I was late to the Facebook scene. I didn’t make an account until the summer of 2009, a month after I graduated from high school. Throughout high school, I was constantly pestered to “get Facebook.” I held out.
I remember someone was Facebook for Halloween at school. I thought it was weird. Looking back, that was probably a sign from above that social media would soon control us. It was a Catholic school, after all.
When I finally caved, I was so confused by the concept of Facebook.
You mean to tell me that now when I want to talk to someone, I have to post a message on their “wall” and let everyone else see it? Why is everything so public? What if I want to tell them I threw up my dinner last night? Hundreds of other people would now know.
I also didn’t understand the whole posting on someone’s wall concept. Someone posted on my wall and I didn’t know how to respond. I asked a friend if I was to reply on my wall, or if I had to go to their profile and write on their wall.
I was told I had to write on their wall, thus breaking up a conversation into two locations. It was dumb.
Slowly, I adapted and figured out what I was doing.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t always have my eye on my friend count and was comparing my number to other people’s number.
“How do they have 987 friends?”, I asked myself. Such a number seemed ridiculous. It still does.
As the years went on, Facebook became fun. I wasted too many hours, during university, scrolling through my news feed and seeing what people were up to. No one was afraid to write on walls, or comment on posts, or share pictures, or hilarious stories.
There was so much content to soak in at all hours of the day.
My role on Facebook slowly turned into “the guy who will post a witty status, a sports status, or a sentimental status.” And that’s what I did for a few years, until recently.
I felt like a broken record. And, looking around, a lot of other people had already gone silent on Facebook. No one was funny anymore. Everything was so dark and serious. So why should I bother with a witty joke? Who would care?
Lately, I’ve been spending less time on Facebook. I find myself only logging on if I receive an email telling me that one of the three people I exchange messages with, has sent me something. And maybe I’ll scroll through a few posts and check the “On This Day” feature. But that’s it.
About a month ago I made the decision to unfriend a bunch of people. I had never really unfriended anyone before because I felt too guilty about it. What would they think if they saw I unfriended them? Now, I don’t care. I was probably also concerned with boasting a high friend count.
I had 376 Facebook friends when I realized I didn’t really have 376 friends.
I went through each person and asked myself when the last time I talked to them was. Then I asked myself if they were someone who’s posts I normally “like”, or vice versa. If the answer was “No” then the majority of them were met with the unfriend button.
This process took me down to 237 friends, which is still too many, but unfriending 139 people is a good start.
A part of me feels bad because these were people who I went to school with, or worked with, or met somehow. I didn’t really have any friends on Facebook who were friends of a friend’s friend.
Then again, I don’t know these people anymore. I only know them through their profile picture, their latest status, or when Facebook tells me it’s their birthday.
Chances are, I’ll never talk to most of them again. Social media ain’t so social, is it?
I didn’t need, nor want, details of their life anymore. It’s nothing personal, I wish everyone the best in life. But do I really need to know everything about someone I went to high school with seven years ago, but haven’t heard from since? No. I don’t. No one does.
I’ve found myself enjoying Instagram, Twitter, and WordPress much more than Facebook.
Instagram is a good mix of friends and other accounts that show me pictures concerning different topics around the world.
Twitter is where I get most of my news from, though I go through phases where I don’t feel like posting anything. Again, who really cares?
And WordPress, this might be my favourite place on the Internet. It’s a place where words still mean something. It’s given me friends all over the world who don’t really know me, but are there to support me one blog post at a time.
I can write anything here and know that someone will take the time to read every word.
I always got the sense on Facebook that statuses longer than three or four lines were frowned upon. Or that I was disrupting someone’s precious news feed because I wanted to show my excitement over a sport they don’t care about.
The only thing keeping me on Facebook these days is the Facebook messages feature. If MSN were still around, my Facebook account probably wouldn’t be.
Knowing about what’s going on in hundreds of other lives, on a daily basis, is exhausting. And it was always easy to compare my life with others. That was a mistake.
Life is all about who you surround yourself with. I can manage just fine with a small circle of friends, as well as my WordPress community.
I no longer need to know what Person X from Grade 10 history class in 2007 is up to. Facebook was harbouring a false friendship. I don’t know them anymore. And they don’t know me.
We aren’t friends, we were Facebook friends.