My year Facebook free

8 Oct

I’m a few weeks away from the one-year anniversary of the deletion of my Facebook account. No, I didn’t just deactivate it, putting it in a cyberspace layaway ready to pick back up for the holiday season. I deleted it**. Five years of tagged photos, conversations and commentaries. Honestly, I haven’t looked back since, but I’m reaching a point where I’m trying to strike out and work for myself, and it doesn’t make sense not to use all the (free) tools at my disposal, including Facebook.

But, for those of you who are curious about what it feels like to not see baby pictures from that girl you knew kind of in middle school or the daily breakfast menu of that guy who was in your freshman calculus class, I’ll tell you this: it’s glorious.

When I deleted my account, I had 1500 friends, but I realized that only about a dozen of them were people I interacted with regularly face-to-face. I try to be compassionate and caring, but it’s difficult to care about that many people’s daily activities, and frankly exhausting to try. After I got rid of my account, I found myself with hours of free time every day that I could use to actually GO out and spend time with people, instead of just getting the highlights about their lives from a status update or iPhone selfie.

I stopped trying to package and edit my life into easily digestible soundbites to share on Facebook. Instead of going to an event or activity and in my head carefully crafting what I would post afterward, I just enjoyed whatever I was doing and stayed in the moment.

My interpersonal relationships got stronger because instead of just writing on someone’s wall, if I wanted to know how they were, I took the tiny bit of extra time and effort to call them or send them an email.

The last year has been a whirlwind, full of bouncing around different cities, states, countries jobs, schools and trainings and it’s been really nice to not have to account for and explain my actions and activities to hundreds of “friends.” It wears ME out trying to keep up with my life and I don’t expect anyone else to even try.

I’ve received the gamut of responses regarding my Facebook fast: “Good for you!” “How have you made it this long?” “Why the hell are you not on Facebook, how do you survive?” Some people are enthusiastic supporters of my time off, others have relentlessly pressured me to get back on (perhaps concerned about my social development?)

I’m not a particularly private person but I believe we live in a culture of over-sharing. People feel entitled to know all of your business all of the time and I was certainly guilty of posting too much information about my life on the Internet and feeding into that entitlement. A friend of mine once said that Facebook should be treated like a giant dinner party: a space where you can be friendly and conversational, but keep certain information to yourself, to be shared later in a more intimate setting.

As I prepare to make a new profile, I’m making a commitment to myself to spend a limited amount of time on it, only post relevant and interesting information (sorry people, you will never know what I had for a mid-morning snack) and continue developing and maintaining solid friendships in “real life.”

Thoughts?

**As much as you can actually delete anything on the Internet

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4 Responses to “My year Facebook free”

  1. The Dancing Irishman October 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    I definitely spend too much time on facebook myself but I doubt I’ll be giving it up any time soon (I need it to promote my blog). Maybe you’ll do me the honor of adding me as a friend when you re-enter the big bad FB world!

  2. Gayle March 31, 2014 at 6:33 pm #

    Hello Georgia,
    I just discovered your blog, of all things, from a FB post from your mom! Even more than I love the irony in that, I love this post. I’ve been tempted several times to take a FB hiatus for the exact reasons you mention. I’m doin’ it now, thanks to your youthful wisdom! Glad you’re doing well, having adventures and enjoying life.

    • Gayle Dearman March 31, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

      Ok, Gayle Dearman, btw.

    • gschrubbe March 31, 2014 at 7:24 pm #

      Hi Gayle!
      Thanks for the comment, glad my mom posted my blog! Ironically enough, after my year hiatus from Facebook, now my primary form of employment is freelance social media coordinating. Funny how life will surprise you, but I try to keep my personal Facebook time pretty limited and enjoy the moments that I’m in without posting about them too often. 🙂 Hope all is well!

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