Monday, February 13, 2012
A year ago, I reached a point in my life where I felt like deactivating my Facebook. I'd found myself checking Facebook every few hours, just to see who was posting what. And at the same time, I was seeing little spats flare up all over. The reasons were petty (to my way of thinking). Someone made a comment to a friend, a third person thought it was a dumb comment (even though it wasn't directed to him) and made the mistake of saying so. You can guess the rest.
But friends persuaded me to rethink. So I did.
They said it was a great way to inform teachers of activities.
So I created groups and added teachers. Later I made some of them admins. They didn't need me around.
They said it was a great way to share photos.
Unfortunately I don't really like sharing my photos, unless the photos were of school events.
They said FB helped keep friends in contact.
I gave it a go... and found myself using email and SMS more often than FB, using various apps such as Fring, Meebo and Whatsapp. And I was only in touch with less than 10% of those in my FB list. Besides I haven't changed my phone number or email address for years. If people want to contact me, it's easily done. And FB friends are of many sorts; the ones you chat with everyday, the ones you see once a year and the ones who you don't really know at all but added after meeting once at a social gathering.
I also didn't like the way information got passed on way too easily and way too fast in Facebook. Regardless of whether or not the story was true. Strangely corrections aren't passed on so fast. And can you imagine having a meltdown on FB and then being consoled, sympathised-with and egged-on by FB people. Even after you'd cooled down, people would tend to remember the meltdown more than anything. So if you have 1849 'friends', that's 1849 memories.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can set limits etcetera etcetera... but I wasn't willing to do that every post every photo and every sneeze.
So, two days ago, I pulled the plug on my account.
Guess what? It felt good.
For me, a relationship is best handled, one to one. Not one-to-one, with both friends' FB friends looking on. Yes, I know there is private messaging... but that's the same as an email or an sms, isn't it?
Well, let's see how I feel in yet another year. Perhaps I may change my mind and reactivate my account. Perhaps.
In the ensuing months, I reactivated and deactivated my Facebook account two times over. More often than not, I ended up wasting more hours than I could spare. Well, perhaps that is me. Perhaps other people have found better ways of handling their relationship with their Facebook account. But I think mine is staying down for the count.