Sunday, April 1, 2012

Why I began using Facebook

It was through my college newspaper that I first read about Facebook.  It mentioned Facebook, stating that if you had not heard of Facebook you probably lived in a cave.   At the time I must have lived in a cave, because I had never heard of Facebook yet.  I was also curious.  What was this "Facebook"?  At that time one had to have a university e-mail account to sign up for it.  I did not know many people at college, but I figured, "what the heck, I'll give it a shot." 

I set up an account and made a profile.  Since I did not know many people, I did not do much with it.  In fact, I let it sit idle for about a year not going back until people started leaving the big internet site of the time, Myspace, for it. 

Myspace.  Ah, the memories.  I had some of the similar issues that I have with Facebook with Myspace.  I thought it was poorly designed, full of glitches, and somewhat juvenile.  However, at one time it was, like Facebook, seen as a way for people and friends to 'stay in touch'.  It was for that very reason that I kept an account active there.  My sisters and some of my wife's sister's were on there, and even though there was a lot of drama at times, it was a good way to express myself through the blog feature that they had, as well as the ability to post pictures.  I am proud to say I never posted the classic "beer in hand, shirt off, at the beach" picture that has always, in my mind, remained the Myspace classic picture.

However, it was when Facebook started allowing anyone with a pulse to join, that I noticed an exodus from Myspace.  Facebook, unlike Myspace, really appealed to the older generations.  My grandmother, aunts, uncles, parents -- people who did not use Myspace -- were making accounts.  It was then I went back to Facebook and edited my account, taking the time to show the world and my family exactly who I was -- or who I thought I was.  Or maybe it was who I wanted to be.  I shared with family and friends my visits to Thailand, Europe, Mexico, shared my fiction writings, my philosophical beliefs, my educational attainments, and everything that I could come up with.  However, at the same time, I was sick of sharing who I was through a website instead of through 'real life' and for that reason I took a step back and started to question Facebook as a social networking site. 

When I started law school I deactivated Facebook.  I wanted to excel in law school, and I knew that in order to do so I would have to remove all distractions.  I had just moved across the country and had mixed feelings on leaving San Francisco, a place I had loved.  I remember people in law school all exchanging Facebook information during orientation.  Even I was asked by the person who sat next to me if I had a Facebook.  I said no, and she said she did not use it much either, nor did she add anyone from the school.  I thought it was nice that someone else did not find much use for it.  However, I also felt a bit left out of the loop, but realized it was for the attainment of knowledge that I was in school, not to be a 'social animal' on Facebook (later I will expand on why Facebook is not really a social networking site, but more of an 'asocial networking' site). 

As my first year of law school passed, I found many people on their computers, on Facebook.  Instead of posting what I hated and liked about law school, or about how I was going to go to (insert place) for spring break, I studied.  Oh, how I studied!  Over the course of a year I thought some about Facebook, but knew that if I went back I would miss out on having high grades.  So I ignored it, and felt proud of the fact that I could turn my face from Facebook so to speak.

After my first year of law school I found myself transferring schools and moving to New York, a dream of mine.  I reactivated Facebook, as I was out of school for the summer and thought no harm, no foul.  Well, this was a mistake.  You see, I started to get involved in the old dramas that popped up.  I found myself smack dab in the middle of political arguments.  Occupy Wall Street was the big thing, and Facebook was livid with posts and reflections about it.  One of my best friends from high school was obsessed with Occupy Wall Street, and I was questioning the validity of the movement.  We went back and forth and I started to focus on that kind of thing instead of my preparing for school (and at this time law school was starting up again).  I fought back and forth about the politics and economics of finance and corporations until I got fed up and said I was done with it.  However, reading about it continued to annoy me.  I continued to follow the posts of family, in laws, and other friends.  I continued trying to validate myself as a person, which was something they were all trying to do as well.    At the end of the first semester of my second year I noticed my grades were not nearly as high as they were during my first year, and I realized that part of that was because I was glued to Facebook instead of studying.

So, as the next semester of law school started up I said, "enough is enough!"  I deactivated it for a short while and started to notice that I was more engaged with my work and actually really enjoying it.  I went a couple weeks without Facebook and felt proud.  Then I activated it again out of curiosity.  I felt the want to share that I left Facebook on Facebook!  I wanted to show everyone why I left!  Big mistake.  I felt so dirty for being there that I deactivated it again within an hour.  I have not been back since.  It is truly like a drug, and I emplore you to give it up.  If you want to leave bad enough you can.  Once you do, you will notice a change in your life.  A change for the better.

I wonder if many of my friends even know that I left.  I am sure some probably think I am still there, but being quiet.  Well, the truth is, I am gone and loving it!  Leaving Facebook might have been the biggest accomplishment I have made this year.  It has spurred many more accomplishments and I just want to say not being on Facebook has opened my eyes and made me see that there is so much more to the world than a site where people try to validate themselves to the world.

5 comments:

  1. You mention that you deactivated your Facebook acct but have you permanently deleted your acct? I just did and was curious if you have because I too have deactivated my account several times yet that just gave me a way to return. When you permanently delete your account there are a number of hoops that Facebook makes you jump thru its truly amazing how easy they make it to return yet so hard to permanently delete.

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    1. As far as I know, it is almost impossible to fully delete your account. When you go to re-activate, Facebook has your information just as you left it. Further, that would give them access to everything you have ever said. That being so, I figure that everything I posted on there is too boring for them to care about. However, I know that there are some people who would not care much for the idea that things they thought they have removed from the internet still lurk about (even though this is the case with many things online).

      Further, I think Facebook allows you to reactivate easily so you will come back. Many people would be turned off of the idea of starting a brand new profile and not go back. However, when you can just start back where you left off, it is easy to get back in the habit. I have known many people who leave Facebook for a few days, weeks, or even a couple of months, and come back.

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  2. Thank you so much for this blog
    I left FB a year ago and didn't really care until I started my masters. I just felt and still feel I don't know people, people treat me like a pariah because I'm not on FB and they apparently share a lot of information with each other in 'groups' about the course. I was tempted to rejoin but thought 'what's the point?' As I'd probably leave straight after the course. But as much as I have been told by my fellow students that I have 'isolated myself' this blog has reminded me why I left. When people ask why I left I always say 'there was a life before Facebook, and there is one after'. Leaving Facebook definitely shows you who your friends are, real friends will pick up the phone and talk, maybe send a text. Facebook made it too easy to write on a wall and feel fulfilled in your 'friend duty' Happy Birthday or even worse HBD. This blog also reminded me about all that Facebook drama and how much time I spent on FB doing nothing at all! Thank you!

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  3. Also you can fully delete your account If you google how to permanently delete FB, a page comes up with a link which allows you to send the request. It will deactivate your account for two weeks and if you don't log in during that time it will permanently delete

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  4. How do I permanently delete my account?

    If you deactivate your account, your profile (timeline) disappears from the Facebook service immediately. People on Facebook won't be able to search for you, though some info, like messages you sent, may still be visible to others. We also save your profile (timeline) information (ex: friends, photos, interests, etc.) in case you want to come back.

    If you don't think you'll use Facebook again, you can request to have your account permanently deleted. Please keep in mind that you won't be able to reactivate your account or retrieve any of the content or information you've added. Before you do this, you may want to download a copy of your info from Facebook. Then, if you'd like your account permanently deleted with no option for recovery, log in to your account and fill out this form (have to log in to view).

    If you can't log in to your account, you'll need to reset your password first. To do this, go to www.facebook.com and click the Forgot your password? link below the password field. Once you’ve followed the instructions to reset your password and can log into your account, you can deactivate or delete your account using the steps outlined above.

    Source: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=224562897555674

    ReplyDelete