeks I have learned of friends’ get togethers to which I was not invited. In casual conversation each has mentioned that it’s because I’m not on facebook. Ouch.
Maybe I really am turning into that old man. The one who complains because the phone keeps ringing; why can’t people just write letters like they used to? Or the one griping because he has to get into AOL to get any communication; why can’t people just pick up the phone and call like they used to? Or the one who has to download six different chat programs because nobody sends a good old fashioned email anymore. I almost found myself pointing out to one of the offenders that we’re both online on the same chat feature all day, even if I am not on facebook.
I’ve seen the book take over more and more aspects of communication. Many online news sites have sold their souls to the fb devil and only allow comments via a facebook profile. Smartphone bandwidth is consumed at an insane rate, and I’ve heard the biggest usage hog is facebook. The pervasiveness isn’t motivating me to re-join. In fact, the other day I learned facebook finally added a permanent delete feature for profiles. I quickly reactivated my long dormant (over a year, baby!) profile and immediately requested deletion. It’s scheduled for 16 February. I have it marked on my calendar.
So, I guess I’ll be able to fulfill my goal of reading more. What with all my reclaimed social calendar time. Or, I’ll just spend more quality time with the people in my life who actually take the time to call or text me to let me know something is happening. Yes…text. See, I’m not that old.
I hate the idea of measuring things by the calendar. Why does it really matter that we’re heading into a new year when it comes to our successes, failures, goals, etc? It’s probably pretty obvious I hate the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Yet, I continually find myself falling into the trap of seeing some weird line to be crossed tomorrow night. I think it’s all United/Continental’s fault for forcing me to stress and connive to be sure I hit the 100,000 mile mark before tomorrow. Damnit…I want those System Wide Upgrade certificates!
In any case, for lack of anything better to do I decided to sit back and look at the past year. I realize the stock market sucked. The economy sucked. The job market sucked. Year three of the 2012 presidential campaign sucked. But, overall 2011 was a pretty good year for me. I’m grateful for the experiences I had including:
I really am grateful for all the time I got to spend with good friends and family. I really am fortunate to have the ability to travel and see the world and to do so with people whom I care about and have a blast with.
So, here’s to an even better 2012. Everyone should make the most of our remaining time. December 21 will be here before we know it!
Posted in adventures, facebook experiment, the bucket, travels
Tagged asia, facebook sucks too, happy new year, honduras, hong kong, Manila, nye, presidential races are eternal...and suck, resolutions, thanks for a bang up 2011
No, I’m not going to give a daily account of the facebook breakup. But, I did find it interesting how little I actually missed it today. I was a facebook addict. There…I admit it, and that is the first step to recovery. I knew I had a real problem when I found myself in front of the computer checking facebook and simultaneously picking up the iPhone and checking…facebook. That was when I knew I had to end it.
Step 1 was deleting the iPhone app, and Step 2 commenced today when I “deactivated” my account. You see, you can never actually delete a facebook account; you merely deactivate it. It’s a fairly quick process, but does include at least two screens with pictures of your friends and claims that “Sarah will miss you!” Or, “Mike will miss seeing your photos!” I actually hesitated for a moment. I mean, Mike does like looking at my photos. And, Sarah and I haven’t talked in almost 20 years except through facebook. I started to wonder if I was making a mistake in terminating my connections to so many “friends.”
In the end, I was strong. I clicked through all the dire warnings portending the end of my social life as I know it. Only to receive the message that I can log back into the account at any time in the future and reactive it with the click of a button. Comforting, yet…a little creepy, too.
So, I made it through Day 1, and didn’t find myself dying to know who was eating what and where. I did find it slightly inconvenient to send messages to a couple people, as I had to track down actual email addresses instead of just using facebook messaging. But, I’m sure that hassle will diminish as I beef up my iPhone’s address book. So far, I’m happy with the decision. We’ll see how it goes tonight when I can’t complete my nightly ritual of checking in on facebook before bed. I may need an Ambien.
It’s official. I broke up with facebook. The reasons are many, and in the end don’t really matter much. But, I can’t entirely end my online life, so this site will serve as a limited venue for my rants and photos…a way to stay in touch with people and hopefully still encourage some discussion and interaction. I’ll initially update at least once a week and see how it goes from there. Maybe with enough encouragement I’ll make it a regular thing.
So, welcome to hunnerwoof. Feel free to post comments on the posts as they get going.