Dear Facebook Friends;
The day has come when I must leave you all.
I’ve been using Facebook since the first time I was in university. I remember signing up thinking “wow, this is going to help me get some real Friends” and I continued thinking that over the past years. Sadly, Facebook has never been able to create the life me for that I hoped it would.
I’ve come to the realization that Facebook offers no value to myself and my life. Over the years I’ve tried to use Facebook in a variety of ways, to see what it could offer to me that other social avenues could not. But time and time again Facebook (or perhaps the combination of Facebook and myself) has failed me and led me down rat-hole after rat-hole of social networking in the quest of trying to find its place in my life. I’ve finally come to the point where the time, energy and effort just aren’t worth it for what I’m getting back out of it in return.
Perhaps I’m simply missing the point. Perhaps I value different things than the general masses. But the day to day connections I make with people and the time I spend with them is far more valuable to me than any time I spend in a virtual network, where I’m constantly being sold to and people are trying to become my “friends” with little to no effort or investment.
But please, my Friends, 1 don’t take what I said the wrong way. Facebook offers me no value, but my Friends (my true Friends but not my “friends”2 ) offer a great amount of value that can never be supplemented by Facebook and certainly will never be replaced by Facebook. It is the conversations I have in person, the handshakes I am a part of, the pictures I print out to share and the funny anecdotes that I collect and disseminate that I value most. While Facebook can try and help to “facilitate” some of these processes I know that in the end it is really doing more harm than good to the process of friendship and the relationships which are most important.
Yes, in the past I’ve said that I was going to leave Facebook but never did, but this is different: it has been a long and somewhat hard process of self-understanding and realization of what contributes to my quality of life. After long and thoughtful discussions with myself (yes, I talk to myself) I came to the conclusion that Facebook simply isn’t improving my quality of life and at the very least it is degrading it in some way.
So it is with very little regret that I choose to leave Facebook. I’m optimistic about the future, what it will bring and how it will evolve and I have little to no concern about there being a lack of Facebook in my life or people to call “friends”.
And as for those who I converse with over Facebook chat, wall messages and the billion other ways that Facebook has provided us opportunities to talk I have the following to offer:
To my sister who finds it most convenient to Facebook message me, my phone is always on; to my friend Amy who I never got to know well enough when we were in walking distance, I will continue to send snail mail; to Niki who I have a hard time connecting with, our puppies will play together one day (in real life not on Facebook); and to true Friends & Family, I have a phone that is waiting to ring, a front door that is always unlocked, an extra beer I’m happy to share, and a blanket to sit on in the park thats big enough for more than one person.
Oh, and how could I forget about my “friends”. To my “friends” I wish you all the best and I am assured that when I leave you will not notice and I’ll be replaced with 5 other “friends” within a matter of seconds.
ps. I’ll be leaving my account active until the end of the year (2011) to allow time for people (aka. Friends) to ask for phone numbers and snail mail addresses.
- Friends are the people who I talk to on a regular basis, the people I would bend over backwards to help out and those who know me best. This includes family and those people that I may not see very often but I have a meaningful connection with. ↩
- “friends” are the people who befriend me on Facebook to increase a number, they are the people who beat me up in high school only to now want to call me a friend. They are the people I’ve drank with that I can never remember their names, and they are the people that think meeting once for 5 minutes and shaking hands never to talk again is what friendship is all about. These people are my “friends” and not my Friends. ↩