I still remember the social euphoria I felt when I first signed in to Facebook. I found people I had not talked with in a long time, some of them in upwards of 20 years. Sending Friend Requests was a fast addiction. “How many people that I know can I find?” quickly became the goal.
Beyond my initial exposure, I never found myself spending excessive time on Facebook. Over time, though, I found a handful of things to be true:
- I allowed a sense of obligation build up, and I would occasionally feel a sense of neglect toward Facebook if I didn’t check in at least once a day.
- The “news” that I picked up on Facebook was no more or less filtered than the rest of the news one can find for free on the Internet.
- The overall quality of the “relationships” I built or maintained through Facebook was, in reality, poor.
- The short list of people I really care about didn’t change after I joined Facebook.
I found myself becoming frustrated with the incremental loss of privacy that pervaded the evolving Facebook user agreement. The ad placement also began to hit my pain threshold. Bruce Schneier is credited with the meme “Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re Facebook’s customer, you’re not – you’re the product.” That really began to resonate with me late last year.
So here we are. I’m now a full month removed from Facebook, and I’m still alive. My real relationships are still intact, I have redirected the slice of time I was donating to Facebook to more meaningful things.