Monday, October 14, 2013

Communication Only Through Facebook


"I only communicate online via Facebook."  While this was not said in words, this is often said in the actions of certain people I have met and others who I know.  There are a class of individuals who do not like to converse unless the whole world can see it.  Well, the whole "Facebook world" that is.

It is hard to reach these type of people.  They are aloof when the phone rings.  They are barely there when you are communicating with them in person.  Their thumbs rap at their cellular phone as you try to talk to them.  Their eyes bat back and forth from you to the screen as you try to keep their attention.  You want to say something, but you don't know how to phrase it.  It would probably cause a fight, so you are quiet. Their eyes are glazed, and you wonder if they are drugged.

And they tap, tap, tap, as you struggle to speak with them.

If you are not on Facebook, you probably don't know much about their life.  It does not matter if you are their parent, their sibling, or their once best friend.  If you want in that individual's life, you must be on Facebook.

"I don't like to do private messages, I want to be transparent!"  They say.  They share everything with everyone through Facebook.  Little Timmy's dentist appointment, pictures from Uncle Harry's BBQ, the relationship drama that is unfolding at home.  It's like that television show "Big Brother."  Yet, you know little of it.

When you show concern, they wonder why you are not their Facebook friend.  "If you cared, you would follow my life on Facebook."  Yet, you want a real relationship with the person, a personal and private relationship.  That's a no go though.  If they are going to say it to you, there are going to say it to everyone.

You are left out of the loop when it comes to gatherings.  "I invited everyone on Facebook."  Yet, you told them you are not on Facebook.  You told them more than once.  It doesn't matter though.  Facebook is their world.  "I told you why I am not on Facebook," you tell the individual.  They don't buy it.  They just look at you with those glazed eyes and, as you speak, they grab for the phone and begin to enter text.

"Am I interrupting?" you ask.
"No, I am multi-tasking," they say.
"I miss how things were before."
"It's the Facebook age, you are a dinosaur."
"Not everyone is on Facebook."
"It's a necessity.  Get with the program."

You are on the verge of losing this person, yet you do not want to.  You want to be in the individual's life, but you sure as heck do not want to sign up for a Facebook account.  You have already deactivated your account more than you can count on both hands and at least one foot.  You kept going back, seeing your old high school friend's drunk selfies and manufactured lives.  You woke up each morning, locked and loaded to Facebook and you went to bed feeling like a two ton pickup truck ran you over.  You swore you'd never go back each time and you finally mustered up the courage to deactivate the site for good.  You know that there is no way you are going to blow through three hours to build a new profile and send invitations to all your old friends.

"I tried it, and I was miserable," you try to say, but you have said it before.  Many times.  They just don't understand.  They are used to the life on Facebook.  The ups and downs are normal to them now.  They have no idea what you are talking about.  They don't understand that life without Facebook is better because they are desensitized to the drama, to the need to live up to the expectations of others, to the need to be someone who they are not.  Sure, they are depressed when they see the vacation photos of their friends or the new house that a classmate bought.  Yet, they know no different now.  They can impress others with a click of a button or garnish sympathy from a host of individuals with a few words.  They are neck deep in the toxic relationship with Facebook and they are gladly sinking deeper.

"Have you ever tried going a week without Facebook?"
"Why would I want to do that?"
"You should try it, see if you feel different."
"There's no reason to leave Facebook."

Minutes turn into hours, hours into days, and the time continues to move on.  So much time spent updating profiles as Facebook keeps peeling the onion of privacy further back.  They don't care.  They have been members since when Facebook was for college students only and few could see.  "Don't you value your privacy?" you ask.
"I don't tell people everything about my life."
Yet they sure seem to tell everyone on Facebook about their life.

"Can I e-mail you sometime?"
"Sure, but I don't know if I will have time to answer it, I am very busy."

Busy with what?  Six hours a day on Facebook?  Of course you have enough tact to not say it.  Oh, but you know that you want to.
"I miss our relationship."
"Things change.  You really should get on Facebook."

They just don't understand.  Perhaps they never will.  Facebook loves it though.  They are reeling in the money as people are spending their lives hooked up to their beloved screen.

"Thank you," they say.
"For what?" you ask.
"Oh, sorry, I was talking out loud.  I meant to say that on Facebook." 

17 comments:

  1. Glad to read you once again. It's almost two years that I deactivated my Fb and twitter accounts... when I was looking for some help I ended up here on your blog and now i am really happy with my 'new' life. I appreciate your effort.
    I was thinking that somehow fb is loosing its appeal, in a nutshell... IM on smartphones is the new 'drug', like whatsapp... I found myself in the situation you describe in this post but with whatsapp (or similar apps).

    "You don't have whatsapp ?"
    "Go get the cheapest chinese phone"
    "But why would I use whatsapp ?"
    "Cause it's free, its cool, we can share a lot !"

    And while you think "Well you can call me whit other voip apps if the matter is money" but you kindly reply: "Oooook dude", they are obsessive-compulsively texting or checking fb.

    --

    Keep up the good work, and enjoy your son, and of course your wife (now that she's free ;-) )
    I wish all the best for you and your family.

    --

    GM

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  2. This was such a great post. The other day I sent a friend some birthday wishes via email. She never replied. But I'm sure she was on fb throughout the day, thanking people for their birthday greetings. Since I deleted my account, it's like I no longer am relevant in her life. Just like you mention above, she basically lives on facebook and creates her own little world and an online identity that is rewarding to her. I understand that now. But it's also scary to see how people put so much effort into their online world, and are less present in their real life.

    My daughter showed me a comment about my stepdaughter on fb today, and I was tempted to sign on to my boyfriend's account and snoop. It hasn`t been that long since I deleted my account and I`ve been doing quite well, but seeing that post was probably like someone who has recently quit smoking, hanging out with someone who lights up a cigarette, and then the temptation comes back. To me, I feel that if something is important, my former fb friends will take the time to text or email me about it. One friend is awesome with staying in touch with me this way now. Others, not so much. It really is a whole new world when you leave that site. Some, you just have to leave behind. If they do not communicate off the site, then they really have shown where their priorities lie.

    Thanks for writing this. If I`m feeling tempted to go back on, I like to come back here & review a post or two, to reaffirm my intentions to stay off the site.
    It doesn`t bring out my best qualities, and I always feel sick to my stomach after checking it.

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  3. The situation is getting worse, now if you want to use features on youtube must have google plus, another deceiver as well :(

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  4. I have never been on fb and am happy that my best friends are neither.

    Nevertheless, I am a business English instructor (from Germany) in Taiwan (after South Korea probably the second most 'wired' country) and my students are in their early twenties to thirties. They are so dependent that hanging out together means sitting together in silence tapping away on their phones or tablets.

    These students have a very hard time to hold up their end of meaningful face-to-face communication. Sad world...

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  5. PLEASE keep this blog alive. I occasionally keep getting sucked back in and need to mindfully bring myself back. Thank you so much for this site. There NEEDS to be a community for "recovering addicts"

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  6. I wrote to everyone, telling them I will be deleting my account for good and invited them to my blog. Some joined and some didn't. That's okay, I have finally weened out those who didn't care or were real friends. I have deleted my FB today and it will be gone in 14 days. FB, has been so toxic in my life it's not even funny. I almost forgot to how to write a postcard! You would think, making friends across the globe would make you the most social person on earth. It doesn't. I have met the and became the most antisocial. I hate it! I rather have a real life. You cannot feel vibes online. People live this fantasy life online and don't want to deal with reality. I want to communicate the old fashion way. By going on FB 24/7, has made me antisocial, depressed, angry, and miserable. I am glad I am out. Thanks for this blog!

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  7. Are the friend you have on Facebook really your friends if that’s the only way they’ll communicate with you? What happened to the days of email or, Heaven forbid, the telephone? I think it’s insulting when the only way I’m included in the loop is by having to read a post sent out to everyone else. Faceboogers who only use this method seem to be socially withdrawn from those who are not. If you can’t email or call me, you’re not a friend I’d want anyway.

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    Replies
    1. Right on. I agree totally. I hate Facebook and what it has done to human relationships and communication.

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  8. "There are a class of individuals who do not like to converse unless the whole world can see it. " It is amazing, isn't it? I have emailed a couple of people who just haven't responded but I see they are active, and I mean ACTIVE, on Facebook.

    What about privacy? Maybe I don't want 450 people knowing that we have a great time at lunch yesterday. Maybe I don't want these people knowing I am not feeling well. It is mind-blowing to me how many middle aged adults feel the need to announce they have a migraine, or an upper respiratory infection on Facebook. It's pathetic, really.

    I do feel I will lose some friends, and many of them are over age 45, by not participating in the absolute ridiculous madness that is Facebook.

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  9. I was at a dinner party recently and the day after I saw pictures on fb. Like can't we do anything anymore without posting it to fb? Why does everyone need to see all this? Is it just showing off?

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    1. Yes, it is showing off. Facebook has revealed the utter insecurity and need for validation of it's many eager participants. Many of these people are middle-aged, I mean, over 50. I hate this aspect of life, where no matter where I am, even a dinner party, there is someone taking a photo or even worse, FILMING. So films of you may appear on Facebook for hundreds of people to see, without your consent. I abhor what Facebook has done to modern life. Privacy, what's THAT? An outdated concept apparently.

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  10. I believe you nailed it. Just showing off, inflating one's own ego, etc. There are some groups within Facebook you can join where making an announcement to all concerned like changes to a gathering or dinner are appropriate. But joining Facebook as a whole is required.

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    1. It seems there is always one in the bunch who wants to post photos. I've attended gatherings where several people have had to band together and request the ONE person who wants to post to Facebook to please NOT do so. Nothing is sacred anymore and privacy is sadly, rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Even people who opt out of Facebook have photos of themselves posted without their consent.

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    2. Even worse, I had friends over a couple years ago and they took pictures and tagged people. I figured adding up their friend's list and friend's of friends, over 500 people saw pictures of the inside of my house. I was not thrilled at all. I didn't want my house featured on social media like that. Plus strangers/criminals can scope things out looking for electronics etc to steal if they find out your address. The other thing I don't understand is when people post vacation pics while still away on their trip, letting people know their house is empty at the moment (potential break ins) Are you really having that great a time on holidays if you have time to sit there & post to your social media accounts? I know phones make it so easy these days.

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  11. I just wanted to add something that happened recently. A FB "friend" recently posted about two deaths in her family, within the period of 2-3 months. Call me old-fashioned but I don't feel comfortable posting condolences on Facebook although I understand this is becoming normal. I sent my "friend" private emails and texts expressing my private condolences. She ignored both of my private communications but expressed gushing thanks and emoji hearts to the people who posted publicly.

    I dunno, maybe I should have sent a card but we are not that close in real life and I don't even know her mailing address. We work together occasionally for several years so I felt my private condolences were appropriate.

    I guess for the people who are unabashedly living their private lives on Facebook, even when it comes something as personal and painful as family bereavement, you just cannot win.

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    1. Posting "thank you's" on FB to everyone for the condolences is in very poor taste. So is posting the condolence. Those who offer condolences or congratulations or any acknowledgement of someone's life event simply want to advertise to others what a caring person they are. Ones who thank all the "caring souls" are lazy, simply put. They only have to write one thank you note; not personal, not individualized. It can also be self-serving by possibly prompting others to acknowledge after the fact.

      Whether by email or hand written, a note of thanks, personal invitation, offering of condolence, or similar communication, I always make it personal and individual. And you know, that crazy invention called a telephone still works amazingly well.

      I am happy and proud to call myself an "ex-Facebooger".

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  12. Times sure have changed. I remember sending a friend of mine a private birthday message. She never responded but thanked & liked each person on fb who said happy birthday. I felt kind of snubbed.

    I guess these days people are grieving less privately or getting some sort of comfort from online comments. I find it really uncomfortable when someone has just passed away a few hours...and a family member is making a public statement on fb already. That's the last thing I would be doing when grieving. But maybe they feel that they are reaching out to people. I don't quite understand it and I wonder how these people coped in pre-facebook years. I feel most people on fb today seem really needy and are looking for attention.

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