Saturday, November 29, 2008

Breaking up with Facebook

I spend over an hour on Facebook every week. The way I figure, I easily spend 10 minutes throughout the day on Facebook. That doesn’t seem like much and it isn’t when compared to a lot of people, but it is a lot for me. It is enough to get me thinking about the worth of Facebook. It brings to mind questions, like, does pronouncing friendships on Facebook strengthen them? Do I stay in better touch with you? Should I spend anytime looking at pictures of you going out to drink or going home to celebrate your grandpa’s life? Does reading your profile from your favorite movies and books to your favorite quotes forge new bonds between us?

My answer to all these questions is a defiant no.

I can’t remember the last time a friend messaged me after I confirmed their friend request on Facebook. I don’t talk to 95% of my friends on Facebook. Facebook keeps them close. Sure, I know where they are. Most of the time I know where they are working or going to school. I can even vicariously live all your vacations and weekends away by looking at your picture galleries and watching your videos, but even if you were in my wedding, I don’t feel closer to you by looking at those pictures. I want to sit next to you. I want you to show me those pictures. I want your narration, not the soundtrack of my thoughts with your pictures.

Facebook doesn’t narrow the abyss of separation created by distance, time and conflicting schedules. Over any given year I will spend months away from my closest friends. When I finally reunite with those friends I feel like we were never apart. Facebook, you would think, might enable that feeling, but it doesn’t. What enables that feeling is a history with that friend and a connection once established in person and maintained through many mediums, but I don’t think Facebook is one of those mediums. At times, I think Facebook reminds me of just how far away my friends are, or just how much we are growing apart.

The social networking site is trying their best to fill that void. I can click through photo libraries, I can check an updated status, I can see where you’ve been in the world and I can read through your favorite quotes. That felt like it worked for a little bit, but it never did.

I’ve spent some time defending Facebook, but all of a sudden I cannot justify it gobbling up any of my time. There is only one option, let me call it an experiment for now. I am leaving Facebook. I don’t know how long I will be gone. I am getting rid of all my friends and closing my account with Facebook. At this point, I suspect I’ll be back, but I need a sabbatical to figure out why, and if, Facebook is important and a necessary tool in holding together the friendships that I desperately care about holding together. Like I said, I suspect it isn’t necessary at all, and that’s why I am doing this. So, F off F-book.

1 comment:

Jarrod Renaud said...

f off f-book. i laughed out loud cause i wished i could hear you say that line and swing your arm like you just threw a baseball.