I’m writing to say good-bye. I know it’s the coward’s way out, writing a letter, but because your hold over me is so strong, I think it’s what I need to do. Imagine a heroin-addict finally getting the resolve to ditch the drug, but wanting to personally say good-byes to his dealers...you get the picture. A letter is the best way out.
I’m leaving you for several reasons, really, but to be honest, the main reason is that I love you too much. (Hello, my name is Karen, and I’m a Facebook-aholic.) It’s not the fun and games you offer me; those aren’t a distraction at all. It’s just that I’ve realized that I have ‘itchy ears’ and I am consumed with reading everyone’s updates. Some folks will find this scandalous and absurd, but others will squirm uncomfortably because they know what I’m talking about. It’s humbling to admit, but they say that’s the first step. So there you have it.
There are other, important reasons I’m saying good-bye to you. For one thing, I’ve actually begun THINKING in Facebook Status Post. I will have a thought, and will stop and re-format it into a post for my wall. That’s a mighty powerful effect you’ve had on me, Facebook. And downright creepy. Worse, recently you allowed a friend to experience some horrific spamming on her Facebook page. She was innocent, but mortified, and that made me mad for her. What kept me mad was the realization that we all know that nasty-spam is a possible consequence of sticking around here, and we seem to be willing to take that risk. But here’s the deal: once you see images like that , they’re there - stuck - in your mind for good. You can’t wash ‘em out like streams of sweat at the end of a hard-working day. So it’s simple: if I don’t have a Facebook account, my page can’t be spammed.
It’s not that I won’t miss the benefits that you offer. I’ve reconnected with past acquaintances, been encouraged by intelligent posts. My connection with family members is stronger than ever. I love that. And I’ll miss that. But I’m thinking that the oh-so-last-year means of communication like blogging (yes, I’m picking it up again), email, and even the telephone surely can maintain those relationships and provide that encouragement.
When I was young, I had a couple of pen-pals. I did my best to keep in touch with them, but as you would expect, we haven’t been in contact for years. So I’ve been thinking about how you’ve re-defined friendship, Facebook, and I’ve decided to not go with the flow. Friendship, and its close sister ‘community’, are face-to-face relationships, pure and simple. The relationships you promote are superficial. Shallow? I know this from experience: when happening upon a real-live personal contact with a Facebook “friend”, I’ve found it to be awkward at best. Just because we comment on each other’s photos and posts doesn’t mean that we have a real friendship! It’s a VIRTUAL friendship, and it’s inconceivable for one that’s maintained solely on Facebook to be anything more than the sum of its posts. Just as no one can maintain 300+ pen-pals, I can’t maintain you; I can't carry your prayer burdens; I can't keep up. I have too many other things in my life to accomplish.
So, you see? I’m a bit disillusioned. Not because you fell short. But because you went beyond what I was expecting, and in such ways that I find it easy to bid you farewell.
If anyone here would like to stay in touch, well, I’d love it. I feel safe saying that because I know that not all five-hundred-seven of you are you going to want to, because we’re not really friends, are we? (Please don’t take offense - I’m not trying to be mean. Just blame Facebook for making us think we’re closer than we really are.) :-)
Finally, two things: First, I highly recommend that sympathetic readers keep their eyes out for a new documentary coming out (hopefully) before the year’s end. “Captivated” documents the science and stories behind our world-wide obsession with media. I’m sure it will be informative and eye-opening. Second, if you’ve been considering spending less time online, here’s a great blog post by a Christian gal who is doing it successfully.
So now adieu, dear Facebook. Life is so full of real, wonderful joys, and I’m off to rediscover them. Oh! Do you hear that? The children are cheering!! “Mama’s back!” they’re chanting. Now that - the delight of children - is something worth being addicted to!
Fondly, but firmly,