More than a year ago, I permanently deleted Facebook. As in delete, not deactivate.
I was a member when the logo was “the facebook” and only college kids had access. Back in 2004, news feeds and apps didn’t exist, relationship statuses were either single, in a relationship, or it’s complicated, photos were displayed in albums, and the most information you could find on a person was in their profile section. Ahhh, the beautiful simplicity.
But as Facebook updated and enhanced, the social networking site grew into a narcissistic, social tumor. I felt pressure to be widely successful, post pictures of my food, over share my emotions, and define my personality by the groups I joined. There was constant one-up-manship of friends broadcasting their commitments to social movements. People connected by asking to “friend” me. Oddly enough, we never moved past Facebook friending.
My friends and I agonized if our boyfriends changed their status to “in a relationship” quick enough or if took their sweet ass time.
“Um, why does his relationship status still say “single?” It’s been over a month!”
“Yeah. He’s such a dick!”
After permanently deleting, I felt this incredibly freeing experience of space and independence. 2,000 people did not need to know what I was doing this weekend. If they wanted to know, they’d text or call. I found my “true” friends, about 1% of my friend’s list, kept in closer contact than when I was online. I didn’t have to agonize about the pictures my friends tagged me in when I was having a “fat day.” Or the time I never received an invite to an ugly Christmas sweater party.
Another phenomenon occurred. For the first time, I kept my emotions to myself. I didn’t need to broadcast my break-ups, friend fails, or gossip, Gone were the esoteric song lyrics of heartbreak, recovery and renewal. I also lost the need to Facebook stalk my ex’s or check-in with high school chums. There was a reason we didn’t talk anymore- we grew apart as a result of moving in different directions.
I frequently blog about achieving the “good enough” spirit. Facebook was this nefarious clown, chiding me for not achieving the same amount of success as my colleagues. And the onslaught of baby pictures, perfect family units blasting every waking moment of their day, was enough to make me hurl.
But I am good enough. I don’t need a daily reminder of the seemingly perfect lives portrayed in pictures and news feeds. It’s all a ruse. Hidden behind the perfectionism and self-aggrandizing moments, those people struggle with their own personal demons and these are better left private and intimate.
Lastly, with such information overload, what ever happened to personalization? The kind where we authentically reach out and spend time with one another.
I have this personal policy where I cut-down the amount of photos I take during events or special moments. I want to be present. I don’t obsess over the amount of likes I should get over a photo.
I made the transition to WordPress because for the most part, I am forced to be thoughtful. I take careful stock of what I post and why I am posting. It also takes talent. Bloggers recognize innate writing talent. There’s an intimate story to tell without showing off.
Bloggers are also master storytellers. From what I’ve experienced, when someone follows another person’s blog, it’s a commitment. Reading a story is a commitment of a person’s precious time and energy. We stop, read, listen and support (mostly). It’s hardly ever a contest to see who has the most followers. Some of the best writers have an intimate group, carefully cultivated in a thoughtful progression.
So, thanks but no thanks Facebook. I’m now “in a relationship” with WordPress.