Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So Long, Facebook

Over the past several months, a discontentment with all things Facebook has been gradually building in my mind. If I haven't yet exhausted your brainwashed-by-typical-status-update-length attention span, allow me to explain.

1. Cost vs. Benefit

To be sure, benefits a la plenty exist in social networking. Usually in life, however, the benefits outweigh/equal the cost. For example, if you pay $.99 for a 5-layer burrito from Taco Bell, the benefit FAR OUTWEIGHS the cost (no arguments allowed on this point).

However, in the case of Facebook, the amount of time I have shamefully poured into Facebook is hugely disproportionate to the benefits I receive. (Oh look, Aunt Lily just poked somebody I've never heard of, again.)

I have concluded that ANY benefit received in checking my Facebook as often as I use the restroom can also be received if I check Facebook (hold on to your hats) only once a week.


Once a stinking week?

RESOLUTION #1 - I will only sign in to Facebook once a week.


2. Friend Count

I just had to break Resolution #1 to check and see how many "friends" I have - 241.

What a joke. Maybe, just maybe, there are 241 people in the ENTIRE world who could pick me out of a crowd, and know my first name (Josh, right?). Is this what friendship has become?

I was thinking about this, and there is a guy I haven't talked to in over 5 years. I don't think we've ever messaged on Facebook, and yet, I have this odd sense that we are still connected because, "Hey look, he changed his profile pic!" Folks, we aren't close. This is an illusion of intimacy created by an illusion of communication. I'm tired of it. Is it possible to maintain even a mediocre level of meaningful interaction with 241 people? I submit that it is not.

Another illusion created by Facebook is that you can actually update people as to what you are doing.

Uncle Jason's gonna tell it to ya straight.

Unless someone happens to be watching the "Most Recent" news within 15 minutes of your groundbreaking news - they (ahem) DON'T SEE IT!!!! Of course, someone could always choose to specifically take the time to visit your page. But seriously, how many different people are actually checking my page? 10? 20? 50? Oh wait, that's right - 241. (heavy sarcasm)

The point I'm trying to make here is not that your statuses aren't being read. Quite creepily, they are. Rather, I'm trying to argue that the idea that you're "broadcasting" yourself to all of your friends is simply an illusion.

I have decided that I simply cannot (and do not) maintain 241 friendships on Facebook. So if you get de-friended by me, it's NOT personal. I'm simply trying to make Facebook a tool again. I'm going to tell you something Mark Zuckerberg doesn't want me to tell you - we can still be friends even if (here it comes) we AREN'T friends on Facebook. (My own father isn't on Facebook, and I consider him one of my closest friends.)

RESOLUTION #2 - I will reduce my friends to only 100, and maintain this level.

These rantings are just the tip of the iceberg. I'm sick of the Face-stalking. I'm sick of the lack of privacy. I'm sick of the rude comments. I'm sick of the politics.

I want Facebook to be a tool again, and lately, it's been my taskmaster.



  1. Jason,

    Read this post frim my andriod phone! I love this phone! Anyway, I totally agree with you! Problem is I have 690 friends myself so I don't really have a leg to stand on. But to make myself feel better I'm going to point the finger and say..."Hey at least I don't have 2,000 friends like that girl does." LOL. Anyway I enjoyed the post and would like to request that you don't delete me...FRIEND!

  2. Hmmm...this is interesting...I have a lot of friends on facebook who I don't keep up with, but they like to look at my pictures (campers, etc.) and a lot of people from our church are on facebook, so it helps us keep connected and pray for each other, so I do think that's a benefit that may be unique to our church. I know Mom has done a lot with the lists - organizing family, church people, etc so she can quickly see if any of her close friends or family have posted anything. Update us on how this goes for you! :)

  3. Also, I know the status updates often don't get read, and that's why I tweet more and don't bother to update my FB status as much. :)

  4. David, I won't be de-friending a bragger like you anytime soon. Thanks for the feedback!

    Thanks for your thoughts! Seeing pictures of Zachary/Natalie, being able to pray for my friends, and staying connected with those close to me are certainly things I'm hoping will actually be enhanced by these new "resolutions". I will try to do a follow up post, maybe after 30 days or something.