My Thoughts On Facebook

I signed up for a Facebook account in May and I deleted it last Thursday. I had it for about 12 weeks although I didn’t log into it in July or August other than to delete it. The site is fantastic; it’s very easy to use and offers a lot of features to make the experience simple and straightforward.

What it is good for:

1) Social networking
for people who like being online. If you are one of these people you will really enjoy it because a lot of your present and past peers are on there.

2) Helping to remember your past. Initially my brain came alive because I saw the names and faces of so many people I used to go to school with. Given that I didn’t keep in contact with many of my high school friends, I haven’t had the chance to reminisce these memories into my long-term conscious awareness. At the beginning, it was fun to remember the parties, trips and random acts of my youth.

3) Reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances. Being able to exchange emails with people I used to know was fun. Seeing how their lives have evolved and what they have become was eye opening. It was shocking to see just how few of them DIDN’T end up doing what you thought they’d be doing – it seems that people don’t change, even as they continue into their mid 30’s they remain very much the same.

4) Creating a visual and interactive time line
of your past through life experience mapping. Probably the best thing about facebook was the ability to look at your social time line and see how you knew the people you did. It was particularly good to see when and where I worked, whom I lived with and how and when someone came into my life.

Why I deleted my account:

1) It is time consuming. They call it “facebook crack” because it is so easy to lose yourself in it. When you are engaging the site, it feels like you are doing something important because your brain is very active. While not real work it does have the feeling that it is improving the quality of your life. After a while I started to become aware that it was taking up more of my time than I had really intended to give it. After that, I stopped logging in.

2) It fosters a sense of obligation to people who I may never come in contact with otherwise. I’m used to getting email from people I know or work with, so I’m used to spending time replying to them because there is a pre-existing relationship that needs to be maintained or because my job depends on it. I had fewer interactions with my close friends on facebook than I did with people I hadn’t seen in years. While I have implicitly agreed to engage my friends and co-workers, I never agreed to engage strangers. When I began for feel a sense of obligation to interact with people I haven’t known for more than a decade, I made the call that it was time to eliminate this potential source of stress from my life.

3) I stopped enjoying it
. The shine wore off very quickly. As cool as it was to see how my old peers were doing, voyeuristic glancing at their life has a short shelf life. In fact, after I recreated my life time line, I got very little else out of the experience. I am not a facebook pro and I’m not particularly social. My best and most rewarding interactions are face-to-face conversations, usually one on one and about something that requires a lot more communication than a 5-line message. They tend also to rely heavily on non-verbal communication and immediate feedback. For these reasons, I wasn’t going to enjoy facebook for every long.