What Closing My FaceBook Account Taught Me

I joined Facebook in 2007 when a friend of mine moved to Asia and was using the site to upload photos of their new baby. They were my only friend on the site until 2008 when suddenly a whole bunch of people discovered the site and started to send me friend requests. At the time, the requests were from people I actually knew and that was my criteria for Facebook friends. Before I would accept a friend invitation, I had to actually know you, and I don't mean in a “Hello” and shake my hand sort of way. I had to have met you at least a few times, spoken with you and had a real conversation more than once and I had to actually like you. That went for family too.

Over the years I had a lot of requests from people I went to school with years ago in primary school, high school, college, people I knew socially, family and people I used to work with. Notice I said “used to”. Another rule was to NEVER be Facebook friends with anyone I was currently working with. Another rule I had was that to continue to be friends on FaceBook, we had to actually still be meeting now and again, or be in communication on Facebook or otherwise at least once in a six month period. So, if you were a friend or family member that lived far away, and there was no communication from you directly for six months after my last communication to you, and you were still actively posting on FaceBook, then I would drop you. Hence, my friend list on Facebook never exceeded 52 people at any one time.

When I joined the site, it was mostly for photo sharing. Then people started to do their status updates, which was fine. The status update thing really took off after FaceBook removed the mandatory “is” before the update. In the last couple of years, I noticed that the site had become a place to post people's political and religious agendas. It had also become a “Reality Show” for others in that they would post every single thing they were doing. And then there are the selfies. The most annoying vanity find in the history of photography. Why the hell do I want to see a picture that you took of yourself in a car? And I really don't want to know that you threw up after a night of heavy drinking. I was really fed up with the self promotion and the political and religious ideas being pushed down my throat. People were not actually communicating anymore, but instead it was a ” here's what I can do” sort of thing.

So I decided to give up my personal account. I posted a status update that I was leaving Facebook and that anyone that wanted to stay in contact should make a note of my contact info. I noted that I was closing it in a month. Out of the 52 people that I had as friends, four wrote me to confirm my contact info. The other 48? Nothing. Most of those already had my contact information so I did not think anything of it.

It has now been three months since I closed my account and of all those people, literally, I heard from only one person. One. And that’s a friend that I see often. Most of my other friends are not on Facebook. But there was one couple that we are pretty friendly with and nothing. No texts or anything. There are family members that live far away, and nothing from any of them either. Yes I did reach out to some of them, and they replied, but I can see that unless I keep up the communication, nothing is going to happen. Some wrote to asked if I had another social media account other than FaceBook? Never hear of email or text people?

So what did I learn? The world has now become a world where no one writes letters, or calls or sends cards anymore. If it is going to take them more than 140 characters, then they will not say anything. If you are not on Facebook, you have left the tribe and therefore you are subconsciously ostracized.

Someone told me that maybe if I want to keep in touch with these people, then rejoin Facebook. My reply? If these people were really friends, they would be willing to communicate in ways other than FaceBook. I learned something about friendships a long time ago. If you are friends with someone at work, and your only commonality is work, when either of you leave work, you may stay in touch for a while, but you no longer have that one thing in common, so you drift apart. A true friend is one that you do different things with in different settings. Not just one thing. So if all I have in common with you is Facebook and we are not social outside of that, the relationship will not last once one leaves the common situation.

Most of the people I have not seen in years anyway, but it just goes to show that if you aren't tuned into FaceBook users reality channel, and liking or commenting on their fabulous life, then there is no need for you. Celebrity life must be exhausting, especially when it's in your head.






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