I feel like leaving Facebook. I’m not exactly sure why. I just have this vague not-quite-right feeling so…
I open my computer, sign into my account and type in the words, “I have decided to leave Facebook.” I have announced my intention to the world… or at least to my 176 friends.
Fifteen or so people respond, all saying they’ll miss me. Some say they understand. Is this undefinable fed-up-with-Facebook feeling common? I wonder: Will my other 161 friends not miss me? I think perhaps some will. Maybe some of them just didn’t see my status.
I must admit I don’t see and read all my friends’ updates either. There is such a huge volume of information passing through my feed every day. I’d be on the computer for hours keeping up to date. Already I spend far too long online. Maybe this is part of the reason I have decided to leave Facebook.
So many friends. So many status updates… Is it really possible to have a meaningful relationship with all my Facebook friends? And if not, what’s the point of being friends?
Sometimes I think about a particular friend and hop over to his or her wall to catch up with all the news. I usually stop and say hello. I have made a connection which helps to maintain the bonds of friendship. And I like this about Facebook.
But sometimes I hop over to a particular friend’s wall and find I am no longer a friend. I have been (shock! horror!) unfriended. I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised. I should expect such things to happen. That’s the nature of Facebook. But still it does hurt a little. I think, “Why? What did I do wrong? Did I upset someone?”
It’s quite possible I did nothing wrong. Someone is just pruning back his/her friends’ list and I missed the cut. My only failing is not being a close enough friend.
Yes, our friends’ list can grow and grow and become unmanageable and maybe it’s good to unfriend a friend or two every now and then. Yet, somehow I don’t like that idea.
There are however a lot of people on my friends’ list who are suitable candidates for unfriending. Doesn’t that sound awful? So who would I unfriend (theoretically, you understand)?
For a start, all those people I don’t know anything about. Sometimes I look at the names on my friends’ list and I wonder who some of them are. Why was she so keen to be my ‘friend’? He has never actually spoken a word to me. They never even said, “Thank you for accepting my friend request.” Did they really want to be my friend or am I just a number on their list?
That’s the problem with Facebook: some people just want to collect as many ‘friends’ as possible.
But still I don’t like the whole concept of unfriending.
Or perhaps some friends just enjoy reading my posts quietly. Maybe I also do that sometimes, if I am being entirely honest.
Facebook is not all bad though. In fact I like many things about it. I have made a lot of good friends online who I will miss when I close my account. I think about this. I continue typing my status update:
“If anyone wants to stay in touch, we could swap email addresses.” And a few friends do send me their details. But I wonder: will we really stay in touch?
Do you remember when we all used to write snail mail letters? Then emails came along. Much quicker and easier. No longer any need to write a proper letter. But now we have Facebook posts. Type a few words and our comment can be read by loads of friends… all 176 or more (if they have time to read their whole feed). No longer any need to write an individual email. It is sad but somehow I don’t think emails will help me stay in contact with everyone, despite good intentions. Inevitably, I will lose some friends.
I have a further thought. lf I close my Facebook account… and my Sue Elvis Writes page and my grief blog page and my Bush Boys page… I will probably lose a lot of blog readers:
“Sue, I like seeing your blog post notifications in my feed. It makes reading your blogs easy.” Yes, Facebook is easy.
“You could subscribe to my blogs by email,” I suggest. But will they? Or will people just stop reading my blogs? Should I stay on Facebook? No. I can cope with less blog readers.
This morning I open up my computer. I sign into Facebook… automatically. I scroll down the feed.
Oh look! S has a cute new haircut. I like! I click ‘like’. I scroll further down the page. S has had a good day. She’s run a mile at top speed. I again like! I type: “S, do you want to increase your distance or speed or both?” I love discussing running with S.
I notice two friends are celebrating birthdays so I send them happy birthday greetings.
S replies to my comment and I ‘like’.
I ‘like’ a few other comments too, and then I remember…
I’m deleting my Facebook account. I have announced that intention. What am I doing here chatting to my friends? It’s time to move on. It’s time to sign out. And I am just about to do that when I notice someone has ‘liked’ my Sue Elvis Writes page. I smile. It’s not every day someone likes my page. This is special. Then I stop smiling. What will my new page fan think when my page disappears as soon as she ‘likes’ it?
I sign out of Facebook, close my computer and sit thinking. Do I really want to delete my Facebook account? But that vague fed-up and not-quite-happy-about-Facebook feeling returns. I have a dilemma. A Facebook dilemma.
I again think about that lovely person who liked my Sue Elvis Writes page. That's special. I think about S and her running. I want to hear about her next run. I also want to read all the news when everyone returns from the homeschooling sleeping-in-tents camp. And I have things to share too. I never did tell my funny confession app story.
Perhaps I can take my time resolving this dilemma. No hurry to make a decision. There's plenty of time... In the meantime, would you like to hear my funny confession app story?