Life Without Facebook: Week 1

hey babe, want to come over to myspace and twitter my yahoo 'til I google all over your facebook?
Credit: flickr / constantine✖belias™

Last week, I deactivated my Facebook account. Why? There were a number of reasons, and I’d just found myself using it less and less. Since they rolled out the redesign the news feed seemed out of date (it might take days for something to show up), but the live feed was full of repetitive drivel so it wasn’t helpful for keeping up with what my friends were doing.

Perhaps the beginning of the end for me was the constant Farmville updates – which I (stupidly) didn’t disable until I’d got to the point when it felt like I actively disliked half the people I was “friends” with. And I know, you can block Farmville (I eventually did) but there are so many other applications that it didn’t seem to make a difference.

I like ambient awareness, I do, but I was concerned that I’d got to the point that whilst I could get a bunch of people to come to a party, I didn’t have many people with whom I’ll exchange phone calls just because. Is that where we’re going? Where we’ll have a close-but-not-that-close relationship with so many more people, but fewer close relationships? Perhaps it’s just my experience as someone who moved to another continent about 18 months ago knowing no-one. I don’t know.

However an @ message on Twitter has started to feel more intimate than the vast majority of the communication I was receiving on Facebook. The sheer volume of “I’m having a terrible day” / “why does no-one love me?” / “I’m so incredibly busy and important” updates was drowning out the great stuff that does get shared. I prefer Twitter, the lack of requirement to reciprocate, the character limits. Yes some people are still full of angst and over-sharing, but you can just quietly unfollow them. As well as quitting Facebook, I also did some cleaning of my stream on Twitter – some people I find are better in lists, because I want my main stream to be manageable.  And that’s OK, everyone does it differently. They can unfollow me too, and that’s up to them.

So far, I have moments where I would normally check Facebook and I pause, but it’s been pretty easy to give it up. Perhaps in a while I’ll reactivate it and just be one of those people who is on Facebook, but never uses it. Or I’ll just leave it, because you can’t commit Facebook suicide anymore.

6 thoughts on “Life Without Facebook: Week 1

  1. I actually had a researcher, Dr. Will Miller, speak to my grad class this week about the idea of close relationships like you mentioned here. He calls them people with “Refrigerator Rights,” or someone who could go to your fridge and help themselves without it being weird. His argument is that younger generations who move more frequently and spend more time online have a harder time maintaining relationships that are close on that level.

    Most of my Facebook relationships are very superficial, but I'm not sure I could give it up entirely. I admire you for it though!

  2. Yes, I can see that – would love to read the research about this! I will look him up, thanks!

    I don't know if I will give it up forever. I read a paper saying that whilst Facebook friendship didn't mean friendship, friendship meant Facebook friendship. But going without it for a while is proving helpful! We'll see 🙂

  3. Facebook is getting less and less useful these days, and a huge time sink. Kudas to you giving up Facebook, as I can't really give it up entirely, although I don't use it too often.

  4. I've put anyone I'm overtly interested in into one group, which I bookmarked. So I just have to deal with about two pages per day, which is manageable.

    I've blocked so many applications that I don't have to worry much, anymore. The worse ones are those who post their tweets to their wall without using an app, so I can't ban those.

    We really need to find how to manage our social circles. This will become more and more important as we make more friends online.

  5. Yeah I know a lot of people who are managing Facebook this way. I thought about doing that, but wonder what the point of having 250 “friends” if you've blocked all but the 20 you actually see on a regular basis.

    But you're right, we need more ways of managing it. The number of places to log in to is a problem too.

  6. Yeah I know a lot of people who are managing Facebook this way. I thought about doing that, but wonder what the point of having 250 “friends” if you've blocked all but the 20 you actually see on a regular basis.

    But you're right, we need more ways of managing it. The number of places to log in to is a problem too.

Leave a Reply