I think I’m about done with facebook. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “What are you THINKING?!?!” and others of you are more, “It’s taken you THIS long??” but it’s where I’m at.
I suppose I should clarify: when I say “done with facebook,” I don’t mean deleting my profile and exiling myself from (perhaps) the largest “social networking” site on the Internet, but rather just removing myself mentally from any feeling that it’s worth any more than the tiniest sliver of my time every month or two. Moving somewhere that only has a dial-up Internet connection will likely make the “transition” a bit easier, but I think the time is right regardless of the situation of my life.
What started small during the 2003/2004 school year as a simple connection device for people has snowballed into an overwhelming cacophony of applications, causes, groups, fans, boxes, videos, tweets (I’m almost ashamed I know what those are), and probably many things I have no idea exist. Once restricted to those with college e-mails, you can now get a profile with any (and every) e-mail you own. What was for me a way to connect and stay connected — in the most basic of ways — with people I considered acquaintances and friends has turned into the online equivalent of show and tell where there’s no restriction of how long you present for or what you present about, and in fact we’ll assist you in presenting totally innane things that really have no value to anyone’s life whatsoever. It’s gotten to the point where I think I’ll just keep the connections and recognize the positives for me in the whole endeavor — namely I can reconnect/update connections with people pretty quickly and easily — and dispense of all the excessive BS. Facebook has become a place where you can write your memoir with no editor and include any multimedia you might want.
So things lately that have pushed me to this edge:
Friend requests for people I really have no reason to want to connect with — They might be distant relations or people I knew way back when but never really spent a lot of time with or connected with in the first place and have no desire to accept as a “facebook friend.” Or former students I kind of know but it’s just a little akward to receive a request and hit yes… I’ve denied a few, but then I’ve just gotten new requests from the same person, so now I just tend to leave them sit and ignore.
Facebook “e-mail” — OK, so I can understand if you don’t know my real e-mail and have to contact me through facebook, or if you’re sending something to a group, but if you know my e-mail, why do you have to send me a facebook-mail? Most of the time I don’t see them when they arrive, and I usually forget to respond when I do, so if only for your sake, just send me a real e-mail. Isn’t that one of the things e-mail is for?
Non-humans getting in on the action — So as if it wasn’t bad enough that a corporation has the same legal rights as a human, now they’re on facebook! This isn’t a new thing, to be sure, but last night I heard on the local news, “Don’t forget to check us out on facebook and twitter.” WTF?!? Don’t you have something called a “website” where I could find you? Why are you infiltrating the realm of humans? Seriously, get out!
Everything that doesn’t matter — Really, “everything that doesn’t matter” could be most of the facebook experience. Brian Unger recently did a satire with the premise that nobody really cares about all the mundane things we’re up to, so those status messages that tell people we’re in the shower (the third or so generation since “Away Messages”) need to end. And for what it’s worth, all I need for “social networking” to really happen is a name, an e-mail, telephone, maybe a website, a person’s actual address, possibly their current career, and maybe, MAYBE, a little bit about a person’s likes and dislikes in areas like books, movies, TV, food, or a few other general categories. And I guess I could accept some picutre. Some. And in case you’ve forgotten: THAT’S HOW FACEBOOK STARTED!
I’m coming up on my 5-year anniversary of “belonging” to facebook, and I really wish I could go back. Though I, personally, almost can by what I decided to have in my profile and connect in the facebook universe. I’d just have to remove the few applications I have decided to endorse by linking to them. But with the constant inundation of all that is out there on facebook, I still feel trapped when I come across another’s profile and see the plethora of things out there that just make it, to me, a busy mess.
So whatever your opinion on the facebook world that currently is, I think my semi-close connection with it is coming to an end. Instead, I think I”ll retreat to a lesser connection — facebook, you’ve been demoted to the status of “facebook friend.” Good bye!