Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Facebook Fast

I am on the 22nd day of my self imposed Facebook fast. That means I have not been logging onto Facebook, at all. That’s right. My Lexulous games have fallen by the wayside. My status update is blank. Chatting has been unavailable. And I haven’t poked anyone in a very long time.

The reason for this change is that as lovely and wonderful as Facebook can be in the beginning, it can be a bit overwhelming. There was a time I was obsessed with it; I couldn’t start my day without logging in, checking folks’ status updates or updating my own. And the games, oh the games! Those were the best part. It was quite beautiful.

But as time went by, I realize that this website is nothing more than a 24-7 high school/family reunion. In the beginning, it seems like a good idea to invite everyone you’ve ever met to your space for a little get together. Yet it doesn’t take long to realize that might not have been a good idea. Do I really need to hear about High School Friend getting her tubes tied? Do I need to be tagged in photos of me playing in the sandbox with Mr. (Suspected) Serial Killer? Does dear Aunt Irene really want to know what Sex and the City character I am?

Yes, it can be that bad. I have just over 200 Facebook friends and quite a few of them are friends in Facebook only. Whenever someone sent me a friend request, I would accept if this was someone I knew. It got a bit dicey when people from high school, folks I didn’t particularly care for, sent me requests. I tried to move past being an immature teenager and holding on to grudges, so I’d accept the request and consider a new day. But the teenybopper inside me would rear her ugly head every so often, forcing me to examine their pages to make sure they were suffering for whatever wrong they may have inflicted on me back in the day.

On my friend list, there are a few types I’ve noticed:

The Oversharers: Status messages about their bathroom habits, arguments with significant others, etc. My particular favorite is an old supervisor who took a quiz that announced that she’d like to have sex at least three times a day and bragged about it in her status update. My brain will never recover from that image.

The Political Causer: I’m glad you feel some kind of way about Michael Vick, President Obama, Michael Jackson, health care reform, animal rights, abortion, etc etc etc, but please don’t try to pull me into your debates. In fact, your constant mentioning of your cause, or sending me invitations to your groups, is leading me closer and closer to eliminating you from my friends list. (See also News Analyst)

The News Analyst: I read a newspaper daily, but what’s missing from this consumption is your opinion on whatever article I read. Thanks for providing this missing link in my life! Double thanks for doing it 57485748573 times a day!

The Non Speller: I mentioned before that I can be quite anal about spelling and grammar. That being said, I’d be pretty embarrassed if I told everyone on my friend’s list that I was “trying to help my son deal with his great grandmother’s deaf.” Same thing if I realized “their aren't enough hours in the day.”

The Throwback: “Hi, Strength! Remember me? We were best friends in third grade! What have you been up to since then? Are you still collecting Garbage Pail Kids? I am!”

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. These are just a few of the problems I’ve run into with the infamous Facebook. My diet will end on August 27, at which time I’ll see what kind of tomfoolery I may have missed while I was gone. Probably nothing. And if I did miss anything, it is probably for the best.

I’m not saying my entire Facebook experience has been bad, it just can be a bit much. And what can you expect when you have a list that’s a mix of family, friends and past/current coworkers? Drama. From the outside looking in, I’ve seen relationships both start and end on this teeny little site. (At the risk of being even more longwinded, here's a funny video of the site's impact on relationships)

In the end, Facebook has left me with one important lesson: Sometimes, it’s okay to lose touch with folks.


Cami said...

i loooove this post. and here i was thinking i was crazy for turning the side eye at homies from 11th grade who never had any intention ever of talking to ever again. friend request denied. ha.

tbyrd77 said...

Exactly why I abandoned my Facebook account after 48 hours. It will go the way of BlackPlanet and MySpace soon anyway.