Sunday, February 6, 2011

You Did What!

I deleted my Facebook account.

Yeah, how's that for radical my friends?

One week ago today I unplugged my life from the greatest leap in human communication since....well at least the invention of e-mail. I'm quite sure facebook doesn't qualify as "better than sliced bread," because sliced bread is pretty freakin awesome.

Why you may ask? Read on.

I've used this blog to vent my frustration over a lack of direction in my life. Even if I'm unsure of the college I'll attend or the vocation I'll pursue, there are still skills and habits I can embrace NOW, to ensure I'm a more prepared person THEN. Facebook, for all of its advantages was simply getting in the way of that goal.

I wish I had the will power to simply log in two or three times a week and communicate when it's important. But, if there is one thing I've discovered about myself in 17 years, it's that I'm deficient when it comes to willpower.

Facebook became an escape from school work, a distraction which chipped away at my productivity five minutes at a time. After two hours I would look up and realize I was no closer to completing the task than when I sat down.

Facebook was always the first thing I went to upon arriving in from work, classes or the gym. Though I browse other sites, the majority of my traffic went straight to Zuckerburg's brain child.

Facebook became (inadvertently) a way to feed my narcissistic tendencies. I measured my popularity (at least to an extent) by the number of notifications I had upon signing in. Of course this doesn't eliminate the problem of self-absorption, nor was it really Facebook's fault.

Facebook caused me to feel as if I was missing something interesting. In reality all I was missing was the fact that three of my friends had completed a survey which cleared up for them once and for all what Star Wars character they were most like. Was this and earth-shattering revelation? Not really.However it seemed like a justifiable reason to stop writing the paper I was supposed to be working on and check every fifteen minutes.

Facebook was turning me into someone who had to absorb information in status size blurbs. I was (and am) having trouble maintaining long periods of concentration on anything. Again, this is problem I don’t wish to foist upon Facebook. Such ADD absorption of information is a defining characteristic of 21st century communication. Personally though, Facebook made this worse. I want to be a deep thinker, you just can't tweet/post/update some things. Too often the medium is insufficient to carry the message adequately.

I don't think these things are evil, any more than I think guns are evil. Both are tools, it's up to us to decide how to use them. I abused Facebook. I voluntarily gave it up.

While I can recount several memorable moments on Facebook, none of them compare to actually connecting with people face to face. I want to use time I'm given wisely. Often, I'm a very poor steward. But I think by saving a few minutes here and there, I'll more easily be able to focus on people I'm around. By shutting off the computer, I'll be able go and do instead of passively watching other people's lives float by in status updates.

I don't have the emotional capacity to sustain relationships with all of my Facebook friends. This is why the site only shows you updates from the people you talk to most, it knows you don't have that kind of time or energy.

Actually, I don't have the time or energy for the vast majority of people. It's only by the grace of God I'm a civil human being. In much the same why I want to be a deep thinker, I also want to be a deep friend and a true companion. Such things are not obtained by attempting to absorb the day to day lives of some 200 individuals.

Eliminating Facebook helps me focus on writing. More and more I think that writing is a part of who I am.

So, the long and short of it is, I don't hate Facebook, but I need a chance to step back. I don't think it's wrong; in fact Facebook is a wonderful thing when used correctly.

I can't seem to use Facebook correctly; therefore I shan't use it at all.

What about you? What are your feelings on the matter? I'm interested to know what you think. Also if you should ever happen to see an error/flaw in my writing grammatical or otherwise don't hesitate to point it out.

Thanks for reading!



  1. Im not sure I could do that.... Hard..... Wow

  2. A while ago, I attempted to delete my facebook account, but I don't think there was a way to completely do that at the time. This post is making me strongly consider doing it again, both with facebook and other internet-related things - and if not deleting them, then severely limiting my access to them. Because you're right; it does cut into productivity way too hard when one is not as self-disciplined as they ought to be.


  3. First of all, you are a good writer. I enjoy reading your blog.

    12th paragraph. Last sentence: "By shutting of the computer...." I believe you mean to say "By shutting off the computer."

    This inspires me, a little bit. I don't think I'll go all the way and delete my facebook, but I will definitely try to manage my time better. I find myself checking facebook way too often during the day, when I have plenty of other things that I should be doing instead.


  4. I believe that, even though I check facebook frequently, the usage I give to it is nowhere near "abusive" as you so discribed. I'm 100% sure that's not the case with most though.
    For example, it was through facebook where all my surprise birthday parties were organized in the last three years. Through facebook my friends were able to raise $10,000 in one week to keep me in the United States.
    Also, through facebook is how I communicated with all of my friends when I was thousands of miles away, when I tried to come back to the US and all those things you've been a part of in the last few months.
    In conclusion, without facebook, many of the things that have made my life what it is now wouldn't have existed. That's not to say it couldn't have happened another way, but so it happens that it was through facebook.
    Or maybe is because I'm so over the teenage/high school drams years and facebook interaction is way more productive than in those days... I remember those days very well.
    Anyhow, although I plan to give up facebook again during the Period of Lent, there's no way I'm quitting it for good.