I’ve decided that Facebook is evil. I am right up there with all those people who made YouTube videos about it. It hasn’t destroyed my life, my relationships, or anything really important, but it has caused a problem for me I’m not willing to live with. It’s created anxiety and a difficulty in concentration I haven’t experienced since I was a teenager.
How? You might ask. Well lets start with the concentration problem, as I’ve got that worked out pretty well. I’m addicted. I don’t play games, post in groups, or any of that stuff, that goodness, but I do post things, and I wait for people to respond. I’m addicted to the instant gratification of having a like on my photo, or a response to good news, or hearing someone pray about bad news. I check, and check, and check, because it’s a way to know what people think… without asking them. Absolutely wonderful for business applications, horrible for personal relationships. I don’t even feel the need to have pictures printed, or send an email with them, because I just post them there. I hate that. I don’t want to lose face to face contact with people. I don’t want to be hanging on everyone’s last thoughts, I don’t want to get mad when someone posts something really stupid and thinks it’s hilarious, and I don’t want people obsessing over what that last sentence I wrote might mean, or how many pictures of me have an alcoholic beverage in them. It’s hard to remember that facebook is only what people have put there. It’s not a real reflection of who they are, what they do, or what they can do. I’m leaving it to remember that I am a real person, and that other people are real people, and that facebook is just that, a book cover for someone’s true story. Most of them look better than they are.
Secondly, anxiety comes from insecurity in how I’m perceived on there. I feel the need to be politically correct, to not say what I want, and to censor what I put. I’m scared to post a photo of myself or my kids because someone might make it into a humaliating meme somewhere. I’m not with close friends who know me and love me, and I don’t feel like I can be my real self with all these acquaintances reading every less-than-well thought out and poorly typed word I post. I’m not even a friend collector, I have less than 200 “friends” online, most of who are people I have met once or twice, but I don’t want them all to judge me before they really know me or my story. Now, it seems, everything we write there is subject to being looked at by some kind of authority or marketing company. I personally have developed my own conspiracy theory about Facebook and about what they do with all that free information. I don’t think it’s good, and I’m not wanting to be part of it anymore.
So for now, I’m done with facebook, except for my business page http://www.facebook.com/freshpicked and I’m not sure If I’m going back. I have my blog here, and my badly neglected photography website (http://jamiedrakephoto.smugmug.com). I’m off to live a real, personal, and adventurous life, free of the worry of what my cyber presence there might do to my life here. I will continue blogging, because this is a real medium for thought and expression. This is a way for me to connect to people who might have never seen my photos, or who might be passionate about the same things I am without being strung along by the mere thought that someone might be hitting the “like” button right now, or might want to be my “friend”. While I’m interested to know if you like my posts and I put that little like button there, I’m not obligated to keep checking.
I urge everyone to read this to take a break from facebook, think about what it has done to how you think, how much time you waste looking at what other people think, and how it’s affected your real life relationships. Also, consider what facebook knows about you, and who else now knows it too. It’s a scary cyber world, and facebook, well, it’s a pretty gnarly looking zombie to me.
If you would ever like to reach me, you may use the contact form on my “buy my photos” page and I will respond either by email or phone as needed.
- Millions really do quit Facebook – and never return (today.com)
- Why I Unfriended Everyone on Facebook (geekosystem.com)
- Fleeing Facebook: Study examines why people quit — and come back — to the ‘global aquarium’ (eurekalert.org)
- Many really do quit Facebook – and never return (today.com)