Stephanie at 10 Maple Lane, 1983. Photo by her Dad.
GOODBYE FACEBOOK, OR WHY I QUIT YOU.
by Stephanie Vernier
This feels like a break-up of sorts. I feel like I need to explain myself. It’s been 4 days since I became facebook free. You know, I thought I’d be a little empty inside. Thought the detox would be painful, the withdrawal substantial. There were other times I tried quit, tried to stay away. Each time lasted hours, once a few days.
This time was different.
This time I deactivated, which wasn’t easy. As soon as I took the first step, they tugged at my heartstrings, If you leave Nikki will miss you! Send her a message before you go. Nikki’s profile picture stared longingly back at me. Then Annie popped up, and Amy, and Liz. They want you to stay!
No, I clicked continue. Then facebook wanted to know why: did I spend too much time there, was I unhappy about something, was there another reason? I clicked: other. Then continue. Another dialogue box popped up, but why? Why did you chose other? Please explain. I’d rather now not say. They promised I could come back anytime, they would be waiting, my spot would be held.
I wanted to tell them this was not my original plan. I never wanted to leave.
It started as a necessary cleanse in the beginning of the week. Deleting those few high school acquaintances whose Jesus Saves!, abortion murders baby angels, and bible-quoting updates were no longer that funny and ironic to recite and make fun of, because they were actually being serious. Once the deleting started, I decided couldn’t take another “friend” joining a group like, I’ll vote for Palin in 2012 (also not ironic), or Let’s see if this poodle in a tinfoil hat can get more fans than Glenn Beck!, or I’m glad I can see my ex got fat after we broke-up!
Maybe it was the incessantly inane status updates and my inability to not check them constantly, either on my computer or my iphone. Maybe it was conundrum of blocking certain friends’ feeds because of their constant updating, and then having nothing interesting to look at in my news feed. Maybe it was the addiction to farmville, gathering more and more neighbors so I could keep expanding my property. Maybe there was no one interesting left to stalk. Maybe I did not want one more former high school classmate peering into my adult life when we had had zero contact since graduation, and aside from clicking “confirm as a friend” zero contact since.
I started thinking: What do these people do all day that they can constantly update their status, join groups, or ask for more nails so they can finish their horse stable on farmville? Why do I give a shit and waste even 5 seconds of my day reading about someone making a grilled cheese for their kid, or being stuck in traffic (obviously they didn’t take the Oprah oath about texting and driving), or I’m in Maui and it’s so great I’m updating my facebook status. I sort of thought about how the whole world might stop on it’s axis because 89% of the workforce is updating their status, uploading pictures, joining groups, playing games, or worse facebook instant messaging.
I had what I would like to label as an “unconscious slip-up” occur in the past 4 days. Typing a URL into my web browser I automatically starting typing: http://www.fac – then I stopped myself. If I had any doubts deactivating was the right choice, I knew then and there I had been in too deep. My fingers have a muscle memory I now must work everyday to correct.
I’ve received some confused texts: ummm…I can’t find your Facebook page? Why can’t I send you a farmville gift. Can you send me another sheep? Do you hate me? Why did you delete me? Are we in a fight?
I started to rethink my decision, should I reactive and update my status: I’m leaving facebook, I still like most of you, find me in the human world if you would like to interact. But, I stayed strong, stayed away. I’ve started to read before bed again, something I haven’t done since I expanded my farm to a plantation.
Sure I’ll miss out on certain things, won’t know the every move of every person remotely connected to my life, but I realized I’m ok with that. I’ll survive not knowing the girl I once sat next to in home room hates finding out her roommate incorrectly uses the word copulate, or a former co-worker wishes the rain would stop, or an individual I (once) respected enjoyed the Twilight series.
If I had a status update it would be:
Hello world – I’ve missed you.
This was first published on 2/23/10 in A Day in the Life of the Marginally (Un)Employed.