After five years I’m dumping my cyber crush. I did it. I pushed the button that shut it all down.
The feeling was that of excitement with a slight sigh of regret, but I did it! I have joined the real world without Facebook. The breakup was rough. I realized that I have 10 friends rather than 200, a million useless photos to sift through, and the task of actually keeping in touch with friends and family. I browsed, gazed, stared, read, commented, liked, and shamefully admit – stalked. Bored moments always resulted in logging in. Waiting rooms, movie previews, early to church, and sadly even bathroom breaks would result in a log in (no pun intended).
Here are examples of the mind-blowing reads I came across daily:
~ “I just ate a doughnut.” – Dieting group of friends (followed by photo of said doughnut.)
~ “Vomited everywhere! Someone bring me soup.” – Pregnant population (followed by “I’m pretending to sleep” selfie.)
~ “Leaving today for vacation I cannot wait!” – Oblivious friend who complains about privacy issues…and home invasions.
~ “No offense, but my opinion is my opinion so if you don’t like it then get off my Facebook page.” – Person who hasn’t figured out why there is a comment button for each post. Also, if you put it out there then you’re asking for it.
~ “What DOES the fox say?” – Actually…this is legit.
These weirdo comments would get a pass through as I scrolled by photos of food, pedicures, weddings, pregnant bellies, pets, and body parts with gross bruises on them. I soon was joining the “page flooding club” with bad jokes and baby pictures (which were all hilarious. They were, really.) Anything out of the ordinary would get a snapshot and be immediately posted to my wall. If we planned to eat at a new restaurant, I wanted Facebook to know that we were, in fact, eating at a new restaurant. Seeing a movie? Let everyone know how it was! You got a good picture of us? Tag me. Kid is doing something cute? Record it so we can post it later. Facebook was not only a diary for me, but soon became a priority over simply just…living in the moment.
I accepted friends quite often at first. Soon I was finding myself questioning who certain people were on my list. I just kept them around for numbers sake. I found it funny when people would write, “Ok everyone! I’m going through my friends list and purging some people. Hopefully you aren’t one of them.” Awesome. How will I know? I must start interacting with this person ASAP so I don’t get the ax. These people were let into my personal world with the click of a mouse, and I THOUGHT I got to choose what they could see on my profile. Things changed as FB started messing with privacy and posting. I decided to be a creeper and check things out myself.
I started a search for a friend of mine, Jen. I was able to find her via Google because she didn’t specify on her page that she didn’t want “everyone” to be able to search for her. I saw a ton of her FB photos through Google. I am not her friend on Facebook (long story). Her profile was set to private. I saw her cover photo, because these are publicly viewed pictures. In the cover photo she was pregnant. I saw that some of her profile pictures were public, and was able to check out some wedding shots. Jen was married and pregnant…good for her! Looking to the right where her friends list was, I noticed a friend had taken a picture with Jen and set it as her profile photo. I clicked on it. By doing so I found out through this ‘friend’, who had a public profile, that Jen lived in Las Vegas. The plot thickens.
I stumbled upon…no I didn’t I totally investigated…and found that Jen had commented on a local news channel FB page. This news channel had sent out a story regarding a hospital nearby. I was able to read Jen’s comment which stated that she was not going to deliver there, but named another hospital…and then gave a date. I then went back to her page and was able to see her family, as she had them lined up in her “about me” section. I found out where she was having her baby, when she was due, how her siblings were doing, where they were working, etc. All from Jen’s so-called “private profile.”
Nobody is that naive to believe that their information and photos are secure on the internet – Facebook or not. I can Google my own name and find my wedding registry, my old baby registry, and a previous address if I wanted to. Nothing is private anymore. All it takes is someone who wants to dig into your diary. You can protect your profile to some extent, but you can’t control your friends and family or what they choose to post. I’m sure there are ways to completely block out the world but then…what is the point?
I am still on Facebook for my blog at Carpenters Quill (don’t judge me), but I doubt I’ll go back for my personal profile. What is really interesting is that even though I deactivated my profile, all I have to do is log in and POOF! Everything is as it was. Not saying that I did that…ok I did do that but only because I had to transfer all my photo albums outta there. It’s only been a couple of weeks and I already miss my friends and family on Facebook. I miss giving them a ‘like’ so they know I read their post and am pleased. 🙂 I miss getting cards in the mail, an email, a phone call, a text, or a coffee date. I am hitting the dislike button for FB even though I do think social media is great for certain things and absolutely useful. However, I think for now I will keep my posts to myself and continue to enjoy moments for what they are.
CHALLENGE: Quit one outlet of social media for a week or longer. Recognize the simple moments and appreciate them without a post.