Alright, so there should be another post on this blog about how I deleted Facebook and whatnot. Well, truth be known, I ended up reactivating my account about a month and a half later. Move ahead 5 months, and I have committed Facebook suicide for a second time. This time though, I literally killed my virtual self. I went through every “photo album” and deleted every picture. I went through all of my “interests” and deleted those. And doing that wasn’t very difficult. I didn’t really care. But then, I went into delete mode, and started deleting every single wall post.
It wasn’t until I started deleting every wall post did I really feel like I was erasing a part of me. I had Facebook for a solid 4 years. In that time, I have left high school, I have made friends, I have lost friends, people I have known passed away, I have adjusted to university life, I have adjusted to life with a dog, I have started this and three other blogs, I have been hired and fired from jobs, and every single thing that I have been through has in some way been documented on Facebook. I never realized it, but if I died, someone could have written a four year biography on my life just from the information they could gather from Facebook. Piece by piece though, I erased it, and I killed my Facebook identity.
While I was going through, erasing everything, I actually felt sad. I felt like I was really losing something. I felt like I was losing a friend. I find it surprising that I felt that way, but that is really the generation that we live in now right? We spend hours and days and weeks and months developing our virtual self. We create a side of us that we want to project to the world. People get to know our online identity well before they really get to know our real self. A term has actually been created for that too – Facebook creeping. You always “creep” people you think you might like before you add them as a “friend” and then you converse virtually before you really meet face to face at all. So, while I feel sad, and somewhat incomplete now, I feel good knowing that instead of working on a part of me to project virtually to the world, I will now work on my real self. Instead of hiding behind a screen, I will find out how I really want to be projected to the world, and I will fashion myself that way, without the help of a virtual persona.
A lot of people have asked me why I deleted Facebook. And for these people I have a few answers. First being, should I ever decide to pursue a political career I feel it wise that I get rid of Facebook for a few years before that happens. Things have a way of creeping up behind you and catching you off-guard when you least expect it, so this is my way of protecting my future-self from anything that people might try to dig up on me from Facebook. I know that regardless, my past will come up in a political career, but why make it easy for people to dig something up?
Secondly, I have spent way too much time on Facebook in the past, and I think that it is much more important to focus on my real relationships, and put real time in for my friends and family, and go out of my way to meet up with people for coffee or a movie, rather than just posting a message on their Facebook wall. For about 3 out of my 4 years on Facebook, I have refused to write “Happy Birthday” on anyone’s Facebook wall. And I have felt insulted when people wrote “Happy Birthday” on my wall. How utterly impersonal is that? I am not a huge fan of birthdays to begin with, but if you can’t see the person on their birthday, give them a phone call! Sure it only takes 5 seconds to write on their wall, but how about taking a minute and a half to give them a quick call. I mean, if you really care about them it shouldn’t be that big of a burden.
Third, I feel that I have had a good run on Facebook. I have had a good time, and there are fond memories associated directly to Facebook. But, Facebook is adapting and changing constantly, and I am tired of constantly changing for Facebook. Facebook used to be a very simple platform for communication, and over the past few years it has changed into a place where people can play games, every interest has now been associated with a “page,” and frankly I am tired of Facebook suggesting I be friends with people just because we have a friend or two in common. This might sound petty, but hey, it’s a reason nonetheless.
Cheers to my virtual self – you will be missed by few, and to others you will just be one less “friend” that they will have to make up for. Either way, I know I will keep on keeping on.
“MySpace and Facebook have created a generation that, supposedly, has many friends but little sense of privacy and a narcissistic fascination with self-display.”