On Quitting Facebook.
Recently, I have decided to quit Facebook. In fact, I have been pondering it for a very long while, but now is the time.
I am not telling anybody else what to do. Facebook (or any other social network) can be fun, and useful, and awesome. If that is the case for you, by all means use it!
Personally, I feel that I don’t want to be part of it so much anymore because I have felt an ever increasing loathing against it. Ironically, even though (because?) I have been using it quite a lot.
I will be quitting Facebook sometime around the end of the month. The reasons for giving this “notice” is simply so that those of you who don’t have contact details of me and want to keep in touch have ample time to do so.
Social Media can be fun and useful. It was great to keep in touch with people at home when I was living abroad, and to keep in touch with my friends abroad when I was back home. And I am not saying that any of *my* experiences are relevant to anybody else but me. (Meaning I am not telling you that FB is the devil and that you should leave it as well.)
Personally, I find Social Media interaction increasingly shallow. I have 137 “friends” on Facebook, which seems to be even a relatively small number compared to other people I’ve seen. But even with this relatively small number I must say that I don’t know a good deal of them. No offense guys, but I have accepted friend requests of people I’ve met casually at a party out of politeness. It’s not that I don’t like them. But I don’t know them well enough to like them neither. Has FB managed to get to know us better? No.
Has my social life been improved in recent years by using “Social Media”? Nope. In fact, my social contacts have decreased. There are many reasons: stress at work, living in a different place, earthquakes, meteor showers, yaddiyaddiyadda… I am not saying that FB is the “reason” for this. But it doesn’t help. It makes me lazy. Why call you for your birthday when I can “write on your wall”? Why take the time to make a video call when I can see your kids on the pictures you post? And why make the effort to come and visit you when I can like that you liked the fact that I liked the post of someone-fucking-else?
In contrast to not giving me much, there is the downside of what it takes. I think I wouldn’t mind someone using my pictures (i.e. the ones that I shoot) because I’d be flattered. But I’d like to be asked whether I am okay with the service or product that FB would like to use them to advertise for. How can I be upset about governments snooping into my affairs when I am willingly giving away so much? And finally, I have to admit, it is just a huge time eater. How many times a day do you check Facebook? Maybe once or only every couple of days? Well, I do it too often. It has become a mindless automatism. It’s a bit like smoking: It was kinda fun in the beginning but then it just became hollow habit. In the end I was glad that I kicked it.
I have a blog, that frankly is only relevant if you are a film photography and/or roleplaying/fantasy/SF nerd, but it’s there. I am on Flickr and Twitter, on Xing and LinkedIn. I have three personal and one professional e-mail addresses. I don’t use Skype as much anymore but it’s still there. I am using WhatsApp. I have a landline and a mobile phone number. I have *two* physical addresses for Fuck’s sake!
If you want to keep in touch that means there are plenty of opportunities to do so. I might contact a few of you guys in the next weeks to get some contact details of you, in case I don’t have them or they are stuck in my old phone. I will not be in touch with every one of you every single day. One-on-One communication takes more time and energy than just broadcasting some witty comment, funny link or status update. I won’t always have that time or energy. But by all means, if you miss me and feel that I have been neglecting you too much, please feel free to poke me (see what I did there?)!
But I’d rather have more meaningful Social without the need for so much Media.