If you know me in real life, you know my love for social media. I love knowing what people from grade school, high school, random acquaintances are up to, what field of work they’re in, where they’re living, etc. I’m a very nosy person. And now I’m finding, at the ripe old age of 23, that a lot of them are now getting engaged, married and having kids. Whaa? Realizing you’re at the age where that kind of stuff starts to happen is frightening.
Anyway. So I love Facebook for the cliche reason that I can keep up with people. But I also hate it. I hated that I had 1,200+ friends and I wasn’t real-life friends with many of them. We were Facebook friends because we went to the same school or might have had a drunken conversation at some point. I hated how accessible I was. That my cousin who ran into my mutual friend (Facebook friend, not real life friend) at the grocery store knew I moved away & was living in a new city. They found that out from my Facebook, they told my cousin. I realize it’s hypocritical since I like knowing what people are up to, but finding out people I barely know knowing things like that about me freaked me out.
I went back and looked at my profile, suddenly feeling over-exposed (although, truth be told, I share MUCH more on this blog site that none of my actual friends or family know about, ha!) I posted maybe a funny status or two a week. I wasn’t a compulsive oversharer. My profile had my birthday, city, education info. It was the wall posts from others and pictures that gave me pause. My profile’s always been so that only I could see my tagged pictures. It wasn’t a privacy settings issue as I was obsessive about making sure my profile was stafe. But I still felt like it was all too much.
Then I looked at my friends and decided I wanted to clean out my friends list. But it got tiresome fast, and was difficult as I had no idea of the standards for keeping vs. unfriending I wanted to uphold. We had a few classes together over the years, said “hi” when we passed each other in hallway, but what are odds I’ll ever see you again, save for a random alumni event every other year where we probably won’t speak? Do I keep you? Unfriend you?
So I stopped going through my friends list and just deactivated. That was last Friday.
It’s been a very, very strange week. Facebook was so embedded in my daily life. I would constantly be scrolling through my newsfeed, spending an embarrassing amount of time looking at peoples pictures, etc. I used it on my work computer, home computer, I-phone. A lot of my conversations with Dana (the roommate I went to college with) revolved around discussion of somebody’s Facebook post. There’s been a few times this week where I thought something like, “Oh! So-and-so is finding out the sex of her baby this week. I wonder what she’s having”, went to Facebook and realized ‘Oh wait…’ I’ve spent so much time on it over the years, it’s weird to not automatically just go to my newsfeed.But I find I don’t miss it, really.
My friends joked I was the queen of gleaning info from Facebook. When people would tell me they’d give up Facebook for Lent, I’d involuntarily shudder and say “Oh my gosh, I could never.” It’s not a Lent thing I’m doing. It’s just a random decision I made. It’s also been interesting and fun to see who notices I’m gone. I’ve gotten a few text messages like “YOU? Not on Facebook? Never thought the day would come!” Well, it has. I was surprised that the very first person to notice was my great-aunt, who sent a Facebook message to my parents asking “Not sure what I did, but it appears Caitlyn has de-friended me. Tell her I’m very sorry and if she tells me what I did, I will be sure not to do it again. I’m not sure on social media do’s and don’ts! I do love keeping up with her, can you ask her to send me another request?” Poor Aunt Mary! She’s the sweetest lady alive. I’ve also been surprised when I’ve opened my front door on a Saturday afternoon and found mutual college friends that Dana and I have standing on my doorstep with overnight bags. “I didn’t know you were coming!” I blurted out. Dana works late every night and goes straight to the gym so I haven’t seen her and gotten filled in on weekend plans. “Oh we were all posting on each other’s walls planning it,” Dana explained, then she remembered….”OH YEAH! You’re not on Facebook…”
I doubt I’ll be gone from it forever. I just needed a break and don’t know when I’ll re-activate. But it’s been a good break and I’m surprised I haven’t missed it as much as I thought I would. Twitter still keeps me informed, not as informed as Facebook does, but maybe I can only take my doses of info in 140 characters.
It’s going to sound goofy, but I feel free. I’m glad people can’t just look me up and find out all kinds of info whenever they feel like it.
I’m not enslaved to that phone and constantly making sure I’m “up to date” on people that truthfully, I don’t care about. Glad they’re doing well of course but I’m finding that while I am nosy, I don’t need to know everything. I’m totally capable of functioning without reading people’s TMI posts on Facebook.
It’s been marvelous to call people on their birthdays. Of course, even when I had a Facebook I could have called and wished them happy birthday, but I thought a wall post seemed sufficient. Now that I don’t have Facebook, if I remember their birthday I have to do something else. And it feels so nice to make that call.
Hosted by the wonderful Katie