Today, in a fit of near rage, I deactivated Facebook. The post in particular that sparked it? A girl I interned with in 2005 got engaged. I haven’t talked to her since 2005, when we both parted ways with Washington, D.C. When I logged on, I told myself that I was one engagement/marriage/baby picture away from deactivating my account, and Brandii (yes, spelled with two i’s) was my catalyst. After a quick g-chat with my friend Kelly (a fellow deactivator), I took the final step and clicked the button. Poof. In five seconds, nearly 1,000 friends and over 1,000 photos were temporarily erased (because, after all, it’s the internet – and things live here forever).
I told Frankie about my decision, which inspired this post. She confirmed my belief that it wasn’t necessarily jealousy that caused me to log-off, but instead the constant self promotion that Facebook encourages. Trust me, I’m happy for my friends who get engaged, get married, or have a baby. But I don’t want to feel like I know the baby before I even hold it. I don’t want to feel like I was at a wedding in which I wasn’t invited. And I especially don’t want to see 1,000 pictures of a couple kissing. I’m sorry, but I don’t.
I feel a little hypocritical in a way because I used to post on Facebook quite a bit. I would log my runs, share pictures of my cat, and count down the days until a vacation. I liked using it as a mechanism for feedback: where should I make for dinner tonight? Should I take my cat to the vet because of this funky eye thing? Also, as a mechanism for bragging: Look at how many concerts I’m going to this summer; I’m so cool, don’t you think? I remember the feedback I used to receive from posting my crafting creations or books I’d made, and that made me feel good, valued, and a little more special.
However, over the past few weeks, I’ve felt much less inclined to share anything about my personal life. Things happen in which you don’t feel like sharing. It sort of takes away from the specialness in that moment. And, when there are more uncertain times (like I’m dealing with now), I start comparing my life to others and stop liking the way it looks – even though I shouldn’t make the comparison in the first place. My life is my life, and it is a good one. On top of that, the amount of people on my friends list I didn’t talk to became completely overwhelming. And so, I had to pull the plug.
I already feel better. A time suck: gone. The constant knowledge of others: gone. I feel a sort of freedom in this act, though I’m sure, to some degree, I will miss the ease in which I could stay in touch with people.
But is staying in touch through Facebook a real, honest form of connection? I’m not sure. Does me posting on a blog about it make me less authentic in some way, since I’m still using the internet? Gosh, I don’t know.
Leave it to me to put meaning behind just about everything.