#Facebook Withdrawals: Day 24

As the first month of 2012 edges on, I get closer to a landmark in my daily internet life: nearly one month without any use of or affiliation with the enormous online community and network known as Facebook.

The world of the social network does not seem foreign to me quite yet. I still catch myself sometimes thinking within its terms. For example, I might find something interesting that I previously would have posted to my Facebook profile to share with all of my contacts. But even if those thoughts still exist, they are irrelevant. Not only am I disinterested in sharing such things, I am incapable of doing so. I’m logged off and locked out, for good.

At first the pain and difficulty was obvious. I was experiencing headaches and found myself constantly apprehensive. Generalized anxiety. My mouse searched around for the link to Facebook but could not find it. My settings were wiped and I received nothing. That is still the case, although my anxiety is close to gone. Another feeling has taken its place, though. With no way to participate in the digital community I feel left out, lonely and exiled. So I ask myself: what am I missing? The answer is that I’m not really missing anything. With such a distance from a community that became toxic to me, I don’t have to care about melodramatic issues between friends and all of the other memes flowing through that place. I imagine myself hiking into virgin forest of sorts. Perhaps that metaphor is too strong: I live on rural farms and in the woods, now, rather than the dense metropolis.

So what have I learned in 24 days? I’m not quite sure of that, either. And there is nothing that needs to be said on the subject other than the obvious. For now, I choose to live somewhere else. By doing so the adverts for Facebook stick out everywhere, where as previously they were seamlessly integrated with all forms of media. The television tells me to “‘Like’ us on Facebook” or “Check out our Facebook page” and I recognize this attempt to pull me in and, with pride, say no.

The power to choose is liberating.

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4 thoughts on “#Facebook Withdrawals: Day 24

  1. My friends actually tried locking themselves out of Facebook when we were getting close to taking our licensure exams, but I didn’t join the campaign. Then again, I always had the choice. I wonder what it would be like for me if, like you, I had no other option but to succumb to the absence of technology (or lack thereof)….

    • Thanks for the read. Locking yourself out isn’t as difficult as my ridiculous tutorial describes (I’ll abridge it in the future), but mentally it becomes taxing. The conveniences provided by Facebook become profound when you are forced to live without them. To abstain. I suppose I could nickname it a social=technological celibacy of sorts. I’ve been lured to make a new account but thus far I’ve resisted. At this point, what am I really missing out on?

      More simply, life without Facebook, or life abstaining from any now-commonplace technological advancement, is almost identical to life before it was developed. The only major difference is that there are other people raving about and stuck on this “great new thing” — everyone is talking about it, so don’t you want to be a part, too? You don’t want to get left out, do you? So “Like” us on Facebook for cool new features!

  2. I think Facebook is balancing all wobbly-like on the line between “pros and cons”. On the one hand, there have been periods of my life where I’ve spent way too much time on there, most of it playing really stupid, pointless games or mentally weeping over some people’s updates and pictures. On the other, there have been times like these, where I check it once, maybe twice a day, to see if someone important wrote to me, or check up on relatives that I otherwise wouldn’t be keeping in touch with.

    “If you wouldn’t be keeping in touch with them otherwise, then why is it so important?” you might say. Well, it’s just, some people you want to be able to say hi to every once in a while and know what they’re up to in their lives without actually being PART of their lives.

    It might sound strange and shallow but some people I just want to have brief, friendly exchanges with rather than a full-on friendship commitment. So in that sense Facebook has been very helpful for me. It will be interesting to see if it’s just a passing fad though, or if it’s here to stay. Great post, I like your thinking 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment! There are some down sides to leaving the network. I do miss seeing updates about my relatives. It’s hard to keep track of everyone in life so the occasional update upkeeps a sense of connectedness that might not really be there. But it is comfortable, at least.

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