I committed a small amount of web suicide this week by deleting my facebook account, thus cutting me off from 196 of my closest friends.
You know what? It actually felt really good. Deleting my account, that is, not cutting myself off from my friends.
The decision wasn’t easy–after all, it is nice knowing that I could reach out to any of my friends on a whim, or check in with so-and-so. The convenience is undeniable. Convenience, though, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If life in the information age has taught us anything, it is that where information can be transmitted in a split-second around the world, we become less interested information as we are in simply being heard. And when we are simply wanting to be heard, we tend to not care what it is we exactly want to say, and those friends, that social network? All are marginalized in a fit of self-indulgence. No one is immune.
And let’s be fair; facebook didn’t do this to us. This is no jeremiad against encroaching technology or any of that tripe. We didn’t devolve because of a website or the 24-hour news cycle or a tweet. These things merely amplify characteristics–better and worse–to levels that I find now to be intolerable. I don’t need my cynicism-in-rehab challenged by ignorant, hollow comments or to be let down by finding out that some people aren’t who they would like to present themselves to be. Isn’t it odd that people will post anything on facebook and then act as though the person in code doesn’t exist? I suppose I’m a bit behind the human resources department this way. Part of this is touched on in a previous post, but authenticity and social networking-cum-unintentional full disclosure haven’t really raised the standards much at all. If anything, the bar has been lowered.
So, amidst the stress of seeing how dumb people can be, and seeing how prone I become to getting snappy and 1-to-4ish when confronted with people saying and doing things befitting of a /facepalm, I parted ways with facebook. I need not feed my latent OCD by having a stalker-feed tell me in real time when someone sharted in a Safeway in Hemet. Talk about counterproductive.
And, being on the other side of that decision, not unlike previous episodes of detoxing in my life–going largely without television for a year, detoxing from ‘church’, a go at the raw juice diet–I realize that the concept of the social network is noble, but the exercise of it has been anything but.
The other reason I left? Timeline. What an incomprehensible and convoluted mess. And seeing people rant against Google’s terms of service and privacy policies while reaping crops from Farmville and poking cousin Kinda Creepy is transcendent irony. That, and no one needs to see my naked baby pictures from 1982. (fb would take them down, anyway. and, /old.) The perfect build, in my opinion, was about two years ago, and apparently, they thought perfection could itself be perfected. Still, no one has cared to noticed that fb is seemingly resembling myspace more with every build, and everyone bailed on myspace when it got overrun with bots, viri and crapware.
So, if you want to get in touch with me, do the old fashioned thing: send me an e-mail. Text me. I’m one of about four dozen Americans left on BBM. Give me a call. Write a letter. (And clean your loinskin, you neanderthal! Ug!) Otherwise, if you want to be in my social network, actually take the time to be in my life. And for having 196 friends on facebook–low, right?–how many of them have I actually invested in or influenced? It makes the fact that fb was almost always running in the background on my browser and pushed notifications to my phone that much more absurd, which made the decision to delete that much easier.
Incidentally, the sailerb page is still there. Feel free to like it.
Again, I don’t fault anyone for being there. You just won’t find me there anymore. And, thus far, I’ve found it to be a good decision. If it allows me to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with the people in my life, all the better. And, for those of you I met through facebook and with whom I’ve become good friends, don’t take this the wrong way. It’s not you, it’s me. And you know how to reach me, anyway.
A few housekeeping items: first, I’m not entirely back from hiatus yet. I’m planning on returning to full-time writing here in about two weeks. In the meantime, I’m beginning work on my first real book, an anthology of essays from here, original material and other whatnot. More on that to come, after getting things wrapped up copy-wise.
Secondly, the store has been open for a little while, but you can get swag with the sailerb insignia on it here. You know you, too, want to be smashed up and backwards. I’ll post coupon codes here periodically.
Finally, I’ve missed writing here, and I’m always grateful for you taking the time to read. Like, subscribe, refer, if the spirit moves. Thank you for your patience! –b.